HELP! Raccoon attacked my Chickens!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by trailertreasure, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. trailertreasure

    trailertreasure Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    Tulsa , Oklahoma
    A few days ago my husband woke to the sound of chicken screams and went outside to investigate. He didn't see anything unusual, except that one chicken was out of the coop. He assumed all the commotion was the other hens trying to call her back to the coop. So he put her back inside the coop and went back to bed thinking the problem solved.

    The next morning he went out to check on them and discovered our chicken, Mabel, dead by the fence. The other two were still in the coop, and only Matilda seemed to have sustained any minor injuries and scratches, mostly on the head in the back part of her comb.

    He assumed it was a local dog who had squeezed through the fence, since once our own dog had escaped the yard using that same place in the fence where Mabel's body was found.
    When I told the people next door what had happened they offered to keep their own two dogs inside at night, just in case it could have been either of them who had committed the chicken murder. I offered up the theory of a raccoon or even a fox, but my husband thought a dog was much more likely and I had to agree that since there were always several dogs running loose on our little neighborhood, a dog attack was the obvious conclusion.

    Since then, for the last few days, I have kept the two remaining chickens inside a cage and pulled it into the laundry room at night. Last night, both my husband and I forgot to pull their cage inside after taking them out to the back porch for some fresh air in the afternoon.

    He woke up at 4 am to chicken noises (unfortunately I sleep through anything) and went (naked I might add)to the back porch in time to see a huge raccoon trying to drag the entire chicken cage down the porch steps. He had to throw a milk crate at the thing before he would give in and leave.

    This morning around 11 am he woke me up and explained everything that had happened in the night. He also told me that both of them were still alive but one had some injuries to her comb and seemed so traumatized that she wouldn't even walk around anymore, but that she was just sitting there with a dazed look on her face.

    At first I thought he meant the injuries that I had noticed on her comb the other night after the first attack, but when I went to look at her I saw that it was now much much worse, almost her entire comb is missing now.

    When I brought them both fresh water and food I saw to my horror that one of her feet is missing almost all the toes, and the remaining toe is broken in the middle and pointing to the side.

    Matilda (that is her name), is a very brave chicken and protective of her sisters. I imagine she tried to protect her remaining sister in the attack and thanks to her bravery the other chicken seems to be untouched. She is resting on a bag of pine chips and I have placed her water and food right next to her. She is happily drinking and eating with enthusiasm thank goodness.
    As of earlier, she was able to slowly hobble around on her hurt foot enough to get from one place to another.

    I put some anti-bacterial ointment on her comb wounds and some on her hurt toe on her less injured foot. That foot seems to be injured right at the ends of the toes only. So I have high hopes that it can be saved if infection doesn't set in.

    My hope is that I can save her, and that she will one day be able to live a normal chicken life again.

    She has fought twice now to protect her sisters and to retain her place on the planet. I just want to give her every chance possible. She deserves that much.

    I also want to do what's best for her as far as her own pain and suffering. I don't know if the missing toes give her any pain, but I can tell that the broken one is sensitive at best, maybe agonizing at worst.
    In Tulsa, Oklahoma it's a Saturday, and all the vets are closed. I called one emergency vet who said he would call me when he came back in for the afternoon shift, but he said right away that it was very bad that her foot was injured and he didn't hold out much hope although he agreed that we should give it a shot and try to save her despite the grim circumstances.

    Sorry to make this post so darn long, but I am really upset , especially after hearing the grave tone of the vet. I just need to write it all out somewhere and maybe see if anyone has gone through a similar experience.

    I know that as long as that raccoon is out there they won't ever be safe. I know there are live traps, and I know that raccoons carry diseases, but I don't know if I can shoot or otherwise exterminate something that looks like a Disney character come to life. What he has done to my sweet chickens horrifies me, and I should be happy to eliminate him in the name of revenge, but I don't know if I have it in me. I'll deal with things one step at a time and first and foremost is saving Matilda. Any ideas what I should do to help her? any other chickens out there with missing toes living happy lives? Thanks in advance for any helpful advice and thanks for reading this long rambling post. I know people on here understand how a person can love a chicken.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  2. I don't know why nobody has responded to this!!! I'm so sorry that happened!! I came here from your other (newer) post because that's the first one I saw. I'm going to go reply to the other one!!
  3. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I'm so sorry! I just now came in from shooting at a raccoon who took yet another one of my birds. Stupid me forgot to close the pop door, and the one night I do, it came back. Dont think I hit it, but got off a few shots.

    As for your Matilda, I'd be very concerned about infection with the exposed bone. She will need antibiotics, but I'm not sure which ones you will have access to. I would clean up her wounds as best you can, and take her to your vet if possible. So sorry this happened to you!
  4. heatherindeskies

    heatherindeskies Songster

    May 23, 2010
    SE Minnesota
    I'm so sorry this happened to you!
    keep in mind, if you can keep the bad leg cleaned up, even though she will have some pain, she might be OK with that. as long as she can get around some she can still have a decent quality of life. Your vet can help you decide.
    Poor baby!!!!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Raccoons are territorial and will make rounds of their territory, checking out where they got an easy meal before. It will be back so one of your first tasks is to make sure you have a raccoon safe place for the two you have left. You are right. You can deal with the raccoon later. Since Kansaseq said that it had gotten chickens before, I'd guess that the raccoon includes that stop on its nightly rounds and happened to find the pop door open, not that it just happened by on the one night that the door was left open.

    I can't give you any specific advice on how to treat your hen. I appreciate your desire that she not suffer. That is a mature way for you to look at it, but if she is eating and drinking, I think she has a great chance to recover and live a good life, even with the permanent wounds.

    Good luck!
  6. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    So sorry this happened, I would make sure to predator proof your pen/coop area look for any holes, or places where a predator could get in. If you have chicken wire anywhere in you coop/pen take that out and use welded wire or hardware cloth. Call you local fish and wildlife office and see if you can trap and kill the raccoon, or if they will do this for you. Good luck with your hen. I would be worried about infection maybe soak the foot in some warm water with Epsom salts might help good luck and keep us posted.
  7. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Near Asheville, NC
    how are/were your chickens getting in and out of the coop at night? i am unclear on this...ideally, they would be shut up tight so nothing could get in and the couldn't get out.

    i am sorry for your loss...predator proofing is the only way to keep from this happening again. good luck with your bird.
  8. featherbaby

    featherbaby Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL 32210
    I have the same problem about killing the raccoons that I trap. One of them was HUGE and had an attitude to match. When I tried to pick up the trap with him in it, he hissed and lunged at me through the bars. At that point I felt personally threatened and frightened out of my sneakers. I called a friend who is a hunter and asked him to dispatch the demon forthwith. He did, I baked him a carrot cake (his favorite) and delivered it the next day. Don't you just love happy endings?

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