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Raccoon Hopelessness???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Awestruck, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Awestruck

    Awestruck Songster

    May 15, 2012
    I live in the country and I am sure we have raccoons. Someone was telling me last night that they basically gave up on chickens because of the raccoons. She was saying that the raccoons chewed their way inside the coop to get to the chickens. They even had a dog to help ward off the raccoons, but the raccoons won the battle.
    I don't know if I have raccoons yet or not, but if so, is there any answer to this problem? I had raccoons at the house we used to live at, and they were destructive there, but we didn't have any chickens while we lived there. What do people use to protect their chickens from raccoons?

  2. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    I keep a live trap baited with eggs at all times. I do get the occasional raccoon, skunk or other predators that I convert into organic matter for my trees. By eliminating the unwanted visitors whenever they show up, I have not had any damage done or poultry lost by them other than the occasional broken branches caused by the raccoons. Those that aren't enticed by the eggs in the trap get to go on their merry way unimpeded by me.
    1 person likes this.
  3. authHeirlooms

    authHeirlooms In the Brooder

    Feb 20, 2017
    Loveland, CO
    We enclosed our coop in heavy-duty hardware cloth (rather than poultry wire) and have double locks on all our doors (since they are very adept at opening latches) - we also have dug several layers of hardware cloth underground (attached to the coop base) outside the coop for several feet so nothing can dig under. Electric fencing also helps, though none of that will do any good if they come out in late afternoon when the mothers give birth as they do here. Then the free-ranging chickens, our garden, our fruit trees, etc. are all fair game. I agree with the advice above to live trap, or think twice about getting chickens.
  4. LilJagsFarm

    LilJagsFarm In the Brooder

    Dec 9, 2016
    Hardware cloth instead of chicken wire is a must as they can easily get through the chicken wire. As mentioned above, live traps are also great to keep things out of the coop. I bait mine with canned cat food instead of eggs. Why give them a taste of what they're after in the first place? So far this spring I'm up to 5 possums and a coon in the traps
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I built a Ft. Knox coop and covered run, and only feed inside. When I stopped spreading treats and feed outside on the ground, and had a safe coop, most visitors gave up. My live traps weren't set off, a very good sign. Recently we dealt with a rat invasion, now fixed, and the bait station outside of the run is no longer loosing bait. Keeping chickens safe is an ongoing project! Mary
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I don't think it matters if one is in the country, suburbia or in urban areas. Raccoons are everywhere.

    Your best bet for protecting your chickens is to build a sturdy coop and run. Don't buy one of those little doll house coops offered by the farm supply stores. As mentioned above, make sure you use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire, and make sure all the edges are secured. Bury hardware cloth or welded wire in an L shape at the bottom of your fence to prevent digging predators. Make sure you have secure latches or locks on all doors.

    I live in the country. We have raccoons, possums, owls, hawks, eagles, mink, skunks and coyotes. Those are the ones I can think of off hand. The only raccoon kill we've had recently was about 4 years ago. My chickens free range, and the coop was open. Our mama hen and her 5 chicks happened to be in the coop when a mother raccoon came in and killed the hen. Fortunately, the dog alerted DH to the commotion, and the raccoons were eliminated. It's been years and years since I've had a night time raccoon kill. A month or so a mink got in at night and killed several of my chickens. That animal was also taken care of.
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    I was raised on a farm, and my mother told me she gave up on chickens due to coons, plus other varmints. Hated to do so, but could not defeat them and they wiped her out. She said the same would happen to me. I have the coons.....

    ....but haven't lost any birds to them........or anything else.........yet. So how did I do it?

    A tight coop that protects the birds at night........or when I'm not around........if I"m not around, they stay in that day.

    Note photo of coon above was taken by a trail camera of coon standing on wire apron shown below.......so the coon can't break in, claw in, reach in or dig in. Photo of coon was taken before the electric fence went up. After the fence, all traffic around the coop that I know of stopped.


    Then beyond that, an electric fence that keeps the birds in......and inside a zone of protection.........and predators out.


    I also keep and would use live traps and the dog proof coon traps (Duke DP and Coon Dagger) but so far, have never felt the need to use them.

    Can't say all this would work for everyone, but I live in a high predator density area, and again, I've not lost any to date. I may someday...........and would not be happy if I did. I would be impressed by any varmint who managed to pull it off.

    Until then, I'll keep sharing all the surplus eggs with my mother.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    2 people like this.

  8. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I have just about every kind of ground predator out there, short of a bear. I never had any problems at night. But I lost a bunch of birds to the fox, in day attacks. Had to do something. I now have my coop surrounded with 650' of electrified poultry net (From Premier). I have not lost a bird to a ground predator, in over 5yrs. Started out with 300'. Over the years, I've added another 350'. When a predator gets a taste of in excess of 7000Vs, they tend to forget all about having a chicken dinner that day. And I believe it stays in their mind for a long time too. And I know it's not generally recommended, but I haven't shut the pop door on the coop in over 3yrs, that's the confidence I have in the poultry net.

  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’m all in favor of eliminating the critters that are hunting your area, I caught a possum last night. It’s no longer breathing. But trapping or shooting does not eliminate the problem, there are always more. That’s the fifth possum I’ve caught since the New Year. I caught over a dozen raccoons last year. Removing the ones that are hunting your property reduces predator pressure but it sure does not eliminate it. I’ll say it again, there are always more.

    Barriers are your best method. I’ve been really successful with a coop I can lock them in at night and using electric netting during the day. Bobbi. Howard, and Jack all give good advice. There are different ways to go about it, some are more expensive or more inconvenient than others, but using good barriers is the best way to minimize or even prevent losses.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    All approaches above sound and I use them to varying degrees. Here, the predator management part gets a large part of the attention, in part because it is fun finding ways to keep birds safe without killing off the wild life. Also cost some $$$ as methods changed or experimented from time to time. Part of my strategy is to have lines of defense arranged in layers and to check things personally at night using a flashlite. I can also get away with some really flimsy coops because of how they are deployed relative to the lines of defense / perimeters. Flimsy is as shown below.

    I have about 50 of these.

    One of these. Finding these are more than flimsy. Lot like wet toilet paper when it get windy.

    The majority of my capacity is in the form of 10 x 10 dog pens within a pole barn. A fourth now in place plus in barn plus another in the field.
    I can have as many as 30 birds free range that roost in the barn. Broody hens mostly nest in there as well, mostly.

    More than one poultry yard. Below is quarantine are in orchard. Birds used for show kept here well away from even free-range birds.

    Normally, I have lots of live traps out but rabbits currently make them ineffective. Too many rabbits. My dogs kill raccoons without too much trouble but that is not frequent since first round of it a few years back.

    Show a picture of the actual coop raccoon is breaking into. You may be able to target weak points to shore up defenses.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017

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