Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs – Animal Welfare Society Explains

If you own a birdhouse in a squirrel-infested region you might get bothered since squirrels are known to steal bird feed. Apart from your bird feed, you might be wondering if squirrels can also target bird eggs in your poultry.

Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs? Squirrels will eat bird eggs that are not properly protected. While their diet mainly consists of plant shoots, seeds, and flowers, squirrels will go after bird eggs that are small enough to carry.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes that grey squirrels eat bird eggs, insects, and bird feed as alternative sources of food.

Do Squirrels Take Eggs from Birds’ Nests?

Yes, squirrels take eggs from birds’ nests. Eggs are an important part of a squirrel’s diet, as eggshells contain calcium, which is healthy for squirrels.

There are well over two hundred species of squirrels, and they account for a sizable percentage of omnivores, eating everything from nuts to caterpillars. Contrary to popular opinion, a squirrel’s diet is not limited to nuts and worms alone. For instance, red squirrels are observed to eat young birds and their grey counterparts have been seen to raid birds’ nests.

In these nest raids, the bushy-tailed rodents are seen skulking close to the nests in trees, attacking only when the nests have been left unguarded by the unsuspecting mother bird.

Grey squirrels might consume the eggs stolen from bird nests, but they are not exactly a part of their diet. Grey squirrels prefer to obtain their proteins from greens, but like most omnivores, they are opportunistic foragers. Hence, if there is an opportunity to, they get their nutrients from wherever it seems readily available.

Essentially, if grey squirrels are provided with an adequate supply of hazelnuts and acorns, it is unlikely that they will go out of their way to raid bird nests.

The phenomenon of squirrels scavenging on birds’ eggs has raised questions on the effects of squirrels on the bird population. One research shows that although squirrels might cause a local suppression of bird populations, they cause no lasting impact to the bird population in the long term.

In summary, the long-term effects of squirrels predating on bird eggs are hardly dangerous and scarcely a source of concern.

How Do I Protect My Bird Eggs from Squirrels?

You can protect your bird eggs from squirrels by installing bird feeders that are resistant to squirrel thefts. Other effective methods involve the use of squirrel baffles to shield your bird eggs.

Squirrels might not pose a direct threat to the bird population, but they certainly steal a fair share of birds’ eggs, and this might be worrisome if you have a poultry farm in a squirrel-dominated area.

As a bird owner, you would want to keep the squirrels at bay to safeguard the eggs laid by your birds. Apart from bird eggs, squirrels are also notorious for making away with bird feed. Below are a few methods recommended to help protect your bird feed and eggs from prowling squirrels.

  • Get a squirrel-proof bird feeder

Squirrels are opportunistic foragers, so it is a clever idea to install a bird feeder that prevents squirrels from accessing your bird eggs. There are several types of squirrel-resistant feeders, with some of the most notable listed below:

  1. Weight Sensitive Feeders: With these feeders, we find access to bird food denied when there is too much weight (from a squirrel) on the feeder’s perches.
  2. Cages: These are usually metallic enclosures with small openings that are just large enough for a bird to scurry into but too small to fit a squirrel.
  3. Battery-powered feeders: These feeders release specified amounts of bird food at given time intervals, ensuring that squirrels do not have access to the 
  • Invest in squirrel baffles

Squirrels are known to brave impossible heights in quest of food. Squirrel baffles, which are metallic devices providing protective shielding, are recommended for keeping squirrels out. You can get squirrel baffles for your birdhouse, protecting your bird eggs.

There are different types of squirrel baffles:

  1. Wrap-around
  2. Torpedo
  3. Dome baffle
  • Install copper poles

When selecting a pole to hang your birdhouse, it is probably a good idea to elect copper poles above metal or wooden poles. Squirrels find metal or wooden poles easier to scale and, as such, aren’t highly recommended. With proper copper poles, your birdhouse can be elevated far away from the reach of squirrels.

  • Hot peppers

Although this is a lesser-known trick, it is as effective as other more popular methods. Peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that squirrels do not like. Mixing dried pepper powder with bird feed will discourage squirrels from coming around your birdhouse to steal feed or eggs.

Can Squirrels Eat My Chicken Eggs?

Squirrels can eat your chicken eggs, as they are foragers and have a wide diet. Apart from chicken eggs, squirrels also eat chicken feed, emphasizing the need to store bird feed somewhere safe.

While they prefer fruits and worms, squirrels are not the pickiest of eaters. When hungry, squirrels would ravage your chicken coop just as happily as they would nibble on an acorn. Although squirrels attack chicken eggs when presented with no other alternative, we recognize the bother they can offer.

Here is a video that shows how squirrels can carry away chicken eggs:

Here are a few measures to keep your chicken eggs relatively safe:

  • Collect chicken eggs

Squirrels come around your chicken coop for the eggs. Pick out the eggs often during the day and store them out of the reach of marauding squirrels.

  • Avoid overgrown bushes

Due to their fear of predators, squirrels often live in bushy areas and stay away from open spaces. Hence, it is an innovative idea to level overgrown bushes if you own a poultry farm. It is recommended you keep your coop 50 – 75 ft (15 – 23 cm) away from any bush.

  • Get a guard dog

Squirrels can recognize a predator from afar and scenting a guard dog from afar certainly would raise their hackles, ensuring to keep them away. You would, however, want the guard dogs to be trained enough to know not to eat the chicken. A trained Doberman or Rottweiler would do the trick.

  • Figurine or Statues

As ridiculous as this sounds, figurines can effectively keep squirrels away. Squirrels are naturally timid creatures, and the silhouette of a predator is sure to keep them at bay. We especially recommend you adopt this method if you are on a budget. However, this method is not foolproof and might only be effective temporarily.

