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View Full Version : Skunk in stall - action needed or ignore?



SGray
Dec. 3, 2009, 02:21 PM
When I fed last night there was a small skunk in my geldings' stall. Gelding ignored it - it ignored gelding - but I would not go in there to throw his feed.

Gelding was very confused when I called him out of there.

Shortly thereafter skunk waddled out in that skunky way, went around the corner and disappeared into the night.

Stalls are deep bedded - looks like skunk is digging through bedding for bugs.


Neither horses nor sheep nor goat seemed bothered by skunk. None of my cats or dog have been sprayed.

Should I worry about its presence (it looked quite healthy, shiny, well-fed)?

(By the way, there is no cat/dog food outside to attract it)

winfieldfarm
Dec. 3, 2009, 02:24 PM
uuuuhhhhhhh, yea I would have s#@* nickles.

If anyone knows how to deter skunks from wandering through, im curious too.

Good thing pony took it in stride!

SGray
Dec. 3, 2009, 02:26 PM
I thought about predator urine but thought it would upset my beasts more that the skunk

Guilherme
Dec. 3, 2009, 02:50 PM
Yes, you should worry about it. Skunks carry rabies and if you "surprise" one you'll quickly learn about other really unpleasnt things they do.

Skunks are nocturnal and don't like light. So keep a light on in the barn. It neednt' be a spotlight, just enough to annoy Mr. Skunk. Fixtures can even be mounted outside to give a "light fence" around the barn.

G.

sk_pacer
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:00 PM
If you are loathe to shoot the thing, make life unpleasant, noise, activity, talk radio (voices all the time with bursts of noise) and lights. You really do not want it settling in, as, at the very least, they are destructive and at worst, they will spray and bite and claw. If you cannot shoot, get someone to do the deed; you WILL see it in daylight when it gets comfortable. They are hard to shoot, so be accurate - head shot if don't suspect rabies, high powered rifle for body shot if you do. I was told years ago that shooting a suspected rabid skunk with a 22 is like trying to piss a hole through thick ice. I snickered at the man, and ate my words - emptied the 10 shot clip for the Mossberg into one before it dropped, and it was rabid as were every other one I killed that summer.

bird4416
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:01 PM
One of my horses got sprayed right between the eyes. Not a pleasant situation to be in. I would try to convince it to go somewhere else in a gentle way.

Nezzy
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:27 PM
Ironically skunks do not like bad smells. try mothballs. I used to work at the wildlife clinic, and this is a common question.

amastrike
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:42 PM
Set a kill trap that the horse can't get to. They've got a couple skunks this way where I have my horses.

wildlifer
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:50 PM
I would let it be -- it was just momentarily foraging and sounds as if it is peacefully coexisting. Not every skunk out there is a rabid, ravening menace, most are rather unobtrusive creatures. It's not going to be galloping about trying to spray you unless you do something crazy like chase it trying to kick it or somesuch.

goodhors
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:54 PM
Have all your animals been vaccinated for Rabies? This would be my first step, protection because you may never see the skunk again, but he is still around to bite.

Last couple Rabies cases in MI were skunk related, who bit horses. Horses then had to be put down because they were not vaccinated.

You could try the humane traps, then call the County Animal Control folks to dispose of the skunks. I hear a covering for the cage will allow you to move them without being sprayed. If that cover doesn't work, at least the spray goes on the cover, not you!

You need to remove the attraction to skunks, whatever they are. Feed grain to horse with stall doors closed. Then clean up any spilled stuff, remove any in the feeder. Skunks like sugar too. They WILL argue with the horse about who gets the grain, and that is when horse gets bitten. Maybe skunk is after the mice who eat spilled grain, again you clean up all spills to remove the food source to mice.

Mothballs are an easy fix, so is bright lighting, hope that works. My horses are in or out, no run in stalls. Doors are closed, cat food picked up at night. Sorry, while skunks deserve space, it is not going to be at my barn because they commonly carry diseases and share them. They can live in my woods, but not live or visit in the barn. Every animal here gets Rabies vaccinations as a preventative measure.

2DogsFarm
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:34 PM
Yes, you should worry about it. Skunks carry rabies and if you "surprise" one you'll quickly learn about other really unpleasnt things they do.

Skunks are nocturnal and don't like light. So keep a light on in the barn. It neednt' be a spotlight, just enough to annoy Mr. Skunk. Fixtures can even be mounted outside to give a "light fence" around the barn.

G.

Rabies is a valid concern.
I insisted my vet vaccinate for rabies after seeing skunks in my barn.
This was 4 years ago and just last year he showed me an article in the JVM that listed skunks as vectors for the disease in my area.

But:
the "light fence" idea won't work - I bent down one night to pet the "kitty" digging in my paddock, pretty well lit by the outside light.....
Then realized I don't have a black/white kitty!

