raccoon proof latches?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by loriamarosa, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. loriamarosa

    loriamarosa In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2011
    My hubby and I are just finishing our new coop--we are new to raising chickens, with 2 chicks who are 3 weeks old and will soon be delighted with their larger area.

    What have you found works well for keeping raccoons out? I am especially concerned about their little hands undoing door latches. We live on a small lot in an urban area but have seen raccoons crossing the street at night.
  2. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    Welcome to the forum!

    I use spring loaded clips like these for our runs, two for each door (one up high, one down low):


    The door to our big coop is a regular locking door, but the pop hole has a spring loaded clip like the one pictured, but it locks on the inside of the coop. What can I say? I'm paranoid.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you talk to the pet-raccoon people, they will tell you that raccoons CAN OPEN the kind of snaps illustrated in the previous post. Not often, but sometimes.

    So it depends on what level of security you want. There is a bit of a tradeoff between raccoon-proof-ness and human convenience.

    Personally, when I had my original tractor with several various places on it that required a latch, I used an outdoors-type padlock, *locked*, with the key hung on a hook right next to it. (Raccoons may be clever but they canNOT figure out to insert a key into a padlock and turn it <g>). It did take an extra moment, and those in areas with frequent ice storms would want to tie a baggie over it during those events; but it is quite secure and not *that* obnoxious to deal with.

    Otherwise a single- or double-ended snap (as per previous post) is a common and reasonably-effective second choice.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Folly's place likes this.
  4. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    I agree with the above poster, raccoons can undo a snap like the first response. I use a combination lock. (that way I dont have to worry about losing the key).
  5. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    The coon would have to see me first to get in...[​IMG]
    johnkneegeez likes this.
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Maybe we're just lucky, or maybe our coons are just not too bright, but we've had no problems in 5 years with the regular ol' gate latches like the one below.

    We've had about 3 coon attacks (killed chickens and a duck) in the past 5 years, but that was because we didn't get home in time to close up the door... not because they got into the latch. Also, the fact that once they knew there were chickens inside, you'd think they would be even more anxious to figure out how to get back in... but no problems.

    I'm not advising you use these... just saying that I don't think all coons in all areas are as equipped or as diligent. Maybe our coons only like easy meals?

    Pat had a great point about "total safety" vs. human convenience. We'd never want to deal with a key lock, or even a complicated latch our kids couldn't open on a door that we frequently use. That said, if I did find that our local coons could get into them, I'd obviously do what I needed to keep them safe.

    We use a couple of these, but with springs on the pull wire so they have a little resistance.

  7. Country Parson

    Country Parson Songster

    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    I'm even more simple, a concrete block leans against the main door to the coop. No latch, no lock--not even a handle on the door. I also live in Coon (umm, I mean Corn) country.

    I know, I know, one of these days...
    Macchickenman likes this.
  8. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    Dog leash style latches can easily be opened by a coon. Any latch that requires 2 or more steps to operate are best. Raccoons CAN move a pager shone or concrete block as well.
  9. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    Quote:We use a board.
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Yes indeedy, one of these days -- raccoons are quite strong and even the largest cinderblock is no challenge at all for them to tip over.

    P.s. to Rob (Nifty) if he reads further on this thread -- you can go a GREAT deal further towards raccoon-proofing that gate latch you're using, without really inconveniencing people at all, by making a curved piece of wire (like maybe 10-14 gauge) and just threading it through that bottommost hole on the latch so the latch cannot be opened without first removing the wire. If it is U-shaped, it is not super obvious for animals to remove and yet for YOU to remove it (to operate the latch) you just rotate it 90 degrees and remove it. On some latches you can also use a very large fence staple for the same purpose, or even a snap.

    Just sayin',

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: