Discouraged by sudden predator problems. :(


Bantam Fanatic
10 Years
Dec 15, 2009
Penn Valley, CA
Note: Mostly just venting... Suggestions appreciated but I mostly know what to do, I'm just frustrated and have to share with people who will understand!

As some background, I've been keeping chickens for fourteen years. During that time, I've been fairly lucky with predators. Sure, back when my birds were free-ranging there were losses here and there, but since I started keeping them in their coop about twelve years ago, I've hardly had a single predator problem. Well, other than a skunk that got in and started eating eggs, but he was easy enough to discourage and he didn't lay a claw or tooth on the birds themselves. I keep my poultry as pets and get more eggs than I could ever eat anyway, so a skunk munching on an egg or two is no big deal.

I lost one of my large ducks a few weeks ago to a predator while he was free-ranging for a few hours. Then, last Friday I was shocked to find one of my call drakes and three of my beloved seramas killed in their run. It was obviously a raccoon--the bodies of the birds were in the water. I was just devastated. It was my fault, as I had left an area that an animal could climb over, but I had become complacent from years and years of no predators. Now four of my five coturnix are missing, with something obviously having burrowed under the pen. With only one coturnix remaining, I likely will now get out of keeping coturnix altogether... I just don't have good enough reasons to keep them any longer, and it's just more birds to have to worry about. Hopefully I can find the last one a good home.

I'm just heartbroken about the birds I lost, and feeling so scared that I will find more bodies. This raccoon has the system figured out, and it really scares me. I think I'm going to live trap the raccoon and move him far away (please don't try to talk me into killing it, that goes against my morals). I'm going to fortify the coops so they're much more secure. It's just frustrating and upsetting having to deal with a predator after so many years of being able to relax and not have to worry. I am so upset I lost the birds I did, they were so special to me and every time I think of the fact that they're gone it hurts.
Now I can't help but worry about the remaining birds, even if I am careful and secure.
How sad to lose birds.

You know you've been lucky for years. Instead of giving up your birds, fortify their pens.

If you trap that raccoon and release it, please do not release it here to kill a dozen of my precious pet ducks before I can get it killed. Maybe the local humane society would allow you to turn it in to them.
I'm not going to give them up by any means! Except the quail, I think I have run my course with keeping them. All of my other birds, I am going to protect as best as I can. The only thing is that I'm sick with a bad cold right now so that's making it hard for me to do what I need to do! But nonetheless I will drag myself out there to make sure all of my critters are secure.

I will release the raccoon far, far out in the middle of nowhere. I am lucky enough to live somewhere where that is an option.
Heres some hugs
I'm really sorry for your loss... I really hope you get your coops secured from that pesky racoon~ I didn't realize how smart they are but they seem to be giving alot of people trouble on here.

I'm sorry. I recently lost 2 silkies to daytime predation because they once again got out of their covered run in an area I knew was vulnerable to them going under...they were never in any danger all these years, and then- they were. It stinks, and the complacency kills us worse, because we know the risks and felt safe anyway.

I hope it's over for you. I hope they don't come back. I will be using all sorts of new tricks to scare away pests, and then perhaps it will be so overwhelming nothing will come around for fear of the evil farm lady!!
Thanks for the hugs and encouragement, everyone. Thankfully, the raccoon has not been back since I've been protecting the coops better. I haven't gotten a trap yet, but I will soon.

Something else smaller is digging into one of my coops, but it only eats the eggs and doesn't hurt the chickens, so that little predator is not so much of a problem to me. I'd still like to trap it because it's annoying that it keeps digging in (and could make way for a larger predator), but as long as my birds are all right that's what I really care about.
something to think about when relocating a raccoon.

Unfortunately for the animal, relocation has a number of bad side effects.

1. Relocated animals must find new food sources in an unfamiliar environment.

2. Relocated animals must find new shelter in an unfamiliar environment. In the winter time, relocated wildlife have precious little time to find shelter.

3. Relocated animals must do number 1 and 2 above while avoiding predators. It must also do those tasks before weather, food and water conditions take their toll.

4. Your relocation may result in the deaths of young through starvation that have now lost their mother from your relocating her away from her young.

5. Relocating animals raises the risk of relocating a disease like rabies to new and uninfected locales. Like what happened with the Mid Atlantic Rabies Outbreak.

6. It may also be illegal in your state. Presently, Massachusetts, Connecticut and possibly others have some sort of ban on the translocation of wildlife.

Often, relocating an animal is more cruel than just killing it yourself
I do wildlife rehab, so I'm well-versed in wildlife biology and understand the issues with relocating. That said, I'm going to do some talking with my fellow rehabbers and whatnot and see what options are out there. If it truly is the best option, I'll have the animal put down, but I'm going to look at a number of options before reaching that conclusion.

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