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Do Hedgehogs Kill Chickens? (Explained)

As a farmer or landowner who raises chickens, you worry about keeping your live animals safe. Predators, including falcons and hedgehogs, can sneak into chicken coops and pens. The unfortunate result is that chickens and their eggs become prey. So do hedgehogs kill chickens?

As a general rule, hedgehogs can kill chickens. These animals are known to kill and eat chickens, chicks, and unhatched eggs. However, hedgehogs are usually more of a threat in areas where ground nests exist.

This means low-lying chicken coops and nest areas are more vulnerable to threats from hedgehogs. Some locations do not have significant hedgehog populations.

In this article, we will discuss how hedgehogs kill chickens, as well as some tips on how to protect your flock from these little predators.

What are hedgehogs?

The scientific community classifies hedgehogs as mammals. These creatures are smaller than porcupines and beavers but share some of the same characteristics. A hedgehog’s face is shaped like a cone, and its body is covered in spines.

Because of a hedgehog’s size, many are tiny enough to fit in a human’s hand. However, the size or length can be between four and 12 inches. The smallest hedgehogs weigh around five ounces, and the largest can weigh up to 56 ounces.

Most hedgehogs live in New Zealand, Asia, Africa, and Europe. These mammals create nests from branches, leaves, and other plants. Many hedgehog populations live in deserts, forests, and gardens in suburban areas.

While farmers and landowners may not find a ton of hedgehogs in the United States, it is conceivable to discover some. Hedgehogs also find left-behind nests and burrows and take them over. Others make their homes in between larger rocks.

However, despite the fact that hedgehogs can kill chickens and their eggs, these animals are not the biggest threat to your flock. Farmers and chicken owners should be more concerned about weasels, snakes, foxes, and dogs.

That said, there are a few things that hedgehogs are afraid of. In a recent article, I explain what these animals are afraid of and how you can use this to your advantage.

Click the link above to learn more.

When are hedgehogs most active?

Hedgehogs are most active at night. They’re nocturnal mammals and tend to sleep during most daytime hours. This makes it harder for farmers and landowners to monitor and protect their chickens since humans are generally not nocturnal.

That being said, hedgehogs tend to hibernate during times of extreme heat and cold. So, during a dry and hot period, you shouldn’t expect hedgehogs to be out at night. The same goes for the winter months. It’ll be easier to protect chickens and their eggs during this season.

But when hedgehogs are out at night, they tend to rely on sounds rather than sight to guide them. Since chickens are vocal creatures, their noises can lead hedgehogs to their coups and ground nests. Hedgehogs can also eat quite a bit of food in one sitting.

These mammals can consume one-third of what they weigh. So, a tiny chick or egg is no match for them. Hedgehogs have as many as 44 teeth, making it easy to tear into and chew their food.

How can I protect chickens and eggs?

The best way to protect chickens and their eggs is to keep them locked up at night. This means placing barriers around and under a coup that hedgehogs can’t dig or burrow under. You can also place chickens’ quarters up high or off the ground.

Note: Some farmers and landowners also set up traps around or near a chicken coup to prevent hedgehogs from gaining access. If you’re not familiar with how to set traps, you can hire a company or vendor to teach you.

A vendor can also take care of releasing trapped hedgehogs back into their natural habitats. That being said, this can keep the cycle of trapping and releasing these mammals active. It’s not 100% guaranteed to prevent your chicken and eggs from becoming prey.

Other protection methods include moving food and water to feeding bowls and containers that remain off the ground. Some feeding containers also help reduce the presence of hedgehogs and other predators by staying shut. They only open when chickens need food or water.

Can hedgehogs live with chickens?

Technically hedgehogs and chickens can live together. However, it’s important to note that they are very different animals with different needs, so special care must be taken to ensure both animals get what they need to thrive.

In fact, hedgehogs and chickens can make for unlikely but amusing companions. While chickens are social creatures that love to peck and preen, hedgehogs are more solitary animals that prefer to curl up in a ball.

However, these two species can co-exist peacefully if a few simple guidelines are followed.

  1. It is important to provide enough space for both the hedgehogs and the chickens. A chicken coop with an attached run is a good option, as it will give the hedgehogs a place to hide away from the busy birds.
  2. It is essential to offer a diversity of food sources to ensure that both hedgehogs and chickens get the nutrients they need. Hedgehogs are insectivores, so they will appreciate a diet of bugs and worms.
  3. Chickens, on the other hand, prefer seeds and greens. By offering a variety of food options, you can help to keep both animals healthy and happy.
  4. It is essential to watch for signs of stress in either species. If the hedgehogs seem agitated or the chickens appear nervous, it may be time to provide each group with a separate space.

Do hedgehogs eat chicken?

Hedgehogs are not known to eat chickens, but they can be a nuisance to chicken coops. Hedgehogs are omnivores and will consume a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, vegetables, and eggs. They have been known to raid chicken coops for eggs and other food sources.

It is important to take steps to protect chickens from hedgehogs, such as setting up barriers and traps around the coop. Additionally, providing a variety of food sources for the hedgehogs can help to reduce their interest in raiding chicken coops.

You can set up a small hedgehog feeding station away from the coop, and offer a variety of food sources such as mealworms, fruits, and vegetables, so that they will have an alternative to raiding the chickens.


Before we move on to the conclusion, we’ve summarized this article into a short list of key points for you to remember:

  • Hedgehogs and chickens can live together, but special care must be taken to ensure that both animals get what they need to thrive.
  • Provide enough space for both the hedgehogs and the chickens, and offer a variety of food sources to ensure that both are getting the nutrients they need.
  • Hedgehogs are not known to eat chickens, but they can be a nuisance to chicken coops. Take steps to protect chickens from hedgehogs, such as setting up barriers and traps around the coop.

Final thoughts

Hedgehogs are predators that will kill grown chickens and young chicks. These mammals will also eat and destroy unhatched eggs. Hedgehogs mostly roam at night and are attracted to noises and open bowls of food and water.

To protect chickens and their eggs, it’s best to keep them in a secured coup in nests that are off the ground. Also, use food containers that close after chickens are done feeding.  

Want to learn more about hedgehogs?

Ready to boost your knowledge to the next level? If so, check out the articles below:


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