raccoon proof idea?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Daire Coop, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Daire Coop

    Daire Coop Hatching

    Sep 13, 2008
    This is our first post.

    Our summer of chicken love ended in tragedy. Raccoons found three ways into our coop over a period of several weeks and killed all three of our sweet hens. We are planning ahead for next spring and hoping to build a better coop. Has anyone heard of a roost box that is suspended or on a post that the girls can fly into, but raccoons can not get into? (Our chickens free ranged during the day- all were kidnaped out of the "latched" coop at night.)

    thanks for any ideas. especially pictures
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD


    I don't think a nest box on a post will be that practical or coon proof as coons can get into roofs of houses, in to bird feeders and open doors. The birds should be roosting on a roost and not in the nest boxes too since that's a bad habit if you want to have clean eggs. To keep them safe at night, make sure their coop has solid walls and if not a solid floor, a foot deep buried wire or a foot wide wire skirt. They are good diggers. Any windows and vents need to be covered with hardware cloth too and secured tightly or can be pulled off. Furthermore, any "chicken wire" (meant only to keep chickens in) is just gong to get chewed apart or torn off by coons if not just plain reached though. You'll want to use 1/2 inch hardware cloth so they cannot tear through or pull birds out with thier skilled hands. If you have witty coons, put a pad lock on the coop and that will prevent humans from stealing them too. If you can pull your coop apart with hands or simple tools like sticks, a hand shovel, and kitchen scissors, a coon will eventually get though.
  3. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    First . . . .


    I'm sure you'll find this to be a wonderful place for answering your questions.

    First, a question for you - What are the three ways that the raccoons managed to get into the coop? There are probably things that can be done to shore up your defenses. What you need to do before worrying about places they can escape to, is to make sure the raccoons cannot get in at all.

    You can see my coop/run in my avatar. First, it is completely covered top to bottom. The run is covered (top and sides) in hardware cloth, which is strong and with small enough openings that the raccoon cannot reach inside. The bottom is such that predators cannot dig under the run, either.

    The chickens go into their coop at night. The chicken door that runs from the run to the coop is closed up every night.

    Both the human doors - into the run and into the coop - are not only latched (as you've found, raccoons can unlatch!) but they're locked with coded padlocks. All windows are covered with the hardware cloth as well.

    A 2-footed predator could cut through the hardware cloth, but a raccoon cannot. Raccoons visit my garden every night to eat all my tomatoes [​IMG] but my chickens have been safe. [​IMG]

    Edited to add: Are those your three girls in your avatar? They were beautiful! I'm so sorry for your loss!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    I am sorry for your loss.. It seems like once wildlife finds an easy meal it keeps coming back until they have killed everything..

    Who kows what will keep a really hungry/determined animal out...

    We are building my coop right now..and I have been really strict about security! I have added a thousand nails (big nail gun) and then some screws, to each seam/bottom and top of 3/4" wood siding.. We have added 1/2 " hardward cloth on the windows exterior and in the middle of the frame is another panel of hardware cloth, it's secured with 1x6" boards that are screwed in and has "L" brackets at each corner. The door is a metal exterior door. The entire 3' bottom of the coop will have 1/2" hardware buried about 12" out at the bottom and stapled and then secured with 1x6" boards, it sits on a 8" thick concert pad. The run will be completely enclosed with chain link fencing (top and sides) then the bottom three feet of the run has 1/2" hardware cloth, the chain link fencing will be buried two feet at a sharp 'L' angle.. under the gate area will be a 6" think concert pad that will cover the entire gate and the posts are 6X6", the gate is chainlink covered with hardware cloth.. The roof is 3/4" exterior plywood, the edges all have heavy duty metal flashing, tar paper and heavy duty tin.. And I have four big hounds that can patrol the area if needed.. They care nothing about fowl but hate anything with fur!

    My sweet dh thinks it will keep out anything from a 350lb bear (which we do NOT have here) and down...We will see....Dixie
  5. Motel Chix

    Motel Chix In the Brooder

    Nov 19, 2007
    Central Indiana
    The best and safest coop and run is one protected by a electric fence. I have over 100 now and have never lost one inside the enclosure. I place a single wire about 6-8" above ground level and with 6-8" long insulators. You can use a solor fence charger if you do not have electric ran. They are safe for pets. I have dogs, foxes, and coyotes, and ratcoons test it every couple days and run as fast as they can once they get that shock. I just shut mine off when I let the chickens out to free range and have never lost any inside the pen.
    Good luck
  6. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I am new to chickens but here is something to think about. We have a ton of raccoons around here, they used to live in our backyard. I built my coop like Fort Knox but if I ever see any sign that the coons are interested I am adding electric fencing. But then I heard that my neighbor across the street used to raise chickens (a lot) and I walked over to talk with her. Turns out they let them free range day and night! The chickens would hop up into the trees at dusk and work their way up high into the trees, she never lost a chicken to a raccoon![​IMG] She didn't have raccoon problems until she began putting the hens in a coop (tired of going on easter egg hunts every day) and they broke into the coop. If I had fencing around my lot and not a lot of free-ranging dogs [​IMG] I would seriously consider trying that myself. Sorry about your loss, and best wishes in the future!
  7. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    >>Turns out they let them free range day and night! The chickens would hop up into the trees at dusk and work their way up high into the trees, she never lost a chicken to a raccoon!<<

    She is just lucky so far. For years my chickens free ranged and nested up in the highest tree. Thought they were safe too. Then I started noticing my flock was rapidly diminishing in size. In a month racoons had climbed the tree and (quietly) killed 2-3 every night. I know because I finally waited outside and shot one in the tree and another one on the ground.

    Soooo...I built a huge 5' high chain link run with hardware cloth on the bottom. Already had 2 chicken houses but most of them would rather roost in this tree. Had to catch as many as I could and train them to go in the houses at night.

    Quite a few diehards still will roost in that tree but I screwed a 4X8' sheet of aluminum around it's trunk and now the coons cannot climb up to get them. Just a constant battle....seems like everything likes to eat chicken. [​IMG]
  8. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Quote:I was going to ask the same question, but more for helping others to learn how devious and strong coons are!

    I wouldn't trust anything to keep them out other than hot wire or really strong welded wire. They can climb and break into so many things. We were so worried about coons that we even put chain link under the floor in the run.
  9. therealsilkiechick

    therealsilkiechick ShowGirl Queen

    Jul 18, 2007
    Northwestern, pa
    most of my coops/runs r above ground 3-4 ft off ground and definately not fort nox and in 2 years have never had coon or any preditor probs.

    before that when we did have ground runs they would rip them through cages and nothing would keep them out.
  10. We have a raccoon named Mary living in the same barn where we have our coop. You might want to look at how we built a coop porch and used hardware cloth in our run, and roofed it. See link below. It was worth every penny!

    Mary helped us to predator-proof the coop as did our 25-30 feral cats who also live in the barn![​IMG]

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