Hello, We are in the process of buying an 8 acre farm with a big red barn on the property. I'm hoping to use part of the barn as a home for chickens. There is a lower level (basement) with animal stalls in it, and I'm thinking that this will be the best place to use. We will build an enclosed coop inside the barn and make it as secure as possible. The barn has been out of use for years, and it is full of debris, old hay, wood, etc. The sellers are cleaning out the barn as part of the sale agreement ("the best that they can"). The barn is also in need of some major repair (jacking it up and reinforcing the floor supports), which is another story. Now to my question... Upon inspecting the barn, we found that there is at least one big fat raccoon living up in the very top of the barn. He was sleeping up there when we were there at mid-day, and then he just turned around to glare at us and move into the corner of the roof area/rafters. We have to create a safe place for chickens, and we don't even officially own the property yet, but I wondered what kind of plan I should be going in there with. I don't know WHAT else might be living in that barn right now. There are barn swallows swooping all around in the lower level, but we didn't actually see anything else in there yet. Aside from the obvious, building a fortress to protect the hens, is there any thing else that you can do to keep the coons and other predators out of your barn? I've read about keeping bigger animals around to scare them off. I'm willing to look into larger livestock in the future, but we are city folk right now, and don't want to take on too much too soon, at the detriment of any animals we keep. Also, my husband is just coming around to the ideas of chickens. He's not yet too keen on anything else, except for a dog. Sorry if I'm asking an obvious question, but I didn't know what to do first... trap the coon? Kill it? Co-exist with it? He was there first, after all... we haven't even signed the papers yet! It could be another 6 weeks before we even move in. Maybe the noise and commotion of cleaning out and repairing the barn will scare all the critters away... Thanks for any advice!