I've had skunks in my barn & they are pretty unflappable.
They know what they have and will threaten (stomp forefeet, then turn around) before using it.
But they do have poor vision in bright light, so flip on a light or shine a flashlight around before going into your barn to give them fair warning.

They are actually not totally nocturnal - is diurnal the right word? - more active at dusk & dawn.

cssutton
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:15 PM
I would let it be -- it was just momentarily foraging and sounds as if it is peacefully coexisting. Not every skunk out there is a rabid, ravening menace, most are rather unobtrusive creatures. It's not going to be galloping about trying to spray you unless you do something crazy like chase it trying to kick it or somesuch.

We killed a skunk in our pasture biting at the horses fetlocks about 10 years ago.

A few months after that, a neighbor woke in the middle of the night to the sound of his dog barking. He looked out and saw his dog and a skunk nose to nose biting at each other.

He shot the skunk and called animal control.

24 hours later they were knocking on his front door wanting to know if his dog had been vaccinated. It had not. End of dog.

My horses had been vaccinated for many years and never miss their shots when due. They will get a booster in 3 weeks.

We shot the skunk and gave the horses a booster and so we had no worry.

I would kill it and I would not rest until it is dead.

CSSJR

Yip
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:55 PM
Some years ago, we had one trying to get into the crawlspace under our house - under our bedroom, no less. I read that they are repelled by the odor of ammonia, so I splashed it all over the wood entrance covers. It said you could also place ammonia soaked rags in places they try to gain entry. It worked for me and it left for good.


It's not going to be galloping about trying to spray you unless you do something crazy like chase it trying to kick it or somesuch.

Where did you hear that? Or are you just hypothesizing, "they're more scared of you than you are of them"? I have found your statement to be blatantly untrue.

Several years ago on a January afternoon, my sheltie, 2 cats, and I were taking a walk on our property. We all heard crashing through the weeds and bushes about 75"away, and were alarmed to hear it rushing towards us instead of away in fright. Then an animal, white with big grey spot on it's back, came charging us under the barbed wire fence and stopped 3-4 feet in front of my wagging-tailed sheltie. It looked like a lot the Lhasa Apso we had just finished petsitting and I'm sure Cody thought it was his friend.

Skunk crossed my mind but I had never heard of a grey-spotted white one. Cody took a step forward to greet it and it very slowly and deliberately turned around. My brain finally engaged and I jumped in there to grab Cody, but was a couple seconds too late. It calmly lifted its tail and sprayed him straight in the eyes from about 3" away. I picked him up and ranl, figuring it might be chasing us or going after my cats. That skunk did a number on my dog's eyes. It must have burned like heck because Cody squinted his eyes tightly and wouldn't open them for a long time.

We had done nothing to deserve it's wrath. It was way far away from us and charged us to spray at point-blank range. This was at 4 pm and it looked very healthy, well0fed, and clean.

Yip

Guin
Dec. 4, 2009, 06:40 AM
Leave it alone. It will be hibernating somewhere soon enough. Skunks are very beneficial animals - they eat bugs and grubs.

I really am dismayed by all the so-called "animal lovers" here who have horses, cats, and dogs, but advocate shooting, trapping, or poisoning other animals because they're an "inconvenience."

Timex
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:38 AM
If you worried about every wild animal that potentially carried diseases, and lived in the general vicinity of your barn, you'd do nothing but work towards getting rid of them, never mind ride. There's just too many of them out there. I'd relax a hair, throw some moth balls down, make sure all the horses, dogs and cats have their rabies vaccs, and see what happens.

I had a big female that not only lived under my tool shed (within easy reach of my dogs runs - never an issue, she avoided them) but also had a litter of babies under there. She unfortunately disappeared, leaving the babies, so I had to trap them and take them to a wildlife rehabber, as they were too young to be alone. It was very cute to watch them posture and threaten, since they were all of 6' long. Couldn't take them all that seriously. Lol. And they never made good on the threats, either.

AnotherRound
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:50 AM
I'm with you, Timex. Until recently, we have had a huge mamma skunk, been with us for about 3 or 4 years now, with a litter every year. She is genetically different - almost all white with a little black, and its fun to see which babies get her coloring. She's never sprayed yet, but even so, Mr. AR says he doesn't mind skunk smell, reminds him of the farm he grew up on, and loved so much!

Also had the hugest raccoon, so obese he could hardly waddle, come looking for goodies in the trash can, but couldn't get up on them to tip them over, it was so fat - we named it Pizza the Hut.

