Need advice creating a secure coop - particularly from raccoons

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dehartma, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. dehartma

    dehartma In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2018
    Hi!

    Our chickens last year fell victim to raccoons, not for lack of trying on our part. Of all the things that can get chickens, raccoons are the worst because they are so smart and so determined.

    Our setup is pretty basic, we have the following coop:
    http://www.upcitemdb.com/upc/27077079418
    And then where the run door comes down we have a large dog kennel put together to act as their yard. We've had to make all kinds of adjustments - we had to screw shut the egg door because the raccoons figured out how to open it. We started locking both the coop door and the gate to the kennel at night. The windows are always closed at night, particularly the one that faces out. There are two chicken wire "vents" up under the roof that we are going to have to reinforce with welded wire after a raccoon chewed through one (long story).

    The yard itself has a tarp roof over the top. We put welded wire around the sides for extra reinforcement, and we put it on the ground as well, hoping that it would prevent the raccoons from digging under. Nope - they dug under and pried the wire apart to get in.

    So, we're planning on pouring a concrete pad under the whole coop, and then maybe putting dirt on top of that for the comfort of the birds. That way at least the darn creatures can't dig under.

    Any other tips for keeping them safe? I'd really rather deal with any other predator. I hate raccoons.
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  2. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    I would consider a more permanent roof over the run. They are such good climbers, I don't think a tarp would stop them going in the top.
     
  3. Kkinney27

    Kkinney27 In the Brooder

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    following this- we are needing to build our coop against racoons, hawks, coyotes- we have a 4ft chain link fence around the yard but most can climb that. Also we have lots of moles in our yard but what i have read the chickens actually catch the moles? is that correct.
     
    penny1960 and Cryss like this.
  4. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    Soooo I had heard this as well and my chickens do NOT catch the moles/voles. I was a bit disappointed because I do not want them in my garden. My cat does catch one most times I send him out for a few hours. Unfortunately 4ft chain link will likely keep your chickens in, but not keep much out :(
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  5. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    penny1960 likes this.
  6. Wickedchicken6

    Wickedchicken6 No Rest for the Wicked

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    I am in complete agreement with Pirate Girl. The tarp will not stop raccoons. They'll shred that and get in. Especially if they have previously had success.

    I also question the security of the bottom of the walk-in door. If they can get into the run and access to that door...if they can get their fingers up under the door, they can possibly break that open.

    We have a shop that has two wooden doors that fit tightly. The raccoons broke the one door and got the chicks I had quarantined at the time. I trapped the entire family of raccoons that were the culprits.

    We just had minks (it appears) do this to the other door. We're replacing both doors with metal doors. Raccoons would've been right through this. I've trapped the minks that did this and we have it braced until it's replaced.

    20180219_074756.jpg
     
  7. dehartma

    dehartma In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2018
    The permanent roof is a good suggestion. The tarp is pretty well secured down but I wouldn't put it past them! I'll add that to my list of to-dos, I'm sure my dad could build a roof no problem.
     
    penny1960 and Wickedchicken6 like this.
  8. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

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    Is your dog run the 10x10 chain link fencing kind? I have that. My coop is completely inside the run. I wrapped the run fence in strips of 4' half inch hardware cloth so raccoons can't reach through the wire. I used 1x2 inch welded wired to cover the top but will probably change to more hardware cloth. Baby raccoons and smaller predators can get through the 1x2. Locks with caribiners work best. My nest door has a middle lock that I added a caribiner to but I also added a slide bolt on both ends so a raccoon can't pry up a corner. I have predator proofed both the run and the coop itself which is totally inside the run. This way if they manage to get into the run they still need to get past the coop defenses.
     
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  9. dehartma

    dehartma In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2018
    Oh, wonderful. The door is really thick, solid wood so I don't think they could shred their way through it, I'd just be worried about them opening it like they did the egg door (that we had to permanently close off). Maybe there's a way we can fashion it to lock at night?

    Ideally I'll be able to keep them out of the run entirely so they won't be able to even access that door, because we lost most of our chickens during the daytime last summer when the raccoons broke in.
     
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  10. dehartma

    dehartma In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2018
    Good idea. The run isn't chain link, it looks like this:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lucky-Do...75035&wl11=online&wl12=36442142&wl13=&veh=sem

    But is much larger since we bought panels and custom sized it. Then we have the welded wire around the bottom because at the time we had some smaller birds that we were afraid would get through.
     
    Cryss likes this.

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