Raccoons and Bears

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by RHFox, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

    Nov 23, 2013
    Two nights ago, a raccoon got into my hen house by lifting the lid to the nesting box (my husband assured me that no animal would be strong enough to lift it and a bungee cord would be enough to keep it closed - he was wrong...). I heard the lid slam and the ensuing commotion and ran down to save my girls. It was dark and I couldn't see much until my husband finally got his gun and turned on the light. It all happened so fast; the raccoon took off and I got three of my four girls into the basement, but couldn't find my Brownie, the oldest of the four and the most senior. I don't know if there was a second raccoon that ran out with her (can a raccoon carry a hen and run away quickly?), or if she took off on her own once I opened the coop door, but I haven't seen her since, and there's no evidence of an attack (feathers/blood).

    My problem now is that the three remaining hens don't head for the coop at sunset. I have literally had to guide them there the last two nights. Is it because mama hen is not here to guide them anymore, or are they afraid to go back in? They just linger in the front yard even though it is getting dark, and they used to head back in 15 to 20 minutes before sunset. Will they recover and go back to their usual routine or is there something I need to do? Any feedback would be great.

    Oh, and to add to my misery, I spotted a black bear running through my back yard this morning. Are bears predators I need to plan for, too? I'm going to need to build a Fort Knox type of chicken coop!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It's probably because they were attacked in the coop. I've had birds very uneasy about going back to the scene of the crime. They'll get over it in time.

    A coon is pound for pound one of the strongest animals, they can climb a sheer wall, one of the few animals that can descend a tree head first, perfect night vision, extremely fast and ferocious. All of my nest boxes have very secure latches.

    I have one long coop that from the side is like a quadrilateral triangle where the roof is also the door. The doors are quite heavy but I still latch them down with strong springs. I'm sure a raccoon could raise them enough to get inside.

    A bear is a big problem because they're even stronger than a raccoon and unless the coop is Fort Knox, like half of my coops - they can tear it apart. Maybe electric fence can help.
    Luckily I'm on the opposite side of a large metro area from where bears have been seen.
  3. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

    Nov 23, 2013
    Thank you ChickenCanoe. I hope the bear was only passing through. I live in a rural town in south central Virginia and have never seen a bear run through here! He was headed in the direction of the mountains, so maybe he's ready to hibernate.

    This evening my girls made their way to the coop on their own, so I'm hoping they'll continue to do so. My Buff Orpington, Peaches, is feeling a bit lonely without Brownie, though. She is now bunking with the other two girls in "their area." I was reading another thread and someone asked if chickens mourn. I think they do. They at least sense a loss and become more skittish. The morning after the raccoon raid, they immediately headed for the bushes they love to hide in after I let them out of the coop. Peaches doesn't say much, but she's been more vocal than usual the last few days. I may have to find her another friend [​IMG]
  4. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    I have heard electric fencing works well for all animals. They don't stop hawks though. Sorry about your hen...and hopefully the rest of the girls will go back in the coop again on their own.
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    To work the best an electric fence is used to "educate" the varmints were not to go. A few strips of salty bacon tied around the hot wires will lets say "discourage" every varmint that tries to steal the bacon from exploring other ways to get inside your coop and run, bears included.
  6. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Sorry for your loss. Raccoons are extremely strong for such a little critter. Show your husband the following video of a raccoon opening a garage door....

    You definitely need to add locks to the nesting box lid.

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