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Opossums and foxes and raccoons...oh my!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by asher, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    DS hollered to me that he thought he saw a raccoon on the coop. A short while later, he said he thought maybe it was just our cat.

    Then he screams "It's a fox!" I opened the window to holler at it and it ran away fast.

    And it was. [​IMG] And an opossum checking out the coop at another corner! Holy heck!

    Still not sure if he actually saw a racoon or not.

    As far as coops go, ours is pretty secure except for a little rat hole here and there in the floor. Would a fox be able to get up through that? We'll secure it even more tomorrow, but I can't fix that tonight, regardless.

    We do not own guns and will not so please do not suggest that. Making the coop as secure as possible is the only option that I can figure.

    Thanks! (We live in Western NC, if it matters and it's COLD today. I was told that and the yucky weather we've had this week is why the animals are coming out for food where they normally may not.)
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Set traps for the beasties, then you can drown them in a deep enough pond, lake, river, or stream.

    Make certain however that all trapping is done in accordance with the laws.

    If you trap them for heavens sake do not relocate them, that is just likely creating your problem elsewhere and may be against the law where you are.

    As for making a secure haven for your chickens, you'll discover it must be done from a point of depth and even then one mess up on your part or a failure in your equipment will result in your chickens being in danger.

    Those beasties are doing exactly what is required to survive. They don't really give a rats hind end about your desires.

    Welded wire fence with 3 feet of 1/2 by 1/2 inch hardware cloth that encircles your coop, over the top of the run you can place 1 by 1 inch netting at the same height as the top of your welded wire fence. Yes that means that your welded wire fence must be higher than your coop unless you use the coop as part of your fence, in which case you can run a 4 foot welded wire fence (remember you might want to get into the run so plan accordingly).

    You need to have hardware cloth or other metal guard that extends outward from the bottom of your fence for at least 2 feet.

    Then 3 or 4 strands of electric fence wire around the fence starting at 6 inches and evenly spaced to the top of the fence, and a fence charger.

    Your coop needs to be rat proof and all ventilation must be protected by hardware cloth of no larger than 1/2 in mesh.

    The hardware cloth will prevent raccoons from reaching into the run and coop and pulling your chickens through the fencing or from digging under the fence. The electric fence wire will keep foxes etc, from trying to dig close to the fence or climb over the fence (this also works for dogs and stupid people). The top netting is to keep the hawks and other flying baddies out of the run.

    Even with all of that if you leave a gate or door open, allow your chickens to "free range", forget to put them into the coop at night, or loose electricity you run the risk of losing your birds.

    Nothing is certain in this endeavor.
  3. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    Our coop is solid wood so no problems there.

    Our run is completely enclosed in hardware cloth except for the top which is covered in a bigger metal wire (not chicken wire).

    We close them up at night every night so my main concern is being sure that nothing can enter the coop.

    Thanks! :)
  4. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:Well can the run be entered by a rat digging under the fencing? If so a raccoon, rat, bagger, or other critter can gain access to the run and your chickens. That is the reason for the guard band of hardware cloth outside just on the ground (You need to have hardware cloth or other metal guard that extends outward from the bottom of your fence for at least 2 feet.).

    You need to remember that attacks do not just occur at night and they also don't always come from wild threats.
  5. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    Yes, we do have hardware cloth extending out beyond the run.

    The coop is completely closed up at night so even if something gets in the run, it should not be able to get in to the coop UNLESS it gets under the coop and could crawl in to a tiny rat hole. We will be taking care of those tomorrow.

    The opossum keeps coming back, but I think it may be trying to get in to the run to get the food that we gave them today. No proof on that, though.

    The fox hasn't come back, yet, that I can see, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't and/or that it won't.
  6. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    The opossum is looking for its next meal, and given its druthers it will be a chicken, not what you are feeding the chickens.
  7. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    You can try leaving the critters a treat of canned corn soaked in antifreeze. That will work for skunks and opossums, and maybe coons. Marshmallows soaked in antifreeze will work for coons. Has to be antifreeze with ethylene glycol to be effective. Since you have no firearms or traps, this is one way to get them before they get you. Can't be done if your dog is out overnight tho. [​IMG]
  8. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I a opossum or a coon can get his front feet in to your chickens they will kill them trying to pull them out, set live traps, or use the antifreeze or even leg traps if you dont have cats or dogs
  9. GaNewChick

    GaNewChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    McDonough, Ga.
    There was a thread that was recently closed ~ where is was stated that it was inhumane to shoot a predator to wound rather than kill, allowing it to die a slow death. And death by antifreeze/drowning/leg traps is any better? [​IMG]

    Before you say ~ I'm trying to start trouble...I'm not. I just think the message sent here in P&P is really confusing on what is acceptable and what isn't.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  10. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Just remember that foxes are opportunistic and hunt at all times of the day and night. Do not be fooled into thinking that you only need to be concerned about how secure your coop and run are at night. If you don't have a dog, get one. They are the best defense when it comes to foxes. We had foxes take more than 40 of our pullets in a weekend a few years ago. We were gone and some neighbors were taking care of the girls for us. The only time that the foxes could have gotten to our girls was during the day. Since we have had a dog we have not have issues with the foxes coming into the barnyard.

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