Did a raccoon do this?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kclaus, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. kclaus

    kclaus Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2012
    My chickens are free ranging in the woods and yard when we are home and we close up the coop when they head in to roost. When we're at work during the day, they're locked up in the coop and enclosed run.

    Sunday night, went out at dusk to close up the coop, as I do every night. Found one of our RIR's very recently deceased. It was 30 degrees out and the body was still very warm. I figure my coming out the front door 100 feet away scared off whatever it was. Following the trail of feathers, it looks like something dragged it off the low roost (about 24" off the ground), and took it out the front door, but back into the other half of my shed (the coop is half of a converted shed - the other half is storage for tools, etc.) No sign of injury other than some guts appeared to be eaten and the abdomen open. Pretty gruesome. Feathers everywhere around the dead chicken.

    From my reading on here, that sounds most like a possum, but somehow I doubt the possum's ability to drag the chicken around as it apparently did. There are several obstacles between the roost and the dead bird's final resting place.

    I went out and bought a large Havahart and baited it with peanut butter because I read that's what the possums liked (didn't have any canteloupe). Didn't catch anything Monday night, but last night we caught a raccoon who is pretty annoyed right now, after apparently spending the whole day in the trap. It managed to somehow rip off the exterior carrying handle of the trap from the inside. Pretty impressive.

    Do I have the culprit in custody? What do you think?

    The damage doesn't sound like raccoon, based on the descriptions I've read. Should I give the raccoon the benefit of the doubt?

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    It sounds like the work of a raccoon. You may have the culprit in custody. Problem is, maybe it's just one of his relatives. Keep baiting the trap!!
  3. redneck farmer

    redneck farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ya it's a raccoon a opossum can't drag a chicken around but a raccoon could.. An as for the injuries that coon just ripped that poor chicken open with its hands
  4. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Sorry about the loss of your hen.

    I think it's pretty safe to say that if you have a raccoon near your chicken coop, pretty soon it will be in your chicken coop unless the place is thoroughly predator proofed. Clearly, something was in your coop, something that made the rounds before you did.

    Since you didn't catch him with the bird clutched in his clever little hands, you probably can't ever be sure if this particular coon is responsible for the death of your bird. But if you let him go, I'm betting he won't ever let himself get trapped again.[​IMG]
  5. rrgrassi

    rrgrassi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2010
    Royse City
    Anything that gets caught in the trap I am using, gets shot. I have killed 4 coons in as many days, last year. Got a fair share of possums and one skunk.
  6. kclaus

    kclaus Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2012
    Well, for lack of time and lack of gun, I released the SOB about 10 miles away on my way to work. Hopefully he/she doesn't make it back.

    Spotted 2 more raccoons wandering through the yard last night. So I guess I have more work to do. They didn't show any particular interest in the chicken coop, but they did harass my inmate raccoon. Will rebait tonight, but going to have to figure out a better way to dispatch the suckers. I've read about car exhaust and drowning, which seem to be my only option since the wife has vetoed a 22. Neither sounds like a great method.

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