Can a racoon get through my pop door?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ShelleyN, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. ShelleyN

    ShelleyN Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Denver, CO
    I've had the wooden pop door found here http://www.automaticchickencoopdoor.com/ for 4 years now without issue when used properly. We live in a suburban house next to a park and have a dog. We had two coon attacks over the summer-- once when the door didn't go down at all, and once when the door went down before everyone was inside. (Mrs. Coon had FIVE babies last spring and I believe she was a little more motivated to brave the dog.) I fixed the door problem with an EXCELLENT Honeywell sunrise/sunset timer but my neighbor says a coon could get into my coop via the pop door. I know anything is possible but has anyone actually had that experience? Currently the door recesses into the lower track about a half inch, and I'm thinking of increasing that with an additional barrier, unless it's not worth the time and effort because the coon will just go through the door instead of just opening it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would think that if you've got a coon around that is a known chicken predator, and have only had issues when the door has malfunctioned, that the coon won't be able to get in. I would think that if the coon was capable of pulling the door open/eating through the door - you'd have lost a lot more birds by now.

    If it makes you feel better, a layer of aluminum flashing over the wood would probably reinforce it a little, and almost nothing likes chewing on metal.
     
  3. ShelleyN

    ShelleyN Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Denver, CO
    So the coon will try to chew through the door? I thought it would try to get in by using it's hands to get under or rip the siding off the dern house! I suppose we could trim the door opening with flashing as well as cover the door.
     
  4. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    Yes, a coon can open that door in a few mere seconds, if he figures out the trick. All he has to do is turn his paws claws-up, dig the claws into the wood, and lift. Nothing but the weight of the door itself will resist him.
    It helps if he can't reach under the door to gain a purchase, but using his paws on the face of the door is enough.
    Can you open that door using your fingernails upside-down? If you can, the raccoon can.
    That's why some people have built clever gravity activated latches that engage when the door comes down. Those prevent any lifting action on the door except by the string on the inside that disengages the latch as the string goes up. IMO, any commercial "string-puller" model should have this sort of latch built in standard.
    A layer of sheet metal flashing fixed onto the outside surface of that door would not only strengthen the door but it would make it more difficult for paws to gain traction.
     
  5. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree, but I know when I look at my coop, I say no way, not going to happen.

    I sleep with both eyes closed...

    If you question yours, well, do something before it's too late.

    I have never heard anyone on this list of 300,000+ ever complain that their coop was too secure...
     
  6. ShelleyN

    ShelleyN Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Denver, CO
    Clever gravity latch! Love it! Now how to find it??? Any idea where to find that?
     
  7. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canby, Oregon
    I don't know where to purchase a pre-built one, but here are some links to examples on youtube. Ignore all the electronic stuff and just check out the door mechanics.
    These doors remain jammed solid shut when they lower. The draw-string unlatches it all when it pulls up.

    YouTube Example
    Another
     
  8. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is very possible and easy for a raccoon to life up a pop door and get to your chickens. I learned this the hard way. I woke up one morning to find just a head of one of my young pullets sitting inside the pop door. The raccoon lifted the door grabbed her and then my guess is let go of the door as it pulled her out the door falling on her head and it just ripped her body away from the door leaving the head inside.
     

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