Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SparrowSong, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chirping

    May 20, 2013
    We put our 4 baby chicks (5 weeks old) outside in a run, close to the "big" chicken coop where the adult hens are so they can get used to each other. I put a dog crate inside the run for the baby chicks to sleep in, but they prefer to sleep next to the edge of the run. Last night a raccoon reached inside the run and tore the head off one of the babies. Very disturbing to find the headless chick today and the feathers/blood at the edge of the run. I could tell the coon tried to pry the door to the run open but was unsuccessful.

    I guess we will be locking them up in the plastic crate at night (inside the run) until they join the big chickens. I wish the big chicken coop had room to block them off inside there, but it is a small coop with the run underneath it.

    The run does have chicken wire underneath, as well as over and around, but I never thought about a coon reaching in and trying to pull a chick out through the wire. :-(
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    So sorry for your loss...hard lesson learned. Please take this advice as intended...to educate you to the pitfalls of plain cheap chicken wire...it's worthless. Predators such as raccoon, weasel, fox, coyote, and dogs can rip right through the stuff like it was butter. Please re-think your entire setup and replace all your wire with 1/2" hardware cloth only....everywhere! Now that that raccoon has found himself an easy target believe me when I tell you....he will be back! All the predators I mentioned above are diggers...you need to put up your wire like this example..."apron" it down at ground level at least 10-12" down and out:

    Is there any particular reason you are housing the chicks in a crate in the "run"?? I wish you all the very best and keep us updated when you find the scumbag and do away with it!
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It's a steep learning curve when it comes to raccoons. They are crafty, sneaky, and very talented at getting ahold of a chicken dinner if they want one. We used to have OEGBs that were housed in a rabbit hutch and pen in the barn. The rabbit hutch had doors that latched and opened from the sides. All was well for a while, but then one morning I discovered the hutch unlatched, one of the chickens missing. I blamed the 12-old (who had a tendency to forget things anyway) for not latching the chicken cage. Then it happened again and again. Even after I did chores in the evening and made sure the door was latched, I finally figured out that a raccoon was unlatching the coop and taking a chicken a night. They have nimble little fingers! I agree with iwiw60 that you need hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. Chicken wire keeps chickens in or out, but does nothing to keep your chickens safe from predators.
  4. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chirping

    May 20, 2013
    Thank you for the info. We will be building another run asap with the hardware cloth. I had thought it was enough just to wrap the entire run in chicken wire.... wrong. Actually, I'm not sure what kind of wire it is around the run; it's not regular chicken wire, but it's not hardware cloth. It's kind of an in-between, with little octagonal shapes, stronger than chicken wire but evidently not good enough.
    My son is planning a stake-out tonight to try to get the coon. The chickies will be locked in the dog crate at night, and I'm seriously thinking about bringing the dog crate into the house at night.

    Edited to answer your question: We don't have another place to house them. The coop for the 3 grown chickens is one of those 2-story deals where the run is below the coop. No room. Our chickens (the older ones, anyway) free range during the day.
    The run we're housing the babies in now will eventually be attached to the current coop/run, although now I want to make a better one with hardware cloth instead of using what we've used in the past.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014

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