Raccoon chased my hens in middle of day!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by vstoltzfus, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. vstoltzfus

    vstoltzfus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2009
    Lancaster County, PA
    My hens and I had a big scare today. The hens were free-ranging, which I let them do a couple of hours a day under my watchful eye, and a raccoon came out of the garden and chased them right across my patio! I thought they were nocturnal. I chased the raccoon, and we came face-to-face about 6 feet apart. Then he ran away and up a tree. My two boys got rocks and started pelting him, knocking him out of the tree. He took off into a neighbor's backyard. My hens are fine, my boys are proud at protecting their mom's hens, I'm shaken to the bone!
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I'd be very wary about that. Too much rabies around these days and sometimes, coons who are that aggressive in the daytime are rabid. Glad you and your girls weren't hurt!
  3. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Adair Village, OR
    I'd get the shotgun ready in case the boys didn't succeed in putting the fear of man into that coon.
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    I agree with Speckled Hen. It's certainly possible that a young one got his days and nights confused, but one of the signs of a rabid animal is unusual behaviour.

    I wouldn't let the kids help defend the flock in this instance--if they're anything like my boy fear/common sense hasn't quite made it into the thought process yet [​IMG] You might call the county extension office or animal control and see if there has been an increase in rabid coons in your area. They may also be able to set you up with a live trap if you're unable or unwilling to use more a more permenent solution.

    In the meantime make sure all animal food and garbage containers are secure and unaccesable to help discourage it from hanging around in hopes of an easy meal.

    Good Luck!! [​IMG]
  5. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I was worried bout that as well...I lost a hen last year to a daytime coon, and had a coon attempt a few weeks back.

    I called animal control, and apparently, at least here in WA, there havent been any instances of rabies in coons that have been seen in a long time...like decades. I was told that due to human habitation, and whatnot, the coons here are changing the behaivior and searching for food in the daytime as well now, and that they are not necessarily sick. The food resources in the wild have dropped for them, so they are forced to go outside of their normal foraging times. He said that they are getting more and more reports of daytime coons and coyotes due to drought, loss of living areas, and lack of food. We even had a black bear wandering thru Bothell, Snohomish, Seattle, Everett, and Edmonds....looking for food.

    So just cos they come out in daytime might not mean rabies...might just mean they are starving and desperate.
  6. wing it

    wing it Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2009
    long island
    sounds like it might be rabid. they should not be out midday. we had a lot of that here ( ny) lately be carefull
  7. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    omg ! glad your hens are fine! [​IMG]
  8. msjones

    msjones Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2009
    We get daytime coons around here -- I've seen whole 'packs' of them in my yard. That's why my poor chickens are penned up most of the time.
  9. koifarm

    koifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's not unusual for coons to be out in daylight. Females with young to feed will forage any time day or night, if the coon population in your area is too great the competition for food gets increasingly more difficult the coons will start to forage in daylight.
    Be wary of any coon acting erratically in daylight, staggering, unable to walk a straight line, acting aggressive towards anything, there is a strong possibility of a rabid coon and should be dispatched immediately.
    Coons will stalk and kill chickens if they are hungry enough so if you free range, be aware that you may lose a few to them.
    If you live in an area with neighbors close by a pellet gun may be effective but by using sub-sonic .22 ammo and a penny balloon over the muzzle you will hear a soft "pop" when discharging it and not disturb your neighbors or draw attention to what you are doing.
    Live trapping is another alternative if you have coons in your area. The Havahart style trap baited with cat or dog food will generally suffice to trap out coons which can then be transported to a nice rural area and cease to be your problem. I've had the most success with those traps by taking a small cat food can, a short piece of wire can be threaded through the rim of the can and wired to the far back end of the trap. Place a small amount of cat food or dog food in that and they can't pick it up and run off with it and will trip the trigger platform easily. You can also pre-set your trigger to go off with the slightest touch on the trigger plate.
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I would always err on the side of caution. We have had numerous rabies incidents in our county lately.

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