Orphan raccoon, anyone else raise one with chickens?

Phoenixxx

Songster
8 Years
Aug 8, 2012
725
221
212
Boutilier's Point, Nova Scotia
About a month ago, one of my dogs barked her "something is here that doesn't belong" bark one afternoon. My neighbour had texted me that very morning about an infant coon he saw that appeared abandoned and starving. Sure enough, I went to investigate, and at first spotted only my Chanteclers and other large dual-purpose birds amongst the trees... But then I noticed a grey fuzz-ball in their midst that did not look like a chicken! It was an infant raccoon, starving and near death - the chickens must not have killed it because they understood that it was not a threat (the coon was LITERALLY in their midst! And my birds will attack a mink!)

Anyway, I took in the tiny infant, nursed her back to health, and now she's basically in toddler stage, with the majority of her baby teeth fully emerged. She enjoys spending time with the chickens, and tries to play with them when she's in play mode, but otherwise just leaves them alone - kind of like a puppy. Her chosen afternoon napping spot is the top storage shelf in the minibarn, a large building with four separate chicken pens.

Has anyone here taken in an orphaned raccoon, or similar chicken predator and trained/raised it to leave the chickens alone? Google, as always, has been useless at finding results.
 

Phoenixxx

Songster
8 Years
Aug 8, 2012
725
221
212
Boutilier's Point, Nova Scotia
Interesting to note: the dogs know what she is, and two of the three keep their distance, but observe with interest and discipline whenever she approaches within a certain distance: I'm guessing they know her mother (and have warded her off) but because I brought the baby into our home, they have relegated themselves to not killing her and simply tolerating her. Our eldest Kuvasz, though, has been a mother at heart from day one, and she views the coon as just another baby, albeit with some reservations 😜
 

Phoenixxx

Songster
8 Years
Aug 8, 2012
725
221
212
Boutilier's Point, Nova Scotia
@neo71665 What say ye?

You might want to check your laws to see if it's even legal to keep.
Not allowed. But, it's wildlife rehab which is allowed. As much as we'd like to keep her as a pet, that is simply not practical. The issue is that she was a solo rescue, so she only knows me as her mom, and will be familiar with both humans and dogs when it's time for her to go wild... But I have a plan for that: an informational leaflet to any neighbours in the vicinity, and dying her ear tips with henna so she can be distinguished from the truly wild population.
 

neo71665

Crowing
Mar 22, 2020
2,814
6,803
376
Arkansas
I have 2 full grown girls. These are I think number 10 or 12 of the coons I've had as pets since I was a kid. I grew up with them and have always had one.

For starters I would not and do not trust either of mine around my chickens. I bottle fed mine since before their eyes were open. They were also raised with chickens. These are not like normal domesticated pets. You might be able to make a dog or cat suppress the want. To a coon it's more than just a want. It might be young now and don't know better but mother nature will come out sooner or later.

If you are allowed to keep it as a pet find a vet and get her fixed right now and I mean this week if she is a teen. I don't care how hands on you are and how big of a baby it is right now when she comes in heat the hormones kick in and she will attack you. I've personally have had it happen and have seen it happen many times. There is just no way around it. Wait till after she comes in heat the first time it's too late. She might calm down a bit but she will never be like she was. Get her fixed ASAP.

Last I can not stress enough how much a coon is not a cat or dog. Even when tamed and fixed they still have a wild streak. They also hold a grudge so if you try to tell them no and they don't like it they will lash out. They are not and will never be a house pet. They are as smart as at least a 3 year child and will destroy your house faster than a unsupervised teenage house party with booze involved. Mine are house trained and I will bring them in but they have a 10x10x6 foot 100% chain link enclosure, yes even the roof and floor. You think keeping coons out of a chicken coop is bad you are about to find out the nightmare of keeping coons in a pen. Having a coon pen will bring coons to your property. My girls are 2 acres away from my chicken coop. I have to keep traps out year round to catch wild ones.

As for raising her to be dependent on you and then turning her loose, it will not end well. What you have done is not wildlife rehab by any means. You have removed her fear of humans and in turn I'm sorry she will be shot by somebody as soon as she shows up looking for a handout. I have my rehab permits and had to do the training for it. Completely different raising something to be turned back to the wild and what you are doing.
 

Phoenixxx

Songster
8 Years
Aug 8, 2012
725
221
212
Boutilier's Point, Nova Scotia
I have 2 full grown girls. These are I think number 10 or 12 of the coons I've had as pets since I was a kid. I grew up with them and have always had one.

For starters I would not and do not trust either of mine around my chickens. I bottle fed mine since before their eyes were open. They were also raised with chickens. These are not like normal domesticated pets. You might be able to make a dog or cat suppress the want. To a coon it's more than just a want. It might be young now and don't know better but mother nature will come out sooner or later.

If you are allowed to keep it as a pet find a vet and get her fixed right now and I mean this week if she is a teen. I don't care how hands on you are and how big of a baby it is right now when she comes in heat the hormones kick in and she will attack you. I've personally have had it happen and have seen it happen many times. There is just no way around it. Wait till after she comes in heat the first time it's too late. She might calm down a bit but she will never be like she was. Get her fixed ASAP.

Last I can not stress enough how much a coon is not a cat or dog. Even when tamed and fixed they still have a wild streak. They also hold a grudge so if you try to tell them no and they don't like it they will lash out. They are not and will never be a house pet. They are as smart as at least a 3 year child and will destroy your house faster than a unsupervised teenage house party with booze involved. Mine are house trained and I will bring them in but they have a 10x10x6 foot 100% chain link enclosure, yes even the roof and floor. You think keeping coons out of a chicken coop is bad you are about to find out the nightmare of keeping coons in a pen. Having a coon pen will bring coons to your property. My girls are 2 acres away from my chicken coop. I have to keep traps out year round to catch wild ones.

As for raising her to be dependent on you and then turning her loose, it will not end well. What you have done is not wildlife rehab by any means. You have removed her fear of humans and in turn I'm sorry she will be shot by somebody as soon as she shows up looking for a handout. I have my rehab permits and had to do the training for it. Completely different raising something to be turned back to the wild and what you are doing.
Thank you, I very much appreciate your reply! I am following a notable wildlife rehab guide, but because the coon we have was solo, the protocol is different. Like, mom is not supposed to engage in play, because mom is too busy finding food... Yet, youngsters need to engage in play, because play provides the necessary skills for hunting and self-defense in the future.

So, because this little lady was a solo rescue (no other kits, which my neighbour confirmed), I have to play the role of not only mother, but sibling as well.

She enjoys spending time with the chickens, and I allow her to run free with them most afternoons. She's generally mellow, but when her play drive kicks in, she'll try to chase one, just like the dogs, but never catches or hurts anyone. Her favourite place not nap in the afternoon is in the minibarn, and no ruffled feathers there ;)
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom