Sunrise chicken skunk encounter October 18, 2013

Have your chickens ever encountered a skunk? The other morning I had a chicken skunk encounter–yikes!

It happened quite early in the morning when I was out taking sunrise photos.  I especially love those rosy mornings in spring and fall, where the light casts everything as pink. Our silvery old barn is always a little picturesque, but in the light of a pink sunrise, it’s even prettier.

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Uusally, I resist taking pictures of the chickens in the morning. Pink light doesn’t especially make them any prettier than they are normally. Plus, the low light that makes a sunrise sky photo lovely also makes chickens that don’t hold still blurry and grainy. (And chickens don’t especially like to hold very still for photos.)

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Notwithstanding, I thought I might share a few photos of my recent chicken skunk experience.

When I was out shooting the sunrise, there was also a skunk in our yard, not too far away, digging for grubs. Interestingly, having lived here for nearly a decade, this is the first skunk I’ve ever seen out here. In town about 30 miles away, we’d see (or smell them) relatively frequently. Not out here. Perhaps they just have more space out here, so they aren’t forced to approach human habitation as closely. So, while I was taking photos, I just kept an eye out—and a nostril—to make sure I didn’t accidentally disturb the skunk. We basically ignored each other.

Bunny the Brahma, however, wasn’t interested in ignoring the skunk.

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Sometimes I think chickens are more curious than cats, and Brahmas seem especially curious and fearless. While my rooster Francis tried to warn her away, Bunny the chicken approached Pepe (?) the skunk, closer and closer, scolding him for coming into her territory.

Man, Brahmas.

Chicken skunk encounter

Chicken skunk encounter: Get back, Bunny! What are you thinking?

 

Finally Pepe turned toward her, and I started getting a little whiff of skunkiness. He hadn’t sprayed—not yet—but perhaps he was getting ready to do so and that’s what I was smelling. Ugh!

I started to wonder how to clean the skunk musk off a chicken. Would I have to bathe her in tomato juice? I have a couple friends who must deal with dog-skunk encounters on a fairly regular basis. I wondered how early I could call my friends for advice? At least, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t be keeping a skunk-stinky chicken indoors afterward, like my friends had to manage with their dogs.

But instead, Bunny seemed to get a whiff of the danger. She gave a peculiar, coughing squawk, and shook her head, her hackles standing up. She shook her head again and looked back at me, and at Francis, with her beak open, as if in disgust. She hesitated a moment… and then ran to beat the band.

Chicken skunk encounter

Run, Bunny, run!

 

All I can say is this: thank goodness this chicken skunk encounter ended peaceably and I didn’t have to write a blog post about what to do when your chicken gets sprayed by a skunk! Have any of our readers ever had to deal with a skunk-sprayed chicken?

3 Comments
Mellissa October 18th, 2013

Never had them sprayed but I have had them break into my neighbors as well as my chicken coops. They steal eggs and will also kill young chickens or bantam chickens. They are truly nasty little buggers, preferring to rip the heads off your chickens and leave just the body behind.

Stevee Salazar October 18th, 2013

Fortunately no skunk encounters for my girls, as of yet. I do have to agree with you about brahmas, they do seem fearless. Our light brahma, Sausage, who my husband has nicknamed Tank, won’t take anything from anybody… not even our 3 roosters! She will push her way through the crowd to get to her favorite treats or to see what’s going on. She is defiantly a big boss in our flock and we love her!

Terry Golson October 19th, 2013

I’ve been asked this recently by someone whose dog (not chickens) got sprayed. My local emergency vet says that their #1 call is about skunk spray. This is what they recommend: 1 Qt 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 tsp Dawn liquid dish soap. Use this on dry (not bathed/wet) animal. Make the mixture into a paste and leave on for 20 minutes. Keep out of eyes. Rinse well with water. (The paste cannot be mixed ahead of time – use it immediately and don’t save leftovers.)

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