Coop Avoidance and parental guilt

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cheirogloss, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    We have lost 5 chickens in the past 2 weeks to what we believe to be a raccoon. The first chicken was taken from the coop by a coon that dug in. The others were taken when they refused to roost in the coop following the murder. They went more than 30 ft up into an adjacent tree and we couldn't get them down at night.

    Anyway, since the first murder none of the chickens willingly go back to the coop at night. Tonight I had to bait most of them and chase another into the coop in the middle of the afternoon when they were interested in treats. When in the coop, they freak out and throw themselves against the wire in the run trying to escape. I just went and checked on them (its nearly dark here) and there is still one hen frantically pacing the floor trying to escape.

    We fortified the coop with rocks, more wire, bricks and beams. I just feel so guilty because I feel like I am Hitler marching them to a death camp when I put them up at night. They don't feel safe, I don't have confidence that they are safe, and they definately aren't safe roosting in the trees. If I have to break up a coon attack tonight or lose another chicken (or, God forbid, all my chickens) in the coop I don't know what I will do.

    Short of land mines, electrified razor wire, and a in the heck do I keep these things out of my chicken coop? I feel like I am letting my chickens down. I set a trap, but each morning it is empty, sprung, and the bait is gone. Last night, whatever flipped the trap springing it and releasing the bait. I even wired a can of sardine in the trap, which they completely ignore without marshmellows or dry cat food.

    I consider myself a humanitarian, but never in my life have I wanted to go on a merciless, murdering rampage against a furry animal more than I do now.
  2. thespinningcottage

    thespinningcottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2009
    Arcadia, Florida
    Wow. I feel totally sympathetic with you. [​IMG] We lost 3 young chickens early in our chicken-keeping adventures to raccoons who dissected them piecemeal and pulled them through chicken wire. It was horrible. Have you dug down all around your coop and filled the trench with wire or boards? Maybe a floor inside the coop would help also, like a plywood board laid down and attached. As far as the chickens being spooked by being in the coop, they will get over that. In a day or two life for them will return to normal. Just continue doing your best to make their environment as safe as you can. Good luck!
  3. GaNewChick

    GaNewChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    McDonough, Ga.
    Can you put a baby monitor in there ~ put the headset by your bed?
  4. Tweeza

    Tweeza Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2008
    New England
    Maybe try something to mask the oder of the coon until it naturally dissipates. Can you put a little Mentholatum or Vicks on the neck of chickens? That would mask any predator smell.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  5. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Run several strands of hot wire, the first 6" from the ground, outside your pen or coop and that will stop the racoon unless they can jump onto the coop from a tree or fence post.

    Are you absolutely sure there is no longer a way for it to get inside again?? Make sure all openings are secure with small hardware cloth, not chicken wire, and the door is locked securely.

    Keep the hens put up. Use a baby moniter...and be prepared to run outside at some un-Godly hour in your pj's to dispatch the thing.

    My chickens used to roost in a very tall tree and racoons got most of them. Now they are all in "Ft. Knox, maximum security at night.

    Good luck and peace to your hens. It requires lots of effort but is so satisfying to finally get rid of the awful creature.
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
  7. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    No losses last night, thank goodness! Mostly because (in my opinion) the little coon SOB found the catfood bin on the porch and ate so much that he could barely run away when I went out there at 3:30. Maybe I have been taking the wrong approach to preds. I have been wanting to KILL them, maybe I should just start feeding them so they don't want a chicken dinner?

    On a side note, the possum on our porch and the coon are both juvenile animals. Is this because they are still too unsavvy to find a "real" meal, or do we just have breeding varmints producing a lot of offspring?

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