Raccoon and Rats question

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by krissteff, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. krissteff

    krissteff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2011
    Tennessee
    Last night when going out to check to see if my broody got off the nest yet, I discovered some of my girls were roosting in their run. Odd, but I decided to just leave them. The ones who were in the coop (which is inside a shed) decided to get up for the day and head out to the run as well. It was around 2:00 a.m.

    About 2:30, I peeked out to see if they were still in the run (yup), and caught sight of a raccoon (!!!!!) in my backyard, sniffing around my patio and making his way over to the run! I was horrified. When I scared it away, I think it ran behind the shed and scared the neighbor's dog because there was a LOT of racket that ensued.

    I went to bed with the windows open to alert me to anything that might endanger my chickens. Everything was fine this morning, but I'll be doubling up the security of everything around the run.

    OKAY... That brings me to a general opinion QUESTION: The rats that had become fairly friendly visitors in the run have disappeared. They aren't eating the chicken poop and the flies are starting to get thick, and I haven't seen the telltale digging in the normal "rat" locations. I thought maybe since the weather was a bit cooler that they had just found somewhere else to go.

    But now I'm not so sure.

    Do raccoons eat rats? Can they catch a rat? Last night was the first I'd seen of the raccoon. It's also the first I've noticed some of the girls roosting at night in the run. Maybe because the chickens are roosting outside, it's keeping the rats away? It's a mystery. I don't know if it's safe to assume the raccoon just discovered our yard last night at the very moment I happened to be peeking outside. Has he been lurking for some time now? Has he eaten the rats and now he's working on bigger and better things like my chickens?

    I don't *THINK* it could access the run, but when I read the threads on BYC, I always wonder if I'm missing something. There are very heavy and large field stones that line the bottom of the coop, but the rats found the tiniest spot between the run and the shed. Can the coon push a small air-conditioner out of the shed and climb in? The door doesn't secure with a lock, but it has a pretty tight seal when pulling it closed. It takes quite a bit to get it open. Can he push hard enough to open it? That's something I'm going to fix tonight. There will be a latch with a carabiner affixed today.

    I know the only assumption is that the raccoon is going to keep coming back and keep trying to get in. Do they ever give up? Is there a way to deter them? Is a trap my only option? Because I saw a picture on BYC somewhere of a raccoon flipping the trap upside down and taking the bait.

    It's worrisome. This is the first coon encounter I've had in the city, and knowing he's after my chickens makes me worry that he won't stop until he gets them. If I weren't afraid of the brown recluses in the shed, I think I would have slept out there last night.
    [​IMG]
    My protective instinct is strong right now. They are my babies!
     
  2. mrpekinduck

    mrpekinduck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ducky Land!
    Raccoons will eat rats but you definately should have a latch and try to find some way to fasten the air conditioner to the shed. Also make sure that the raccoon cant reach through the wires and get your babies or climb over the fence. Because they have opposable thumbs they will reach in and pull pieces off of chickens basically eating them alive. Hope your babies are safe! [​IMG]

    Brian
     
  3. krissteff

    krissteff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2011
    Tennessee
    Thank you for your reply!

    I'm going to reinforce the run by adding some extra bolts. It's pretty secure as it is, and it has a roof on it that was added with this exact scenario in mind. I just want to double up a few things for peace of mind.

    The shed I'm worried most about. I have a very predator proof coop I am still working on and won't be finished until Monday if I really get moving on it, but their temporary coop inside the shed right now uses chicken wire and not hardware cloth. I'm also concerned about the area where the roof hangs over the shed walls. I need to make sure it can't get in from there if it climbed the outside.

    The door and air-conditioner are my main concern. Those would be the easiest for a predator, i think. Not sure how I'm going to secure the air conditioner. I may just remove it until we need it again in the summer and board up the hole with wood.

    The whole thing is giving me a tummy ache. I have this urge to just start wrapping hardware cloth around the entire structure. Just keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping....
     
  4. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2011
    Connecticut
    I hear ya on the tummy ache... we had our first racoon siting the other day, big guy. came right up to the fence line of the coop at 5:30pm. Luckily I was in the run at the time and think I scared him off... for now. we have welded wire burried a foot under ground with hardware cloth about 2 feet up. The run has a welded wire roof as well. If the girls got to close to the sides though, the coon could definetly grab on and seriously injur or kill one of them. I try not to think too much about it as the coop part is very secure and we lock it up tight at night, but this coon was out at 5:30... wierd.

    Good luck with everything! keep those babies safe and definetly use a caribeener on that door, those coons are smart.
     
  5. chicncait

    chicncait Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG] i think ratcoons eat rats but i'am not sure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  6. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Do they ever give up? Is there a way to deter them?

    Feeding raccoons hot flyin' lead will deter it very well!
     
  7. KandiandJerry

    KandiandJerry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:That is the only way that we have found...LOL
     
  8. Meara

    Meara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 23, 2011
    Midwest
    Yeah, raccoons will eat rats. If you have a lot of rodents around they will attract any number of predators ( snakes, owls, foxes, etc.).
     
  9. B J Hopkins

    B J Hopkins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Missouri
    If you want to use a live trap to catch the coon: Sardines in oil is great bait! Wire it to the inside of the cage an just barely open the can. That way the coon Has to go in to peel the lid off. One night I caught Mother & cub in the same trap.
     
  10. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast Texas
    On the carabiner latch, I remember reading a post where a raccoon used it's fingers to unscrew the carabiner clip and massacred the flock. They have all night every night. Just sayin'.............. A friend used to have a pet coon and she would let him out in the barn and he hunted and killed the rats. But I sure wouldn't want a coon hanging around my coop, rats or no rats.
     

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