Am I Asking for Trouble?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DaveBoy, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. DaveBoy

    DaveBoy Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    Spouse and I just bought a new house and we want to build a small chicken coop/run with just a few chickens. This coop will be located close to a large palm tree. We've heard noises coming from the upper reaches of the tree that an "expert" (my brother-in-law) said is raccoons. I've generally gotten along with raccoons except for when they eat my grapes and persimmons - we have a kind of live and let live arrangement. Now I'm concerned about how determined these beasts will be around my chickens. I know I can fortify the coop/run so that even a tank couldn't break in but I'm not into doing more work or spending more money than I need to. So, my questions are, aside from providing sturdier wire fencing for the sides of the run and installing raccoon-proof latches, how far down do I need to dig for a wire barrier? Do I even need one? Do raccoons dig to get under the walls? Do I need a wire floor in the run? I was really trying to avoid that if possible. Or, I could try to discourage the raccoons from the yard by keeping them out of the palm tree - might that be easier?
    Many thanks in advance.
  2. Barbedwirecat

    Barbedwirecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    Raccoon are VERY smart. They dig, pull chickens through wire, open latches. Its really hard to raccoon proof. You are probably better off getting rid of the tree or the raccoons than putting all of that time/effort in to fortifying it (which you still will need to in some sense). It may seems mean, but after you have spent a TON of money on fortifying your coop, a ton of money on chickens, and then you lose most of your flock because they STILL get in, the devastation may lead you to think otherwise. Just My opinion.
  3. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Is your yard fenced so that you could get a big dog to patrol it against the raccoons? We live in town, have our girls in a dirt floored coop with hardware cloth laid all around to deter diggers and have a big dog. She doesn't "bond" with the chickens, but their coop is in her territory, which she defends-so it works out.
  4. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    1/4" hardware cloth will be your friend. never assume that chicken wire will do anything other than keep chickens in (ie, it won't keep anything else out). raccoons also can and will reach right through small gaps, and pull live chickens back through, piece by piece. ask me how i know. =/

    you can dig the wire down about a foot or so, or make an "apron" where you lay wire horizontally around the coop so they can't dig. weight it down with bricks or something, and grass eventually grows through the exposed bits. i'm lazy, so i make aprons instead of digging trenches. [​IMG]

    i personally would not worry about a wire floor in the run, as long as your outer perimeter is secure.

    good luck with them! have fun [​IMG]
  5. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    There is also a defensive devise called Nite Guard that I have used and it keeps the critters away.
    It has to be after night fall to work. Twilight is still a vulnerable time for the chickens as predators can see that it is just a light. But after dark it seems fool proof.
  6. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    Now that looks awesome. Hmmm I think I may need 5 of them!
  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    ...are you certain they are raccoons? Where do you live? some regions have other creatures that prefer palm trees like small bats that shelter in the drapes of the palm leaves....I don't remember the species, but they are white, and I believe they reside in Florida...they could be making noise too.

    There are any number of species that would reside in palm trees, but I am not too sure raccoons would appreciate such an exposed looking and flexible abode....You could always get a game cam to see what kind of critters you are dealing with...
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  8. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    Quote:Most mammals are color blind I night hunt when I use a white light animals can see the white light when I use a red light they never even notice there is a light on them
  9. DaveBoy

    DaveBoy Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    Many thanks for the suggestions. I'm not certain the noises are from raccoons - that's what my "expert" BIL says - though we do have raccoons around here, I've seen them on my balcony. We also have a couple of large labrador dogs but we keep them inside at night because of barking issues since we're mostly surrounded on three sides by suburban "development" though we ourselves have close to two acres. Also, based on my experience with these dogs and skunks, I doubt they would be much of a deterent. One dog barks at the skunk, the other runs up to say "hi" and to take a sniff and gets it full bore right in the face. Maybe I need a different breed of dog. You would think he would learn but it's happened three times in the last year.

    The sturdy metal "fencing" with the small openings sounds like the ticket. I'll do the apron thing as well but I think I'll also tack some down in the run as well.
  10. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    Also remember if you build an attached run, you will have to cover it. Especially if you are going to build it near the palm, when those palms fronds fall, they are quite heavy, and could cause major injury to the coop & chickens.

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