I thought I’d seen the last of our skunk visitor after it spent a day in our chicken pen with a peanut butter jar stuck on its head. Alas, that was not the case: It came back for another involuntary sojourn in the pen.
Paul had set out a live trap to capture the raccoon that had killed our chicken Snappifer (may she rest in peace). I had my doubts–I’d glimpsed the raccoon briefly from our bedroom window, and it was BIG. I didn’t think it would fit into the trap.
That was indeed the case; the raccoon is still at large, so the remaining chickens are condemned to being locked up at night. The trap, however, was the PERFECT size for a skunk.
I noticed the trap was sprung when I went to check on the chickens at about noon last Saturday. I was surprised–I thought skunks were mostly nocturnal–but here one was, staring at me from the trap. Naturally, this was a day when Paul and Sage were at Wisconsin Dells, and I’d forgotten to ask Paul how to release the trap.
Paul had left his phone in his car while they were swimming, so I was on my own. I had no desire to keep the skunk longer than necessary, so I held up the flap at one end and tried to convince it to leave.
No good; this skunk was as stubborn as the previous one, who had taken a nap in the chicken coop after Paul released its head from the peanut butter jar. It was also getting annoyed; the odors beginning to waft from the trap were becoming decidedly less subtle.
It was in a shady spot, so I put a dish of water as close to the cage as I could and beat a hasty retreat. (I opened the chicken pen to let the birds free range a little early; I figured keeping them stuck in there with a skunk was cruel and unusual punishment.)
Eventually, Paul and Sage returned, and the rescue operation began. Paul got out his Skunk Stick–the former apple trimmer turned skunk lasso–and used it to press the trap’s release mechanism from a relatively safe distance.
The skunk was not delighted by its imminent freedom, but after five long (LOOONNNGGG) minutes, it grudgingly squeezed its way out and scuttled into the brush.
Unfortunately, our mercy was misplaced; although the skunk hasn’t bothered the chickens, it’s developed an egg stealing habit. That, I believe, is why it was sneaking into the pen in broad daylight: It figured out that the hours between the chickens laying their eggs and the humans collecting them are prime dining time.
Fortunately, Minerva (our escape artist of a chicken) has been jumping out of the pen to lay her eggs, and the skunk hasn’t caught on to her stash spot, so we’re not completely eggless.
I have to admit, though, that I don’t feel quite as bad when I see a dead skunk by the side of the road now. If it’s like ours, at least it died after a fine meal.