For the Past Week we have lost 1 to 2 chickens a night we have locked or chicken up in the coop but what ever it is,eat though the wire and wood. We have a coop with windows in front in which we put chicken wire on. they ate the steel wire in half and went in to the coop. the hole is about 6 inches across so it must be a coon or passim. Last night it ripped the wing off one chicken and the tail off another the one with the missing wing died. We have a small hole in the back of the coop to let the chickens out to free range dunning the day but the door has been ripped off twice. We used a trail cam and captured a pic of a coon about 1am then a possum and 2am. They are relentless. I am boarding up the windows tonight.
We have lost chicken too!
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
Chicken wire is near useless for keeping predators out of the coop. Chicken wire is ONLY good for containing chickens. What you need is hardware cloth to cover the windows. Coons can't tear through that. Build a heavy duty chicken door(Pop door) and attach it with strong hinges and use a hasp and lock to secure it. I built my pop door out of a section of 2X12 board. It fits flush with the outside of the coop. NOTHING is getting through that little door. You can see it on pg4 of the link below, also you can see the hardware cloth that covers EVERY window on the coop. Fortify your coop so you don't have to deal with this horror show again. As far as chickens are concerned, monsters DO come out at night.
You can also build an entrance/exit door high off the ground... mine is about 4 feet up with a stump about 2 feet from the side of the coop to help as a launching point. If you have chickens that fly relatively well it works great. The critters can't easily reach the door ( I can imagine only a fox or coyote being able to jump high enough) which is closed at night. The main reason I have it this way is to reduce access to raccoons. Even if something could reach the door by jumping they would never be able to hold on long enough to break in.... at least that's the idea.
I like that wire on your coop windows I guess orslens would have that its going on the window tomorrow. For tonight we put hing Doors to cover the window with 1 inch holes drilled all though out the plywood i am afraid there will not be enough air flow though We also put snap locks on them on the inside. I like the wire you have better. I like to let them free rang just for a bit so we have the little back door for them and i let them out for a few hours before dark so they can pick at the grass haven't had a problem with this during daylight only at night. My dear sweet husband got up 3 time last night with the chickens going nuts in the hen house, running out side to shoot the critter killing the chicken but didn't see anything but the darn thing got in the window anyways and kill one more chicken. I am hoping this is the last one for this coon.
Thank you so much for the great advise I am rather new to chickens so it really bugs me when I started losing them.
Oh my goodness! What an awful situation! I second the recommendation for the hardware cloth! We caught a couple of coons around our duck house last night, but after experiencing a loss to a weasel two days before Christmas our coop is pretty secure. After catching the coons like that we'll be taking additional measures too!