Abandoning coop!


5 Years
Jul 23, 2014
South Carolina
Dang racoon! In the last 2 weeks we've lost 4 of our 3month old babies. Something was getting into the baby growout coop. We finally figured out it had to be a racoon. This was our original coop, it started small and we added on to it the first year as the chicks grewup. After the first year we decided we liked having chickens so we built a second much more elaborate, bigger and better predator proof coop. Our family jokingly called it the "chicken Taj Mahal". The second spring we used the original coop as the baby chick growout coop and with the exception of a rat snake that got in, we've never had a problem with predators. Until......this predator has literally pulled nails and staples out of wood to loosen the chicken wire to get in. The first time we lost a golden wyandotte, the only evidence of the chicken we had was beautiful feathers at the top of the wire and around the hole in the fence.We repaired the damage surveyed for any other possible weak spots added 2x4's so that the wire edges were sandwiched between lumber. Last week we we were missing a Easter Egger and found a Buff Orphington dead and partially scalped in the coop. Something had dug a hole under the threshhold of the run door. Made more repairs added concrete blocks around and under the door. Today the last golden Wyandotte was missing. There was a hole dug beside the door threshold. Errrr.....my husband chased down the traumitized remaining Buff and EE and put them in the bigger coop with the main flock.Not exactly the way I usually combine flocks, but we had to do something! He checked that coop and there is no sign of any attempted breaches. That coop was designed and built with alot more security features. We used hardware cloth for most of the run and it is buried down 2 feet. there is concrete block partially buried on both sides of the fence. The door threshold is buried concrete block. We used chicken wire for the top of the run mainly because of expense but we had alot of bird netting given to us so the whole run is wrapped in 2 layers of bird netting. We have to occasionally free small birds and squirrels that have gotten tangled up in it. So I'm hoping the racoon will leave my big coop alone! After a family discussion we have decided instead of trying to refortify the baby coop, we'd rather spend the money on adding on to the big coop run and adding a baby grower coop to the inside of a larger run. I've also had some large raised flower boxes given to me from a family member that we are going to surround the run with so that it will provide another barrier to the outside of the run.We're going to turn the old coop into a storage shed.
Now to figure out how to feed "the babies" their finisher food while feeding the older girls their layer food!
So sorry! I have lost 10 hens & pullets this past month from racoons, opossums, and at least one hawk. I've lost a ton of sleep too! Hubby and I have buttoned up the coop and I am praying for the best!

I have younger pullets (4months) with my grown flock. We throw a couple bowls of layer feed to the main flock, then throw food into a fenced in area. It took 3 times to physically put the pullets in the fence area. Now we call them, and they all come in by theirselves. We just have to block any older chickens from coming in.
So sad. Sorry for your loss.

Many people will feed a grower or all flock, to everybody, forever, with good results. Just be sure to offer a source of calcium (oyster shell or ground eggshell) on the side.

You may not have to worry about separate feeding at all!!
For future use of your original coop if you so choose dig a trench around the outside of the coop and nail hardwire mesh to the bottom. Place rock on top of mesh then cover with dirt. I had rats getting in and taking my babies at night. Now no more problems.

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