How strong are raccoons?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by logefarm, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. logefarm

    logefarm Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2015
    Hi all,

    We're building a new coop, and I'm considering using rare earth magnets for door closures. They range in strength- options include 10 lbs, 16 lbs, 40 lbs, 70 lbs and > 100 lbs of pull strength.
    There will only be one door that is close to the ground, otherwise the coop doors and run door handles are elevated about 3-4 feet off the ground.
    There will be a backup system with a piece of wood that turns to physically block the doors from opening.

    So how strong do you think raccoons are??? I'm very curious to know. A google search revealed one raccoon that dragged a 40 lb bag of dog food across a yard...

  2. Old Philosopher

    Old Philosopher Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2016
    Rocky Mountain Trench
    All I can do is give you an anecdotal answer to that.
    My friend and neighbor lost 14 chickens to a skunk. Realizing a skunk is not what you're asking about, the relative size between skunk and raccoon might give us an idea.

    In the beginning, the damage caused by this skunk included breaking the welds on 2"x4" mesh field fencing to reach the pullets in a rearing cage. My friend's duck is kept in a chain link, free-standing old dog kennel/run. The skunk bent one of the clips used to hold the fencing to the metal frame, and was able to pull and bend the corner of the panel out about 4". Not enough to gain access, but it was quite a task. Neither she, nor I could bend it back with our bare hands.
    Initially we thought we might be dealing with a black bear. Wolverines are capable, but don't usually come around civilization.
    This skunk was finally caught, and weighed nearly 14 pounds! A freak of nature well fed on my neighbor's chickens.

    My point being, an adult raccoon can out weigh even this skunk by 10 pounds. So I would judge strength accordingly. Dragging a 40 lb bag of dog food a few yard would seem easy enough. Add that to the fact that raccoons are highly intelligent, and have much more manual dexterity than any other 'pest' we might encounter. Also, being 2-3 feet long, standing on their hind legs they've been known to unlatch hook-and-eye fasteners to gain access to sheds.

    You can only do what you can do. If you find a weakness in your security, you'll just have to deal with it as it arises. Can't anticipate every trick.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Skunk probably used mouth to break wire fence welds...I would guess coon bent up corner of chainlink.

    Saw a video of coon lifting a double garage door and slipping under...who knows what the counter weight on that door was tho.

    I wouldn't trust any magnet to hold a door closed against a coon, and turning the back up piece of wood would be child's play to coon.
    I use hasp and loop latches with carbineers, only thing better would be same latch with padlock.

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