  • Squirrel-proof your chicken coop

We recommend investing in hardware mesh if you want to keep squirrels out. I recommend Galvanized and Rustproof Mesh. Click here to view the pricing on Amazon. They are also known as hardware mesh and squirrels cannot bite through the material. Also, all windows and compromised openings should be sealed.

Can Squirrels Hurt Baby Birds?

Yes, squirrels can hurt baby birds and feed on them when faced with hunger. While this is not very common, squirrels can go to this length if there is a shortage of food.

The most common interactions between squirrels and birds are the thefts of bird eggs and feed. However, when pushed to the extreme, like in cases of famine, squirrels are known to consume baby birds.

Squirrels have sharp claws that they use to dig the ground and hunt prey like insects and small birds. Squirrels would, however, not attack fully grown birds as they are naturally timid.

While squirrels might indeed consume baby birds, they do not present an actual danger to the bird population. However, there are ways to keep a squirrel from harming your baby birds:

  • Keep the squirrels out

If you own a yard, you will want to make sure it is not crawling with squirrels, and one effective way to do that is to invest in red hot pepper, which contains a compound called capsaicin. The taste of capsaicin is repulsive to squirrels, but it does not affect birds.

  • Remove perches from your birdhouse

If you are a bird owner, it is probably a promising idea to take down any exterior perches on your birdhouse. These perches enable squirrels to reach the birdhouses and snatch at baby birds with ease.

  • Choose the placement of your birdhouse wisely

Squirrels can jump far as ten feet horizontally. So, you should hang your birdhouse far away from trees and at least five feet off the ground. You should make it as difficult as possible for squirrels to gain access to your birdhouse. I recommend the sturdy Nature’s Way Cedar Bird House. To view the current pricing on Amazon, click here.

Do Squirrels Eat Baby Ducks?

Yes, it is possible for squirrels to eat baby ducks. Squirrels are opportunistic foragers, and in cases of severe hunger, they might eat a baby duck that is not protected.

Squirrels are known to prey on bird eggs and raid poultry coops – but only as a means of survival. The behavior of squirrels varies depending on their breed, but they tend to go to extreme levels when faced with starvation.

Even if a squirrel might not attack a baby duck, duck eggs are not safe from squirrels. The following precautions are taken to protect the safety of the baby ducks and duck eggs:

  • Block off any opening or compromise in the structure that provides an inlet for squirrels.
  • Take away the duck eggs as soon as they are laid to reduce the risk of raiding.
  • Keep a train guard dog around to keep the squirrels away. Most rodents scare easily, and squirrels are hardly any different. As with chicken eggs, have a trained Rottweiler guard your bird nest or an equally disciplined Doberman.

Here is a table that highlights what animals like to eat bird eggs. The data is derived from various online forums that are related to the outdoors and gardening.

What animal have you noticed that will consume bird eggs
Blue Jays

Do Chipmunks Eat Bird Eggs?

Chipmunks eat bird eggs when they are searching for food. Apart from the similarities in their appearance, chipmunks and squirrels also have a similar diet.

Chipmunks are rodents of the family Sciuridae, streaked with a distinct stripe running along their back.

Chipmunks, like squirrels, are diurnal creatures, meaning they hunt and forage in the daytime and retire into the thick of the bush in the nighttime.

Chipmunks like saving up for rainy days, so it is common to find them scavenging for nuts and fruits under rocks only to store them in their burrows. The chipmunk diet is composed of grains such as barley, corn, millet, and wheat. They also consume fruits and nuts, and the occasional bird egg.

While chipmunks resemble squirrels, they are significantly more difficult to control. The following measures are recommended to help handle chipmunks.

  • Garden designs

Chipmunks go through painful lengths to avoid predators – even altogether avoiding your garden beds when surrounded with gravel or edging of paving stones. Chipmunks will not risk danger if they can help it. It certainly helps to consider this when designing your garden bed.

  • Scare tactics

Chipmunks and squirrels have a lot in common, including that they scare easily. Also, like squirrels, they are naturally timid and non-confrontational. Install a statue, or if you are feeling a little creative, a fluttering flag to scare away chipmunks.

  • Keep Area Feeder Clean

Chipmunks are drawn to easily accessible food. If you want to keep them away from your bird feeder, we recommend you keep the area surrounding the feeder clean. Without proper hygiene, chipmunks will be attracted to food on the ground, leaving your feeder vulnerable to chipmunk raids.

  • Shop for a metal pole

While squirrels can scale wood and metal poles, chipmunks struggle with the latter. The smoothness of the metals presents a challenge to chipmunks looking to attack your feeder.

  • Adopt Spice defense systems

Hot peppers do not just belong in meals. We can utilize them in our gardens too when we are trying to get the chipmunk away from our feeders. Chipmunks are also irritated by pepper and will steer clear altogether. Add pepper to the feed to deter the chipmunk from attempting your feeder.

  • Clear Out Bushes

Chipmunks do not live in trees; instead, they stay in burrowed holes in bushes. You could trim down the bushes to get the chipmunks out of their burrows, and they will eventually relocate to a safer area.

  • Baffles

Like squirrels, chipmunks are found to be thwarted by baffles. Chipmunks may attempt squeezing themselves through a loose-fitting baffle. We recommend a tight-fitting baffle to ensure the safety of your bird feeder.

  • Traps

This should be employed as a last resort, and it is not highly recommended. Traps are set and spring to a close when the chipmunks step into them. There are a lot of traps that do not hurt chipmunks but simply capture them. Once you trap a chipmunk, you should safely transport it far away from your birdhouse.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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