Hedgehogs are natural predators that kill your hen if given the opportunity, particularly if they are hungry or believe your brood is a danger. It would be best if you didn’t put your chickens in danger of this occurring, which may be accomplished with a cage or nets.
This article discusses why a hedgehog should never be let run about with hens and, if it occurs, what measures you should take to ensure the safety of your hens.
Can you Let a Hedgehog into a Hen’s Coop?
Hedgehogs are at the top of the food chain, and hens are at the bottom. Unlike most other animals, it is not wise to let a hedgehog into your hen’s coop because they will eat and kill your hens.
The more hens you have, the worse this problem will be.
It is, therefore, best if you have more hens than hedgehogs and if all of your hens are in their area near the hen coop, where they cannot get into trouble with your hedgehog.
Your hedgehog may also pose a danger to some of your hens since they weigh less than half as much as a hen and are likely quicker runners than most other hens.
Steps To Remove a Hedgehog Out of a Hen’s Coop
- Identify the coop side with the most hedgehog activity and use that side as your entry point.
- Carefully shine a flashlight or use a handheld spotlight and scan the area near and around where you will be entering. Watch for signs of movement, droppings, or burrows.
- If you spot any hedgehogs, try to get a photo showing them concerning the coop and its surroundings. You can also use a long stick equipped with a pointed object (like a pencil or long screwdriver) to poke the hedgehog out of its den and into view.
- If you are lucky enough to spot the hedgehog before entering the coop, you can stand back and wait until it is asleep or inactive to make your move.
- Once inside the coop, watch out for other animals you may not want to run into (such as dogs). You also won’t want to disturb nesting hens.
- While in the hen’s run, look around for hedgehogs and their burrows. If you spot a hedgehog, take a photo immediately and follow steps three through five above.
- If you see a burrow, use a stick to poke or prod the hedgehog out of it. You can also catch it by hand and remove it from the coop. If you cannot get close enough to the hedgehog to take photos, pick it up and gently put it in a box or plastic bag.
- Once you have relocated the hedgehog, go to an animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator for help on cage placement options (if there are no wild animals). The animal control officer will also assist in identification if needed.
Methods For Protecting Your Hens from Hedgehogs
- Shake off any hedgehogs and deter fresh ones from sticking near your hen enclosure using a brush or broom bristles held close to the ground.
- Keeping your hen in a confined space with a fence with wire mesh on the top, sides, and bottom
- Use wire mesh to create a hedgehog-proof enclosure for your hen pen.
- Gluing pennies to the top of wire mesh to make it too slippery for hedgehogs to climb through – building a hedgehog-proof cage out of wire mesh or chicken netting
- Ensuring that both perches are less than two meters from the ground to protect your henhouse from ground predators
- Draping three to four feet of poultry netting over your fence (or covering the bottom of the border with wire mesh or chain link)
- Employ a hen alarm system with a chook decoy that sings when hedgehogs come near the sound. Keep your chickens indoors or in a coop.
- Keep your hens up on a stand so the hedgehogs cannot reach them from below the fence and can only climb up if they have help from another animal or human being to give them a boost.
- Keep your roosts clean of all vegetation.
- Keep your feeder away from the fence.
- Attach a strand of electric wire as high as you can along your fences so hedgehogs will not be able to get across it and into your coop
- Use an electric charger and attach it to a hen wire fence about one foot off the ground to keep hedgehogs out.
- Use an electric shock to scare them away from getting too close
- You may frighten the hedgehog away from your coop by hanging a radio in the woods.
- Constructing a coop for your poultry.
- build an aviary to protect your hens from ground predators.
Hedgehogs and Hens FAQs
Is it true that hedgehogs consume chicken eggs?
Hedgehogs eat hen eggs, which are formed of an extremely hard material packed with calcium that is not their primary food source. Hedgehogs rarely consume eggs in severe situations (such as starvation); thus, the odds of one ingesting enough chicken eggs to cause major harm are minimal.
However, hedgehogs do not pose a significant hazard to hen eggs.
Every night, one hedgehog will eat around 240 grubs (approximately 1 percent of its body weight). Only 0.18 percent of the average weight comprises hen eggs (over 200 fares).
While it is possible to harm your chickens by assaulting and eating their eggs, this is a very uncommon scenario.
Hedgehogs are not great at hunting for their food, so they’ll scavenge for whatever else is around them; thus, there are possibilities of ingesting hen eggs.
Is it possible for a hedgehog to attack a hen?
Hedgehogs sleep during the day and are nocturnal. Because the hens are most active during the day, there is no way they will come into touch. A hedgehog would not attack a hen.
Hedgehogs prefer to consume invertebrates such as worms, snails, and beetles rather than small animals such as hens. They are likelier than hens to hunt foxes, badgers, or cats.
In this circumstance, there is minimal probability of a hedgehog attacking a hen since their activity cycles and nutrition preferences are too dissimilar. Hedgehogs are lovely animals that don’t make suitable pets in most cases.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals that only join together to breed. If a hedgehog appears in your hen coop, it is most likely not from a big litter, and the mother was murdered or lost after the hedgehog was born.
If chickens live in an area where hedgehogs are prevalent, it would be best if the hen house had a solid floor that’s impossible for them to dig. They are, however, considered more of a threat to smaller poultry like quail and chicks.
The easiest approach to keep your hens safe from hedgehogs is to put them in a securely fenced area where they cannot get in at night while you’re out of the home. However, since they are active animals, they are more prone to approaching the places where your hens are kept.
Hopefully, this article was helpful; consider the tips discussed above to keep your hens safe from hedgehogs.