new chicks, coup design, raccoons

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by camotruck, May 22, 2010.

  1. camotruck

    camotruck Chirping 8 Years

    May 22, 2010
    NW Ohio
    I have 4 Rhode Island reds, just over 2 weeks old, all hens. Raising them for eggs for the family. I have a good start with them in a brooder, keeping them warm, plenty of fresh water and food. I have a good idea of how I'm going to build my coup and run, and have been looking at many designs online. I'm thinking about 4' by 4' for the coup, 2 nesting boxes, a light for the extreme cold months (NW Ohio) and a perch inside. Then the outside run will be completely caged in about 4' by 10' with 2' high sides and a gable style roof, and maybe a perch in the run area. Eventually I will fence an area outside the run for them to roam when I am outside. I can't let them roam much, I own 3 and a half acres of a 14 acre wood. My main concern is raccoons, I know they are smart, curious, and persistent. This may be a silly question but do racoons ever have any luck finding their way past certain types of latches on coups?

    If any of you could give me any tips on making my coup raccoon proof so I don't have to do adjustments later that would be appreciated.

    Thanks, and I'm looking forward to learning alot about raising chickens from this forum.
  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Better safe than sorry! I use spring operated clips on the latches, two for each door. There are pictures on my BYC page. At night, I also add a small keyed padlock (I'm obsessive).

    p.s. Welcome to the forum!
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  3. camotruck

    camotruck Chirping 8 Years

    May 22, 2010
    NW Ohio
    great idea on the spring loaded clips, I wouldn't have thought of that. I just kept thinking a hook and eye setup is too easy for a raccoon to "accidentally" pop it open. Thanks.
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Consider that if a toddler can open it, a raccoon can also open it. A hook and eye will not keep them out. They are smart and have all night long to work on their task.

    I use hasps with small luggage locks on both my pop door and human door. The locks are keyed the same. They came in a 4 pack at Target for $5. A small price to pay for piece of mind.
  5. Prospector

    Prospector Songster

    We used butterfly nuts on hanger bolts, with fender washers behind the butterfly nuts.
  6. farmerKEN

    farmerKEN In the Brooder

    May 26, 2009
    Western Mass
    I use hooks like these:
    don't think I spent $5 for them though. I think I got mine at home depot

    and not really about locks but...
    before you build, make it bigger. with the waterer and feeder and nest boxes that 4x4 area gets cramped fast.
  7. ColoradoMike

    ColoradoMike Songster

    Jun 12, 2009
    Northern Colorado
    Welcome to BYC!

    The size your describing sounds a lot like mine - and I've been keeping 3 hens in it for a year. Guess what I'm doing within the next month? EXPANDING! [​IMG] hehe - that's right, we're getting one more hen, which will bring us to our desired number, 4 layers. I found that the 10 sq ft per bird run size is too small, and so I'm about doubling our run. When I'm finished we'll have around 90 square feet for 4 birds. I'm leaving the coop as-is, 16 sq ft floor space, which included 2 next boxes.

    Regarding raccoon security, we also use hasps and carbiner-type clips which are spring loaded. I've read here that some have had raccoons figure them out, but we have much more of a fox problem than a coon one... Be sure and bury fencing around your run, or use an apron. We had a nighttime digger within a week or so of having the hens on the coop...

    Good luck!

    P.S. I grew up in Toledo [​IMG]
  8. camotruck

    camotruck Chirping 8 Years

    May 22, 2010
    NW Ohio
    Thanks for all the tips everyone. ColoradoMike, I've heard burying the fence around the run. I've also thought about just wrapping the whole run; roof, down the sides, and across the bottom. I KNOW I'm gonna have predator problems with the woods in my backyard. I'm still thinking on a design, should start sawing and hammering this weekend.

    ColoradoMike, I'm about 10 mins from Toledo, Genoa area.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: