City Slickers vs. Raccoons

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Tylt33, May 29, 2011.

  1. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    I went out to lock the chickens up last night and their door was already closed, so I attributed it to my wife having locked them up for the night. At about 5:00 a.m. we awoke to a chicken "screaming". My wife and I quickly sorted out the confusion (she had closed the coop when we were trying to catch one of our girls earlier in the day), and I went in the backyard to find feathers everywhere and a chicken body next to the fence. I did a scan of the backyard not seeing any of our other girls and then looked up on the fence to see a giant raccoon staring back at me. We later found the rest of our girls cowering in various parts of the yard. We like to think of the girl we lost as an unlikely heroine for alerting us to the danger.

    This is the first time we've seen any sign of a raccoon in our backyard. We live in the middle of the city, have fruit trees and a vegetable garden, and have never had any problems with raccoons eating any of our produce. We know the former homeowners who lived here for 11 years and also had chickens, and they never had any sign of a raccoon either. We have gone nights forgetting to close the coop doors, and have never had a problem. We used to have an open-bottom chicken ark that we set on dirt and nothing ever dug in. We were lucky. My questions now:

    1. I saw one raccoon. I believe they frequently travel in families, is this correct? Do they ever work by themselves?

    2. Our coop has sliding bolt locks. I have heard they can open these. Can they open them?

    3. We plan on getting a live trap this morning and trapping/relocating them. How can I find out if this is legal in my area? Call Department of Fish & Game? We're technically not allowed to have chickens in the city so I'd like to bring as little attention to this as possible.

    4. Now that the raccoons have located a food source, even though they didn't get any food, what is the likelihood they will be back?

    What a traumatizing experience. Before this I had a difficult time understanding how people work up the fortitude to shoot raccoons. I would have attacked that dang thing with a knife if I had one. My poor wife feels absolutely awful [​IMG]
     
  2. brownegger

    brownegger Out Of The Brooder

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    During this time of year, females "sows" will travel with their young on nightly foraging outings, yes. Male raccoons or "boars" will generally travel alone throughout the year.
    They can open sliding bolt locks if they are where they can reach them reasonably or if they can climb to them. I have smooth wooden doors on my coop and the bolt locks are about 4.5' off of the ground so, no problems there.
    You may contact your local fish and game but, in California I would opt for SSS! When live trapping raccoons they can be difficult at times to catch this way for they can be very cautious. Place something heavy on top of the cage and back the cage into a spot where the coons cannot get beside of it on either side. Do these things because; raccoons will roll the traps and/or pick the bait through the wire on the sides and back of the trap if they can. Eliminate those options for them and he will be left with only having to go into the trap if he wants your bait! Use a can of tuna for bait!

    It is fairly likely the raccoon will come back. It depends on his local food source availability but, it's hard to beat fresh chicken!

    Good luck!
     
  3. zengrrl

    zengrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raccoons are the worst predator ever! They cannot resist chicken and they are quite creative when it comes to breaking into wherever they need to get a meal. Time to circle the wagons my friend.
     
  4. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    Quote:Thank you for the information! I'm wondering if it was a male because I didn't see any others with it.

    I unfortunately can't do SSS because:

    1. I don't own a gun.
    2. I'm in the middle of a city, medium density residential, my lot size is only .25 acre and I'm across from an elementary school. I guess I could take it somewhere else and shoot it... but... I still don't have a gun.

    The current plan that I have is:

    1. Installing key locks on all doors with sliding bolts (today).
    2. Installing "Nite Guard Solar" on all sides of the coop (in a few days).
    3. Trapping and releasing (when I can find a trap locally; Lowes and Home Depot don't have them locally and the TSC traps have terrible reviews).
     
  5. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Before you buy a trap, check with your local humane society, many will lend you a trap.
     
  6. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    western Oregon
    If you do catch it live you can drown it within the city limits, please do not relocate.
    Quote:Thank you for the information! I'm wondering if it was a male because I didn't see any others with it.

    I unfortunately can't do SSS because:

    1. I don't own a gun.
    2. I'm in the middle of a city, medium density residential, my lot size is only .25 acre and I'm across from an elementary school. I guess I could take it somewhere else and shoot it... but... I still don't have a gun.

    The current plan that I have is:

    1. Installing key locks on all doors with sliding bolts (today).
    2. Installing "Nite Guard Solar" on all sides of the coop (in a few days).
    3. Trapping and releasing (when I can find a trap locally; Lowes and Home Depot don't have them locally and the TSC traps have terrible reviews).
     
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    As for the live traps, screw the reviews and go by brand name. The one that comes to mind is Hav-a-hart. Those reviews probably came from people who used them wrong. Anchor the trap solidly, a coon will try every approach to get the bait including reaching thru the wire (sounds like it's the same way he got your bird) before actually making entry.

    Yes it will be back for another quick easy meal (that's what keep McDonalds open) Sounds like a single big male found you but don't be suprised if more visit. [​IMG]

    Depending on who you know, maybe one of your friends has a high powered air rifle, they are deadly and quiet. SSS made easy.

    No, I don't believe that flashing a light in a coon's eyes will make him run off in terror otherwise headlights and flashlights would have made them extinct a long time ago.

    If SSS is still not a option, I suggest a small electric fence perimeter be set up and used whenever your not messing with the birds. run 3 - 4 strands about 4 inches apart. Anything that approaches will have to deal with this before it can challenge your structure including stray dogs and feral cat as well as Mr Coon. a few inexpensive step-in posts and a charger and you are in business. (remember that a ground rod in wet ground is the key to a hot shock and no! it's not cruel just educational) If you want to experience what the coon will feel, pee on the active fence. You'll find it's a borderline religous experience! [​IMG] When that coon hits your fence, he will relocate himself! [​IMG]

    Good luck with your visitor. In the long run, deterring the critter is easier and cheaper that trying to build a Ft Knox for chickens
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  8. brownegger

    brownegger Out Of The Brooder

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    SE Ohio
    I agree with a couple of other people on this topic! Relocating is generally not biologically acceptable for most creatures due to disease, population imbalances, genetics, and so forth. Drowning is an option though I have a hard time doing it myself. Shooting is definitely more humane in my opinion and probably factually more humane with a well placed shot. You should own a gun, it is your right to have one!
    I totally agree with the electric fence and would opt for the hot wire over the solar lights! In a city, the raccoons are always around various lights so, I would deem that to not be too effective. I also agree with what has been said about the traps. Do not go by reviews for most people just don't know how to use them to begin with!!!!!! Take my advice and follow the instructions given and you will likely have a coon in the trap soon, regardless of who made it!
     
  9. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    Quote:Thank you for this advice!!! The trap is set, and I added padlocks to every entrance on the coop [​IMG]
     
  10. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    Quote:Turns out my mom actually had a trap that used to be my grandfather's before he passed away... I remember him trapping raccoons and miner's cats 20+ years ago when I was a kid. Hopefully the trap still has the same charm!
     

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