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Raccoon(s) Exploiting Fencing to Invade Pen Area

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    This is getting to be a busy fall after a very easy going production season. A few nights ago a great-horned owl came calling which was easy to stop but the cold snap brought out the guys more capable of challenging pens. I have just under 50 pens arranged in a row within a roughly 1 acre paddock delineated by three strands of hot-wire. We messed up last night and left hot-wire off after walking with kids around trails. A raccoon, possibly more than one, got in and tried to molest some penned young birds closest to where birds came in. Dogs intervened only after good feathers lost. This predator then ran back though fence and retreated to trailer court where we cannot follow. I want to get this guy bad. Two baited live traps are in place and dogs will be penned up until released. I will be camping out under stars (actually low heavy cloud cover) to listen for birds in a down wind location. To make everything interesting I will have a .22 rifle and a flashlite. Hopefully our guest will encounter traps before getting to bird area but if not I can get involved if chickens get riled. Dogs will be out with predator call when I feel we have a good chance denying retreat to trailer court. A big part of reason dogs can not pursue raccoon in trailer court is because of a more effective fence I installed last year. Properly made fences can certainly be your friend, but improperly placed fences can be a real pain in the but. This is not the first time we had troubles with raccoon than beats us by retreating to trailer court. Soon I will move poultry netting to encompass pens which will stop such assuming fence kept hot. This effort will also serve as a refresher, especially the younger dog, about how to run your raccoon and to get excited about it.
     
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Good luck and I'd love to see some pics of your pens.
     
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northwest Hills of CT
    I have had very good luck trapping raccoons in cage traps. I take an empty tuna can, and punch two holes in the bottom with a screw driver. Then I zip tie the can (through the holes) to the bottom of the cage so the can stays in the middle of the trap area, and can't be moved to the sides. I fill the can with 5-6 large marshmallows stuffed in there so they can't fall out. The hardest part is reaching that far into the trap to put the marshmallows in the can. Raccoons can't seem to resist them, and they have to go in the trap to get them since they are stuffed in there.

    Good luck!
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Gotta opossum at about 2230. It is just over half grown. It disturbed a hen roosting well outside the protected zone in a patch of heavy small trees. I did not even know hen was still around. My plans for keeping dogs out of picture until called not working. I passed out to be awoken by Lucy (female) barking and chasing something along western perimeter of inner fenced in area. Hopefully it was not raccoon. The juvenile great-horned owl could also be heard off to east. My male dog took to sitting on me as he scanned for scents and sounds. Will be going back out soon after getting in a little hot coco.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    This a pic from a couple winters back showing about 15 pens in a row. Most hold single birds although some hold trios. The are either 4 x 4 or 4 x 5. About 1/3 are only 36" tall and are reserved for broody hens at night. The taller are pushing 6 feet tall. Such pens by themselves are horrible defense against most predators but it is easy to move them a hundred yards twice annually and almost daily during the production season like chicken tractors. Main purpose is keep birds separate. Smaller pens protect even broody hens from raccoons so long as pen set so broody located > 16" from perimeter of pen. Predator trying work on pens exposes self to dogs coming from behind.
    [​IMG]




    Opossum we got last night. It is relatively large compared recent kills because dogs eliminated adults. Juveniles move in from outside areas dogs patrol and then get bumped off.
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    Dogs after a relatively easy night. Scoob (left) slept with me when not patrolling and Lucy (right) slept in high weeds near remaining broody hen about 50 feet away. Patrolling occupies most of night and predators moving more because of cold front. Also having at least 50 fruit bearing persimmon trees nearby does not help.

    [​IMG]


    I am pretty sure now Lucy ran off raccoon before it had a chance to get to traps. Problem is once raccoon knows dog is coming quality cover preventing dog from making kill or at least getting in a good mauling is simply too close.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have been using either peanut butter or chicken carcasses for bait. Peanut butter used for raccoons not yet causing problems and the carcass option once a raccoon starts showing an interest in the pen area.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    We are not having much success enacting revenge on the raccoon. Distance to cover too short and it has been schooled only temporarily not to visit. It can move about with total lack of fear not even 100 feet away. We need a bigger buffer zone. Somehow I am going to go after the raccoons off property.

    This time of year we are particularly vulnerable as the number of birds is high and birds are kept in two management systems that spread out or defenses.


    Below are pictures of damaged pullet. She was housed in a pen like shown and grabbed through wire. She is well onto path of recovery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    By Christmas all feather damage will be repaired. Raccoon pulled feathers out completely which promotes rapid regrowth.
     
  8. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would recommend you reinforce the pen she is in with 1/2" hardware wire fencing. The fence on their now is big enough for something to reach in. They won't be able to do that with hardware wire. You can zip tie the hardware wire to the existing fencing. Glad she is doing better.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have too many pens to treat with hardware cloth. I have had same effect by overlaying with poultry wire but even that pricey.
     

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