Now we have a fisher cat in the area, and poof, no more skunks, racoons, squirrels, rodents, nothing. solve your pest problems with a fisher cat, I guess. Sigh. Named him Francis. Not quite sure why Mr. AR named him Francis. Says he wants Francis gone, that Francis' days are numbered, Mr. AR wants his skunk and Pizza back, and those animals won't live in the vicinity of a Fisher cat. Mr. AR threatens to sit up on the upstairs deck with a .22 and wait for Francis and dispatch him, but how can you name something you're going to shoot? I think he secretly likes Francis the Fisher Cat. I get emails about what's going on in the field and yard during the day (Like in the summer; Mr. AR is a school teacher, and home during the day in summer) from him signed "Gary and Francis".

But a Fisher Cat is the way to go to rid yourself of the smaller critters, if'n that's what you want.

1Walks1Trots
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:28 AM
AnotherRound, your post made me smile. Your husband sounds exactly like mine and that's totally something we would do (name random wildlife).

I hate skunks! My dog has been sprayed twice in the last two months. It's always when it's below 40 outside, always a night, and usually when my husband is out of town. It's horrible. The smell lingers (on the dog, us, the barn, the stall, whatever) for quite some time. They will fight the cats, and they are just gross. Not to mention, if they get under your house, your house will stink. BAD.

On the flip side, if they don't bother you, they aren't raving lunatics. I used to work in animal control. We would trap them and then euthanize them using a tranq gun poked in the cage. One time I had one in a trap and couldn't get the tranq gun to work right. I couldn't let it out (the land owner was right there) and couldn't let it suffer, so I loaded it into the back of my truck, drove it to the animal shelter, unloaded it, and then came back and euthanized it. It didn't spray during that whole ordeal.

When I worked at Sea World, they would run around at night and you could walk right through the groups of them browing like they were a flock of chickens. They would just amble right out of the way.

Yip
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:57 PM
Never heard of a Fisher Cat but sounds really interesting. Off to Google for me!

BTW, I have never owned a firearm and have never killed an animal. Don't know if I could. I would try to leave skunks alone or use the ammonia to deter them. Trapping would only be necessary if I really thought it was rabid.

Yip

Chall
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:10 PM
All my animals are vaccinated. But we have had a skunk as a neighbor for years. He was very dignified and made his rounds in his slow deliberate way. Lights didn't bother him and one day he was the patio door checking out the digs. We gently shooed him away.
This guy started out black with a thin white stripe but turned mostly white with thin black stripes on his side. I presumed the amount of white indicates age, I may be wrong. Oh, and the lawn showed his little dig piles, he ate the grubs under the grass so he was a plus.

Horsegal984
Dec. 5, 2009, 08:22 PM
Anybody watch the MythBusters episode where they were trying to test skunk spray remedies? They were TRYING to get wild trapped skunks to spray and they couldn't. It was quite entertaining, and they actually found a homemade remedy of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and soemthing else worked best to remove the odor.

No real suggestions for the OP, but the rememdy might come in handy if he comes back. ;) and that rabies should be up to date as was mentioned.

Katherine
Vet Tech

suz
Dec. 5, 2009, 08:35 PM
we've never had a problem with the many skunks around. all critters live together pretty peacfully, though the haflinger filly did get a little too curious about the porky in her field.
skunks will go into hibernation soon, and are pretty easy going creatures. move slowly and don't be threatening and you should be just fine. skunks warn you by stamping before they point and shoot, too.
rabies does exist, sure, but my animals are vaccinated and it's not terribly common around here.

pj
Dec. 6, 2009, 11:38 AM
I would let it be -- it was just momentarily foraging and sounds as if it is peacefully coexisting. Not every skunk out there is a rabid, ravening menace, most are rather unobtrusive creatures. It's not going to be galloping about trying to spray you unless you do something crazy like chase it trying to kick it or somesuch.

ROFLROFL :lol::lol:

WHAT A PICTURE!! A galloping skunk!! Thank you for the laugh this dreary, gloomy day.

Can they even run? Everyone I've ever seen just moseys along. Took me thirty min. to get down our narrow road one night (should have taken less than five min) as a skunk claimed the middle of the road and just moseyed along the whole way with me right behind him in the truck.

jaimebaker
Dec. 6, 2009, 12:32 PM
Can they even run?

Yep. Only seen it once and assumed it was rabid since it was broad daylight and it was chasing my truck down our driveway.

wildlifer
Dec. 7, 2009, 01:55 PM
ROFL -- yes they can gallop!

And I didn't "hear" anything anywhere. I am a wildlife biologist and have handled my fair share of skunks. They are actually quite loathe to spray unless they feel directly attacked and will give you PLENTY of warnings.

Your animals should be vaccinated against rabies anyway, in many states it is even required by law. So really, it is no one's fault but the owner who made the poor decision NOT to vaccinate if rabies is contracted.

Janet
Dec. 7, 2009, 04:28 PM
was very cute to watch them posture and threaten, since they were all of 6' long. That's a BIG skunk.

wildlifer
Dec. 7, 2009, 04:38 PM
Skunkzilla roams free!!!!

