Coons- Advice and Ideas?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CherokeeGal, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. CherokeeGal

    CherokeeGal Out Of The Brooder

    Well, it happened. We lost our first chicken two nights ago to a raccoon. Found the tracks in the morning. It was my baby Clemmie- the pretty little ruffle who had such a nice personality. Unfortunately, she was the slowest. [​IMG]

    Any advice on predator determent? Even though our coop is a genuine Fort Knox, there was one week spot that we didn't know about until now. We've taken care of that but now I feel paranoid. Is there anything else I can do to protect my babies? Our main problem is raccoons and dogs. But we also have the occasional bobcat and cougar that will roam through. Hawks are present but the coop is fully meshed so I don't think that they will be much of a problem.

    Thanks!

    -Sam
     
  2. Capone

    Capone Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    0
    119
    Jul 27, 2009
    Rhode Island
    my coop and run are built like fort knox. ive never lost a bird in three year. im sorry for your loss
     
  3. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    97
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I had an attack a few nights ago, but I have a baby monitor in my coop, so when I heard the screaming start I ran out and it dropped my Dovey (EE- thank God, the loudest bird out there!) and ran off. She was fine.

    Now I have a whole slew of old military silverware (no idea why I had it all, but it has holes in the handle so you can string it) strung up to make noise when there's out side action around the coop. I also have metal trash cans (heavy feed cans) in front the doors and a stainless steel bowl balanced in front of the pop door with rocks all over it...paranoid?? No....

    Thing is, if I hear it while it's outside, it gives me time to run it off. I'm in the middle of town and can't kill it- and we have foxes and birds of prey, and questionable foot traffic at times...and the coop is waaaaaaaaayy back in the yard, like 300 ft.

    I want to know before something happens, so this is my way. I can't do much to make it go away, and now the 'Dinner Served' light is lit up, so I have to be diligent.
     
  4. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!!! [​IMG]

    You can COUNT on raccoons finding the weak spot!!!

    Is your run covered? Does the wire go down a foot and out a foot???

    If you want to see who is scoping out your chickens, sprinkle flour on the ground all around your coop and run. You will see the footprints in the morning.

    You might also want to think about installing electric wire around your coop and run to scare off the "big guys".


    Good Luck!!

    Cindy
     
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,703
    44
    228
    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    It seems like every several months, something finds a weakness in the defenses we didn't previously know about. I now spend a few hours every few weeks (in short spurts spread out) probing the defenses myself, in hopes of finding the weakness before the predators do.

    Right now, they are in chain link dog runs with wire over and under and gaps closed up. I've been meaning to add hardware mesh around the bottom portion to prevent predators reaching through, and now I'll have to do it because I am planning to add a hot wire around the bottom (it's on order). My thinking is that the hot wire will prevent many predators from hanging around long enough to probe the perimeter defenses.

    I figure, if I constantly look for weaknesses, and continually upgrade the defenses, I'll have fewer losses. But, honestly, I've found that losses are sort of a part of life with poultry, at least for me (I know others who claim 100% protection rates, and that's great, but it's just not reality for me here).

    I'm sorry for your loss. The first time is the hardest, but it hurts every time. [​IMG]
     
  6. CherokeeGal

    CherokeeGal Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks everybody for the quick responses!! [​IMG]

    UPDATE! Last night we had another attempted break in. He/she tried to go for the same spot but the rocks piled there were too big this time and he gave up.

    ChooksChick I really like the idea of putting up booby-traps. And I still think we have our old baby monitor. I'll have to check the range on it but I can probably even buy a new one fairly inexpensively, thanks!

    #1 California Chick (love the name btw, I'm from CA too so hi! [​IMG]) The run is completely covered and we have piled rocks a foot high and about two feet out from both the run and coop. BIG rocks. The area where the raccoon got in was the one place where the rocks were slightly smaller. He moved a few of the smaller rocks and had just enough room to tunnel under. We decided to opt for the rocks instead of the wire because in the area where we live makes digging virtually impossible without machinery. Do you think the rocks are good enough? Do we still need to do the wire too?

    iamcuriositycat Thanks for the ideas! Yes, I think I'll continue to do just that. I'm going to check the coop and run every day and look for week spots. I think you're right. Our neighbors with chickens loose one every few months- it's just a part of life with poultry. It's sad but with all the predators here I'm just going to have to do my best.

    Thanks so much to everyone- you have no idea how much that little hugging smiley makes me feel better. [​IMG]

    Also, can anyone recommend a good (and hopefully inexpensive) camera trap? I want to know exactly who I'm up against.
     
  7. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Set out a live trap, snare, posion, shot em, leg trap, electric fences, gaurd dog to name a few ways of doing it.
     
  8. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    97
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    Another thing you can consider is giving them a wooden structure in which to sleep- You can make it just big enough for the roosting space each will need, and put on some pre-fab/recycled ventilation- wall registers, storm windows w/screens (probably don't have those in your part of the country), etc., or sandwich hardware cloth under 1"x3" strips, screwed down to make a frame. Close the roost door at night, so if the critter beats your pen defenses, there's a Fort Knox inside that it can't penetrate.

    I have mine in an 8'x8' pre-fab garden shed, and I use a fan inside when it's hot- I don't have any holes save the pop door, and it's plexiglass in slots with a 6# window weight attached for security. The people doors open to 6' wide, but I have a 2"x4" bar across the whole thing in brackets at the bottom, with shims screwed to the fronts of the doors so that the bar holds the doors flush- not even a mouse can get up that crack!

    I'll have to increase ventilation for winter, but I intend to do it with round duct pipes- need to redirect the roo's crow straight up to dampen the noise- no one knows I have him b/c he only crows in the morning still locked in...and I'm not supposed to have him.

    No visit last night...Will be listening like a new mother to my monitor for a while.

    I got mine for $17 new at WalMart, and it's good for 300'- way better than the ones from my kids.
     
  9. CherokeeGal

    CherokeeGal Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you!

    The fort within a fort is a great idea thanks! I talked to my dad about it we are going to make it so the door to the coop can be closed and locked. That way we just make sure the chickens are in at night and so we can lock them in safe house. I'm also going to look into a baby monitor next time we go to target or wall mart.

    Thanks so much! I feel a lot better now with a plan of action!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by