New to free ranging, raccoons during daytime.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lutherpug, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    305
    35
    111
    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    Just a quick story-

    I've had chickens for a year with minimal problems. We built our coop like Fort Knox. It is similar in design to the "Wichita Cabin Coop" with the attached run. I've never worried about a breach into the coop despite the fact that we back up to a wooded area that extends at least a mile to our north. We know it is full of raccoons, foxes, possums, deer, etc.

    We've never let our chickens free range as our yard wasn't fenced and we share a common-ish backyard area with 4-5 neighbors who all have big dogs who occasionally get loose.

    Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we *finally* put up a 6 foot privacy fence so the chickens can spend some time in the yard and we could plant a vegetable garden. Long overdue. A few hours of supervised free ranging had slowly progressed to several hours of unsupervised free ranging with a window open to listen for problems. Always during daylight, they were always back in the coop well before dusk.

    Today (Sunday afternoon) I ran an errand while my husband was home working on a project. Chickens out. Window open. I had been gone about an hour when he felt an urge to go check on the chickens. He goes outside and several neighbors are congregated at our fence line and there is some commotion. I got home about this time. Long story short, the neighbors dogs had gotten out and raised hell over 2 raccoons who were checking out our chickens from a tree on the other side of the fence line.

    Chickens got put up. One coon escaped, the other was dispatched via my neighbor and an air rifle (middle of the city, our 10/22 is too much).

    Lessons learned: They may be "most" active at night but it isn't exclusive. Unsupervised free range is no longer an option. Also, our neighbors are awesome :)

    I guess my point is-don't be complacent. We're in a very, very difficult area in terms of predators but we're also within city limits. I was surprised it only took a matter of weeks for the raccoons to figure it out. I'm sure the survivor will be back tonight with all of it's buddies!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,306
    3,098
    436
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Glad you have such good neighbors! You can live trap and shoot the current visitor(s), and continue to supervise your birds. Usually (not always!) chickens can escape raccoons during the day, but certainly not at night. Mary
     
  3. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    305
    35
    111
    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    Good point, thank you. We're also exploring hot wire on the top of our fence on the north side as it doesn't face neighbors and would be difficult for the neighborhood kiddos to accessl. Along those same lines, putting some electric poultry netting in the backyard and electrifying it.

    The chickens have gotten soooo spoiled free ranging that I hate to take it away completely but at the same time, we want to keep them safe. I cannot imagine anything preventable happening to my dear Mabel (the Dominique). She is my favorite!
     
  4. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

    626
    635
    186
    May 23, 2016
    when I was a kid I lost a flock to foxes, they became ever more bold till one day i went out and they literally chased a chicken right in front of me and ran across my feet, in broad daylight. on occasion we would see coons in the day, without distemper. when I made a coop now that I have kids, I made it wall to wall hardware cloth. now that it's getting sunny, two years into it, we are finally letting them out. it's amazing how easy it is to get lulled into pushing the envelope. I love having the hens running around in the yard but I must keep getting reminded that someone always needs to be around when they are out and that it can really only be for short periods.
     
  5. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    305
    35
    111
    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    Oh my gosh, yes. I'm surprised that we got so complacent so quickly. Especially after taking SO much precaution when building the coop.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,943
    4,200
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    If your fence is 6' high, your neighbor kids shouldn't be able to reach it - unless, of course, they're older. Then they should know better anyway. I'm a firm believer in natural consequences. Believe me, they'll only touch it once!
     
  7. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    305
    35
    111
    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    I agree with you 100%, I just don't want to have any uncomfortable conversations with any parents. We're on a cul de sac in the city-would definitely have the only electrified fence in a 10 mile radius :)

    That said, I'm absolutely considering doing it, at least on the side that faces the woods as this would be the most obvious point of entry.
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,943
    4,200
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    You could notify parents before putting it up. Or send a note to each of them. "Dear Parents, I just wanted to let you know that we will be running an electric fence around the top of our privacy fence to keep raccoons, possums and other potential climbing predators out of our yard. Please tell your kids about this and educate them on electric fences. It's not going to do them permanent damage if they touch it, but it WILL hurt for a brief second. We like your kids and don't want them to get hurt." Really, a little jolt from an electric fence isn't going to damage the children. Maybe help teach them to respect others' property...

    Raccoons are smart enough to figure out that if one side of the fence hurts to go in, try another side.
     
  9. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    305
    35
    111
    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    I think I'm just going to run electric poultry netting inside of my yard and go that route. For a bunch of reasons I won't bore you with, I think wiring the top of the fence is going to create more headaches than it is worth. Our neighborhood dynamic is complicated. In a different situation I would take your advice in a heartbeat but I think we're better off not making it an issue. This isn't our forever house, we're only here for another 2-3 years and then we will have much more flexibility.

    Thanks for the advice, though!
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,943
    4,200
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    That sounds like a good option. Keeping peace with the neighbors is a good thing. Especially since they alerted you to the raccoons in the first place.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by