Janet
Dec. 7, 2009, 04:41 PM
Funny story about the time my husband trapped a skunk when he was trying to trap a cat
http://ezinearticles.com/?With-God-as-My-Witness-I-Thought-It-Was-My-Cat&id=651738

In VA, there were two skunks, and a litter(?) of babies about 100 feet from the barn. Theyt were interesting to watch, and never caused any problems.

When I lived in Bedford NY, there was a skunk, with a litter every year, that lived near one of the PLA (now BRLA) trails. I would regularly stop (on horseback) within 15 feet of them and just watch them play. Often in mid day.

ONCE, about 1/4 mile further down that trail, I startled one and we got sprayed- it took FOREVER to get the smell out of the saddle.

I wouldn't harm one unless it was clearly unhealthy

maunder
Dec. 7, 2009, 04:54 PM
I'm all for leaving wildlife alone but skunks can carry EPM.

Possums also can be carriers.

MaybeMorgan
Dec. 7, 2009, 06:17 PM
So can your barn cats.

Hannahsmom
Dec. 7, 2009, 08:30 PM
What's the hibernation period? I got almost very up close and personal with a skunk in the barn in Feb in Indiana. Pretty cold, snow outside. Skunk very happily lived above the barn in the loft and came down and ate the left out kitty food. I also almost made the mistake of going over to pet the kitty once when I remembered we didn't have one that color. :eek: Major problem is that living above the barn, every time a horse kicked or something, it apparently felt it should let loose. That barn stunk horribly for weeks on end. I was thrilled when it became victim to the busy road or something else.

FatDinah
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:43 PM
I've had skunk visitors to my barn and never minded, I always retreated if I spotted one and they'd slip away.

Funny people would be terrified of rabies in skunks yet put up bat houses on the side of the barn ...

Falconfree
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:27 PM
A skunk settled down in the crawl space under my parents' neighbor's house, right in the middle of the suburbs. Never bothered us, and we wouldn't have even known he was there except my Dad could smell him every now and again (Dad used to be a forest ranger, I wouldn't even know a skunk if I smelled it lol). After a few months it moved on.


I'm with you, Timex. Until recently, we have had a huge mamma skunk, been with us for about 3 or 4 years now, with a litter every year. She is genetically different - almost all white with a little black, and its fun to see which babies get her coloring. She's never sprayed yet, but even so, Mr. AR says he doesn't mind skunk smell, reminds him of the farm he grew up on, and loved so much!

Also had the hugest raccoon, so obese he could hardly waddle, come looking for goodies in the trash can, but couldn't get up on them to tip them over, it was so fat - we named it Pizza the Hut.

Now we have a fisher cat in the area, and poof, no more skunks, racoons, squirrels, rodents, nothing. solve your pest problems with a fisher cat, I guess. Sigh. Named him Francis. Not quite sure why Mr. AR named him Francis. Says he wants Francis gone, that Francis' days are numbered, Mr. AR wants his skunk and Pizza back, and those animals won't live in the vicinity of a Fisher cat. Mr. AR threatens to sit up on the upstairs deck with a .22 and wait for Francis and dispatch him, but how can you name something you're going to shoot? I think he secretly likes Francis the Fisher Cat. I get emails about what's going on in the field and yard during the day (Like in the summer; Mr. AR is a school teacher, and home during the day in summer) from him signed "Gary and Francis".

But a Fisher Cat is the way to go to rid yourself of the smaller critters, if'n that's what you want.

Too funny! I especially love the description of Pizza the Hut. :lol:

SGray
Dec. 17, 2009, 10:41 AM
have not seen it again -- did see a smushed one on street in front of my next-door neighbor's pasture

chai
Dec. 18, 2009, 06:14 AM
Janet, that's a great story about your husband! Mr. chai had a close encounter, too, but in our mudroom. Before his laser surgery, his vision was 20/200 which explains why one night he tried to coax a skunk into the house thinking it was our cat, G. He opened the door to our outside mudroom and I could hear him saying, "G, come in! What's wrong with you G!" Followed by "WHOA!" and the smell of skunk everywhere. He bathed in tomato juice and showered for an hour.
At the office next day he was in a meeting in a high rise in Boston when someone said, 'I know this isn't possible, but I smell skunk!"

We also had another skunk situation that wasn't so funny. A rabid skunk got into our barn and viciously attacked our pet goose. She weighed about 25 pounds and it was horrific. Mr. chai found the situation when he went out to do morning feed and we had to have the police come to shoot the skunk and the goose. I think skunks are cute but after that experience, I would never allow one to take up residence in my barn. A rabid skunk is scary.

SGrey, I'm sorry the little guy may have met his maker on the road by your neighbor's house.

SGray
Dec. 21, 2009, 11:06 AM
most common roadkill in my area is by far racoons followed by tie between skunks and possums then domestics (cats/dogs)