Please learn from our mistake - Raccoon Killed our chicken

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beaconite chicks, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. beaconite chicks

    beaconite chicks Taking a time out

    Jun 6, 2008
    We went to dinner last night and got home slightly after dark. Wife went out to lock up the coop and starts screaming. There was a 50 to 60 lb raccoon in the coop. One Rhode Island Red Dead. We got there just in the nick of time, as he was attacking our leghorn. He will be ok, just a little bloody.

    We live in suburbia and have never seen a raccoon before. We had no idea they would come out so early in the evening. I woke up several time last night and shined my flashlight out in the backyard, and at one point we had 5 raccoons sniffing around the coop. I shot them with my BB gun, but its a very low power one which probably did not hurt them much. We live in a city that prohibits the discharge of firearms, but it would not really matter if I could shoot them, because my neighbors are so close, and a stray bullet could do some harm.

    I am so glad I really took my time to critter proof the coop. Gate hinges with caribiners on all doors. I hope a racoon does not know how to open a caribeaner. Would small locks be a better idea? I also laid down square fencing wire about 2 feet wide going out from the sides of the coop. Is this enough?

    Upon closer inspection of the coop, I also noticed that the racoons have been pulling at the base of chicken wire. Its a little distorted and bent. Is one layer of chicken wire enough to stop a very large racoon from getting into the coop?
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    It's been said numerous times on this forum.... chicken wire is to keep chickens in, but not the predators from getting in. It's better to use hardware cloth. So sorry for your loss....I'm glad you came home when you did. Hard lesson learned. I use the caribean locks, also. I also have a slide lock at the top of my doors so they can't reach.
  3. beaconite chicks

    beaconite chicks Taking a time out

    Jun 6, 2008
    What size of hardware cloth is optimal? Can you get it from Lowes or home depot?
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    1/2" hardware cloth - look for the words 'welded' somewhere on the packaging. You can get it at Lowes.

    I'd also invest in a racoon sized HavaHart trap if you can't shoot the racoons. Bait with some raw chicken or sardines in a can and place the trap alongside your chicken fence where they have been sniffing around and you will catch those critters one by one.

    Depending on if your chickens are 'legal' where you live, you may be able to call your local Animal Control and rent a trap, or even have them come out and set the traps for you. Either way, once you have them trapped, contact Animal Control about the best way to dispatch the trapped raccoons.

    Good luck and I hope you eliminate the raccoon menace soon!
  5. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    It's not necessarily the size of the cloth that's important, since most have a pretty tight mesh. It's mainly the gage (thickness) of the wire. I just picked some up at the Home Depot in my area.
  6. beaconite chicks

    beaconite chicks Taking a time out

    Jun 6, 2008
    By the end of this weekend, that coop is going to be inpenatrable, fort knox style.

    I have so much grief in that it was completely our bad animal handling that led to this chickens death. Now I will do all I can to make sure the others will never have to worry about this again.

    What about an electric fence around the immediate coop area that would be turned on at night? Does anyone have pictures or good ideas on this? Is it worth it?
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    We live in suburbia, too. So sorry to hear about your loss.

    We're going to keep my DBF's paintball gun to shoot raccoons. We're using gate latches with caribeners and will lock up the coop tightly at night & when we're gone. Raccoons are my biggest worry.
  8. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    Believe me, I know from experience. Paintball guns will not deter a raccoon from visiting in the future. I saw havahart traps at Lowes this past weekend for like $50 or so. If you are unable to discharge firearms, trapping the critters is really the only other way.

    Once they've gotten a taste of the menu, they'll be back, unfortunately.
  9. key west chick

    key west chick Songster

    May 31, 2008
    Gainesville, GA
    Coons will definantly come back. I lost several chickens last fall until we figured out it was coons. We were able to shoot 2 and haven't had one since. Don't know what to tell you since you can't shoot yours.
  10. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    Hardwire cloth or dog fencing will work. (Dog fencing is the fencing with the 2"X4" rectangular holes). Raccoons can tear through chicken wire. It is actually pretty common.

    I agree, since you have seen so many raccoons, you need a trap. You can get traps at a local TSC if you have one. Since you cannot shoot the raccoon to kill it, I would trap it and then drowned it or drive it somewhere that you can shoot it without fear of stray bullets.


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