2 New (very muddy) Hens, and adventures in raccoon trapping.


6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
We got 2 new laying hens this week. They are from the same hatching as my existing hens that I got as pullets last fall. Got them from a local farm. They are roughly the same height as my first girls, but lighter with smaller combs and waddles. Not to worried about that, a few weeks of the live of the pampered urban hen and they will fatten up I am sure. However, they are very muddy and have quite poopy butts. They are pretty nervous as they have not been handled much at all. They were pretty much pasture raised, and as this is Oregon, that means mud patch raised. They have taken a few dust baths and seem to be enjoying the sun and grass here, but they are not getting any cleaner. They do not seem to be doing much grooming/preening. How long before they will come clean on their own or should I take the plunge and bathe them? I don't want to make them any more nervous then I have to.

Also any tips for trapping the local raccoon? He got one of my girls Sunday, I put the trap out last night and baited it with cat food and maraschino cherries. He came by to check it out, and tripped the trap, but didn't go inside. (he knocked the latch on the side) I reset it, but he didn't come back. I am thinking about leaving it propped open for a couple nights till I can tell he has eaten the food then let it trap him the next night. What do you think?

The 2 new girls
One of my original 2

Both of your hens look great...

I wouldn't be worried about the mud since chickens are naturally good cleaners. I would give them a few days to clean themselves before attempting anything else. This should give them enough time to better acclimate to their new environment. If you given them a bath now you will likely agitate them more and simply cause problems.

As for your problem with raccoon's...

If you keep your chickens in a fenced area you can look at a number of solutions. If this is the case you can purchase electric fencing strips and the solar charge controller for roughly $150.00 for the entire system. This seems to work very well where I live as I suspend the wire about three feet off the grown (preventing them from stepping over the wire). If this isn't an option you can look at using additional live traps and baiting for them at night. I also installed a solar powered flood light on my chicken coop as a deterrent. I've witnessed, on several occasions, the raccoon's tripping the light and quickly running away. This option is much cheaper and would only cost you about $29.99 for the entire system (walmart.com).

If you don't have a fenced in area I would purchase or build a small chicken coop where you can lock your birds into at night. I have one large coop and several smaller coops for my chickens as they like to stay in small flocks...rather than one large flock. At night I simply lock each coop and haven't had any trouble yet. I purchased the smaller coops online for about $125.00 and installed concrete footings and bricks around the edging (costing about $50.00 more).

I hope this helps...and remember that no design will keep your chickens 100% safe...
I have them in a coop at night. The one that got eaten was on the one night I forgot to lock them back up....Of course. I didn't think of the electric fence idea... I may have to try that. They have to come over the fence to get in the yard. I bet trimming the branches away from the fence and running a wire around the top would do the trick.

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