With recent uproar in the chicken owners’ community, everyone’s been asking, do armadillos eat chicken? There have been reported cases of armadillos allegedly killing some turkeys and chickens here and there, but what exactly is the truth?
Do Armadillos Eat Chickens?
Armadillos are omnivores that may try eating a chicken or other small farm animals. However, these pests will steal and eat your chicken’s eggs from the hen house before eating your chicks or chickens. As a chicken owner, you need to know how to protect your flock and the eggs!
Let’s take a look at why armadillos can’t consume chicken and what made people question this in the first place.
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Do Armadillos Kill Chicken?
Armadillos have lost all their molars over time. Their uncomplicated teeth make it easy for them to eat bugs, fruit, soft plants, and other foods that are not difficult to chew.
They are related to sloths and anteaters and likely wouldn’t be able to eat a full-grown chicken. However, they are known to eat meat. Some species will eat small vertebrates, including birds, birds, and rabbits, although it is rare.
Armadillos like iguanas would only kill a chicken out of desperation, as it is not a part of their regular diet. Their primary source of nourishment is eating protein-filled bugs that they can easily spot on plants.
They don’t kill a lot of animals, and they don’t have a lot of predators, besides bobcats, bears, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, etc. Hawks and owls may prey on young armadillos.
Many chicken owners have reported that an armadillo was responsible for killing their chickens and turkeys.
However, none of these farmers have ever caught the armadillo doing the deed.
The nine-banded species is originally native to South America. However, global warming is causing this pest to migrate to places throughout the United States. (source)
It is thought to be the reason behind the aggravation on southern farms and their owners. According to Get Rid of Armadillos, at one point, people thought these pests could break into a grave and consume the contents.
But, thankfully, it was proven to be inaccurate.
Will Armadillos Attack Chickens? Are They Dangerous?
No armadillos won’t attack chickens, and they aren’t dangerous. However, they will dig holes around your yard and under your chicken coop. They dig shallow holes between 1-3 inches to find food and to make their dens.
Over time, the holes can get much bigger, posing a threat to your driveways, patios, sidewalks, and even the foundation of your home. In addition, if you have small children or animals, they can fall into these holes and get injured.
To avoid this problem, you can block the entrances to the armadillo’s dens with hardware cloth or chicken wire. Also, make sure to fill in any holes that you find around your
These pests are harmless to people and animals; however, they can be a nuisance because of the damage they cause to your property.
What Do Armadillos Eat?
Armadillos are mainly insectivores but are also considered omnivores. They can eat almost anything but get most of their nutrients from insects. Their diet consists of 90% insects and less than 10% from seeds, plants, fungi, and fruit.
According to The National Wildlife Federation, these mammals will consume over 500 different foods that consist of mostly:
- Fire Ants
- Yellow Jackets
- White Grubs
Can Armadillos Eat Chicken Eggs?
Armadillos will gladly eat your hen’s eggs if they get into your coop. These pests hunt at night, so you likely won’t see them eating the eggs. If you hear a lot of noise when your chickens go to bed, it could be there’s a predator in the coop.
Because of their small teeth, you might find a broken egg with the yolk slurped out. They prefer insects but will eat anything they can swallow and provides them the nutritional value they require.
They thoroughly enjoy a good serving of chicken eggs and will try to steal them if they can. But, here, the ambiguity still lies for the question of armadillos eating chickens.
In some instances, the armadillo might resort to killing and eating chickens and other smaller animals, which can be the farmer’s livelihood source.
Can Armadillos Get Through Chicken Wire?
Armadillos can climb small fences or burrow underneath them. If an armadillo has been getting into your chicken coop, you want to choose the right fence to keep them out.
How to Protect Your Chickens from Armadillos
Invest in a good galvanized wire metal mesh, like this one. We like this one because it’s affordable, and the small holes keep pests, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and other predators away from your chickens.
However, for it to work for armadillos, you’ll need to sink it two feet deep into the ground. An armadillo won’t be able to dig its way under the fence.
Armadillos are not great climbers but can dig exceptionally well. Your fence doesn’t have to be extremely tall, but it does need to be buried deep into the ground. When shopping for a fence, ensure it is at least 4 feet high and 2 feet into the ground.
Ensure to angle it at a 45-degree angle to make it hard for them to climb over it.
If you’ve noticed something killing your flock, it’s likely not an armadillo. An electric fence can be a great way to protect your birds from predators. Many chicken owners worry that an electric fence will kill their chickens; however, that shouldn’t happen.
You can turn down the ampage until you train your chickens to avoid the fence. The downside is it can kill other animals that come into contact with it.
Collect The Chicken Eggs
If armadillos are breaking into the chicken coop, it’s because they know there are eggs. As mentioned above, these pests love eating chicken eggs.
Some people make the mistake of leaving the eggs too long in the coop. This not only attracts pests, but it can also cause your hens to start brooding, especially, if you have silkies.
Set A Trap for The Armadillo
If an armadillo is stealing your chicken eggs and you have exhausted all your efforts, then consider setting a trap for it.
Armadillos have predictable habits, because they don’t have great eyesight, making them easy to trap. Use a live armadillo trap that is big enough to enter the trap completely before it closes on them.
Place the trap in their travel spot to ensure they enter it. To ensure they enter the trap, place it above the burrow entrance, along a wall or fence, or the path marked with armadillo tracks or recessed grass.
You can then relocate it away from your home or call your local wildlife department to have them pick it up.
Armadillos are pests, which means they are foragers that will do whatever it takes to survive. If one is hungry enough, they may try to eat a small chick but can’t eat a full-grown chicken or rooster.
Like you and I, they require a well-balanced diet. Global warming is causing the nin-branded armadillo to expand its range out of the southeastern United States.
Which means it has to adjust its diet to the environment. If you see an armadillo in your chicken coop, it means it’s hungry and looking for food.