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Poultry and Livestock: squirrels in chicken house

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Forum: Poultry and LivestockReplies: 14, Views: 81
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geeze
Durham, NC

February 3, 2009
8:00 PM

Post #6088596

Any suggestions from keeping the squirrels out of the chicken house. The chickens are mostly free ranged during the day but do come frequently to the house either to lay, eat or whatever. We put a bell in the house which at first scared the squirrel for a minute or two and now doesn't phase it. It is beginning to take over the house during the day. I doubt if we are the only ones with that problem but maybe so. Help please. Thanks. Geeze

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 3, 2009
9:29 PM

Post #6088984

As I have to deal with squirrel around here in my green house. maybe I can answer. You have a couple of chooses . You could either kill it or trap it in a live trap and take it far away. Or you could put out a feeder of it's own well away from the coop. They would much rather eat sunflower seeds than other foods.
geeze
Durham, NC

February 3, 2009
10:41 PM

Post #6089231

Thanks so much. Really can't kill it because I am "chicken" plus the fact that there are lots of squirrels around. A neighbor has suggested putting cayenne pepper in the food or on the ground around it. Ever heard of such. G

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 3, 2009
11:35 PM

Post #6089487

Yes, they do not like the pepper but the birds are said not to be able to taste the pepper.
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

February 4, 2009
2:18 AM

Post #6090271

Hot pepper can irritate the air passages of birds and most squirrels think of it as a condiment. I tried pure habinero pepper spray on corn and they just asked for some salsa to go with it.
If you wait just a few weeks to trap and move them they will be fine, but if you do it while it is still verry cold, they will most likely die before they find shelter. If they are red squirrels, they can be quite distructive in chewing things up. Grays and blacks may move on if things are made difficult for them. They definately would prefer peanuts and sunflower seeds to chicken feed. So a feeder of their own may help.
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

February 4, 2009
3:06 AM

Post #6090490

Leave the squirrels alone, have you never heard of the term "Squirrly birds" WELL????????
Lazy_Ladies
Vancouver, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 4, 2009
3:14 AM

Post #6090521

Geeze,
Did I miss where they are causing a problem? Are they eating all the food? Kicking it around? Are the chickens afraid to come back in the coop?
You could definitely try the pepper, although prior to the post above, I'd always heard it was good for the birds immune systems...
Otherwise, I'd probably just let it be.

Haystack,
No I haven't heard the term... whatcha mean?

This message was edited Feb 3, 2009 7:16 PM
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

February 4, 2009
3:25 AM

Post #6090570

Pieces of pepper are fine. It's the powdered stuff that causes problems. Open a jar of any hot or regular pepper and take a deep whiff. WHat happens? It's the same for birds and chickens throw so much of their food around it gets in their eyes too. Maybe if it was sprayed as a liquid on scratch or pelleted food, it wouldn't, but it still won't bother the squirrels.

The biggest problem I have with squirrels and poultry is if I am feeding whole corn. The grays and blacks eat the germ off the bottom of the corn kernel and reduces the nutrition for the birds. Reds will eat the whole kernel. A squirrel would have to be starving to eat mash or scratch.

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 4, 2009
3:28 AM

Post #6090584

There is a form of pepper that is to be put into bird food
http://www.duncraft.com/Squirrel-Away--P2798C88.aspx
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

February 4, 2009
3:35 AM

Post #6090615

Remember the manufacturer is trying to sell you a product. This was quite popluar several years ago and I and other rehabbers saw what it did. Many stores dedicated to wildlife refuse to sell it any more. Especially after it was proven not to keep hungry squirrels away.

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 4, 2009
3:38 AM

Post #6090625

That is good to know, I have never used it. I was alway afraid that I would get it into my eyes.
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

February 4, 2009
5:41 PM

Post #6092534

Hi Lazy Ladies! Geeze never mentioned the squirrels having any negative effect on the chickens, so I was making a pun on behalf of the squirrels!! Squirrly bird is a term used for person who is not quite all there. You know "the cheeze has slipped off their cracker" and so I just put the two words of concern Squirrels, birds together. Making a pitch for the squirrels. Haystack.

I have lots of black squirrels here, though I have not seen any in the hen house, and do not know what problem they can cause.
geeze
Durham, NC

February 4, 2009
7:58 PM

Post #6093113

Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions. Quite frankly we have gone nuts over these chickens and are probably much more concerned than we need to be.

Have the squirrels caused any real problem? Probably not. We just want to make sure that our chickens stay healthy and are not in any way inconvenienced. My husband is concerned about additional fleas, mites, etc. I am suggesting to him that he provide food for the squirrels which they prefer and maybe they will leave the chickens' food alone.

If anyone had told me a year ago I would be so attached to chickens, of all things, I would have said they were nuts. What a difference a year makes.

Thanks to all and I do love this forum. Geeze
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

February 5, 2009
12:41 AM

Post #6094243

Squirrels do have fleas, but they usually keep them unless their body temp gets too low (like near death or beyond). Fleas prefer animals with hair (or my bed!).

I just got in a flying squirrel tonight,( they are still trying to catch it's siblings) that was living in a trucking company attic. They were coming down into the office at night and the boss said they had to go. Hopefully, we'll be able to trap them all and they can spend the rest of the winter with me. As soon as it warms up. Out they go to the back yard.

The first thing I do with any squirrel is deflea it!
Lazy_Ladies
Vancouver, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 5, 2009
3:55 AM

Post #6095114

Hmmm... I do know what you mean about going ga-ga over your chickens geeze! I love mine. I have a couple of gals at work that have to think of me as some sort of crazy "chicken lady". They see me in the break room and the first thing they say is, "hows the chickens". Its actually getting a bit old. I wanna say, and have, uh great, I do have other interests, you know?!? ;-)

Anyway, another thing that dawned on me was you could use a tighter wiring for their enclosure to keep the squirrels out.

I don't think they are causing much harm though. If they are in the yard, I'm guessing the chickens could get the fleas/mites from the yard just as easily

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