Brazen coon-what to do?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chookchick, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I know that our neighborhood is crawling with raccoons, but I am nervous about what I saw today. To back up, last weekend the neighbor's weiner dogs had a coon treed on our property line. I was never so glad to hear them yapping! This was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I got tired of waiting for it to come down, and hoped that it would leave and not return.

    Tonight I came home about 5:30 and caught the coon out of the corner of my eye in the vegetable garden. It took off, but I eventually caught it scaling a tree somewhat near the coop. I waited around, came back about 1/2 hour later and followed it along the top of the fence to the backyard, where I lost it. During this time, we came face to face about 10' apart. I could clearly see teats--does this mean it is a momma? She does not seem very afraid of me, but I don't think she is rabid. (BTW my neighbors down the street FEED the raccoons!)

    I feel pretty secure about the tightness of the coop house, but I am nervous about the top of the run. If she worked on it during the day, she probably could get in. I have not seen any sign of an animal trying to get into the run (or coop) so far.

    The only gun we have is a BB gun--could that kill a raccoon? Should I try to trap her? I wish it wasn't a momma coon. Should I put electricity around the coop and run? The fact that she is strolling around in the middle of the day, apparently looking for food, has me completely unnerved. I think I'm going to go out now and put flour out...
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Get a good trap and a better gun and dispatch the coon.
  3. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    no a bb gun will just piss it off, get a real gun
  4. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    She probably is a nursing mother. When the babies get bigger the moms need more food and they will come out all times of the day and night. We usually have at least one that comes to the barn for the 4:30 cat feeding and will sit about 20 ft away waiting for Dad to put the food out. Electricity may help but no guarantees. A BB gun will not kill a coon.
  5. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Agreed - and when the babies are bigger, they'll all go hunting (read as killing for no good reason) together.

    As for the gun, there are some sites online with discussions as to what type of gun/ammo to use. I'd definitely say something bigger than a .22 which barely takes care of possums.

    On the trap, they will trip traps. Use a live trap (because then if you can't kill it, you can get a wildlife guy or city to come get it). Stake it to the ground over a hole in the ground which you'll put right under the trigger area of the trap. Put marshmallows and jam in the hole. Not meats. Raccoons love sweet stuff and the raccoon, not neighbors cats, are what you want. They will be forced to go in the cage to stick their tiny arms through the hole in the floor to get the bait.

    If you try putting it on the trigger, they just reach through and grab stuff from the outside - their arms are thin, their hands are like lockpickers' hands (literally - they open latches). They use them to grab through wire cages and pull out whatever part of your bird they can get. So make them get in that cage.

    Just think of it this way - if the raccoon is a nursing mother, when she kills all your chickens (and she'll do her best) then she and the babies will have nothing to eat and will be ill and diseased anyway. So you're sparing them misery.
  6. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Thanks so much for all the good information and opinion!

    I have to say I am completely torn about this situation. I have lived with coons in my yard and never had any issue. Last night, I went out and put flour all around the house and run, checked it this morning and evening and there is not one sign of a raccoon near the coop.
    I've had this maybe Pollyana idea that if the coons never figured out that chickens were yummy, and couldn't get to them, that I could avoid problems. But I really don't like the idea of them reproducing in my yard! I know there are too many of them, and they kill all the waterfowl.
    Also we were raised in the rarified liberal air of Seattle, and are not too excited about the prospect of owning a gun. (I think I could have used one last night, though). I probably would be more comfortable drowning a coon in a trap, than purchasing a gun. We had a long discussion about this tonight...
    If I do go on the path of coon trapping and killing, it will have to be completely on the DL. My neighbors and family would never understand. The neighbors feed them, for heaven's sake!
  7. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Songster

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    Raccoons can seriously overpopulate a suburban area, particularly if someone is artificially supporting them through feeding. Disease, and livestock predation are the results--not to mention misery for the ones who starve.

    You don't want to wait until she kills your birds to tackle the issue. I've had coons slaughter EVERYTHING in my poultry house. You don't want to go through that.

    Do it on the DL if you must. That is perfectly understandable.
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:You are utterly conscientious - I admire that.
    As the others have said, the raccoon is not afraid of man. It will therefore not go away - it doesn't know it should. Wishing it away wont get you very far, either.
    It cannot help but relish the taste of chicken, I might add - it is wired to love it.
    This is one of those times when only action with a capital "A" will suffice. You can either handle it yourself or hope the local controllers will help. Given what you've said about the raccoons mascot status, I wouldn't expect too much from them. By the time they make a decision, you are likely to have lost some chickens

    Now that you have chickens, you have a new outlook. Did you notice? From a formerly warm and fuzzy raccoon lover to a combatant. Good for you!
    Now, it is time to fully adopt the mantle of chicken owner and wage war on the raccoon. There is no reasoning with it, nor much needed debate on the matter. So stop that right away.
    Here's the bottom line: Be decisive - the chickens you save may be your own. Dispatch it (fancy talk for "kill it") or trap it and take it far away so it can be pest to someone else. Those are pretty much your options.

    P.S. If you trap it, watch your fingers! Handle the cage only with the stoutest of gloves.
    Having one trapped, up close and personal, will soon teach you why they are ferocious chicken predators, best done away with.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  9. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Chookchick, if it's any consolation, I'm an animal lover, too, and I've had a very hard time dealing with all our predator problems here because some of the animals I now dispatch, I once rescued. But because of my reluctance, I now have a possum infestation. (Six in five days....)

    Someone told me something and it changed my way of thinking. When we brought chickens into our lives, we took on the responsibility of guarding their lives. They're very much prey animals - delicate and vulnerable, particularly at night. They trust in us to keep them safe at night. It's our responsibility, the one we didn't read in the small print when we got chickens.

    Also, allowing a population of ( insert predator here) at our places also allows that predator to eventually become over populated and then THEY have diseases. Often at our places, THEY have no predators after them.

    In any case, it's not like you and I will enjoy this part of our jobs. It's not like we'll start doing it, and then just to out killing random animals for kicks. It's really ok if we take care of our animals. (Then we can come here and be upset about it and definitely have people who understand.)

  10. mmwb

    mmwb Songster

    Jul 2, 2009
    Western Wyoming
    In the end the predators will die or the chickens will die. You need to make a choice and take action. As long as you have chickens you will need to deal with this. As you kill some predators, others will come in to fill the void. No matter how clean your coop and yard is, predators will still smell that there are chickens. Prevailing breeze and wind will lead them right to your birds.

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