Raccoons ate my birds

Melontine

Songster
May 26, 2019
245
836
156
Maine
I went out to collect eggs and check on water, especially with how hot it's been and my chicks tendency to spill. At first, it all seemed normal.
Then I noticed the feathers.
Lots of feathers, and even a clump of some bloodied feathers that had fallen into their food dish. At first, I didn't see them. I did a headcount. I counted the locked up rooster (he's become mean and was actively hurting my hens), the 17 chicks still safe in their personal enclosure, 3 broody birds, and five hens walking around as if nothing had happened. 2 of my birds were missing. And then I found them.
It was... a mess. 1 was in the yard laying in a corner of it. and the other, was behind the coop, between it and the wall of the enclosure. They were partially eaten and then just left there.
We cleaned everything up, and I'm sad to see two of my 1yr old hens go like that. We were looking to start culling our older birds, but these were still young hens in their prime.

Now we've got to do what we can to protect the rest of the birds. But what exactly, I'm not sure.
We're going to lock them in the enclosure, no more yard time for a long while. I pulled the coop away from the wall so maybe they won't be pulled and trapped there again. But I'm worried that this predator won't be stopped by that. The enclosure is secured from above and below, but I guess the gaps are still too wide and would allow a raccoon to reach in and grab a hen. (I think it's a raccoon or maybe several, but it is my first time actually dealing with something eating my chickens so I could be wrong)

I wish I could let my rooster do his job of protecting the hens and soon to hatch chicks, but he's not. We let him out again and immediately had to lock him up again as he started attacking one of the hens causing her to bleed. We patched her up, but geez. This was all we needed.
 

RumneyRoost

Songster
Jul 24, 2018
283
420
131
Ontario
Can you get your hands on some hardware cloth? Even if you just run some around the base of your run/coop it should stop raccoon hands from being able to reach inside and grab them.
 

falconertomt

Songster
6 Years
Feb 18, 2014
104
34
106
Utah
Sounds like the attack happened overnight, so a raccoon or similar is a likely culprit. Like
centrarchid said, a rooster will only end up raccoon food. For ground based predators, you need to prevent access, a racoon can get its hand into about a 1" hole, give or take, and if the raccoon can fit its head through the hole, there is a good chance the rest of it can come through as well.
Raccoons are also skilled climbers (skunks are not) so that is something to take into consideration. If you are determined to find out what it is, a trail camera set up outside your coop at night will capture the culprit as they are likely to come around again. You may also be able to catch footprints in soft earth or mud around your yard or neighborhood which will tell you a lot about the local wildlife.
 

hayley3

Crowing
13 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,061
1,940
426
Southern Indiana
I went out to collect eggs and check on water, especially with how hot it's been and my chicks tendency to spill. At first, it all seemed normal.
Then I noticed the feathers.
Lots of feathers, and even a clump of some bloodied feathers that had fallen into their food dish. At first, I didn't see them. I did a headcount. I counted the locked up rooster (he's become mean and was actively hurting my hens), the 17 chicks still safe in their personal enclosure, 3 broody birds, and five hens walking around as if nothing had happened. 2 of my birds were missing. And then I found them.
It was... a mess. 1 was in the yard laying in a corner of it. and the other, was behind the coop, between it and the wall of the enclosure. They were partially eaten and then just left there.
We cleaned everything up, and I'm sad to see two of my 1yr old hens go like that. We were looking to start culling our older birds, but these were still young hens in their prime.

Now we've got to do what we can to protect the rest of the birds. But what exactly, I'm not sure.
We're going to lock them in the enclosure, no more yard time for a long while. I pulled the coop away from the wall so maybe they won't be pulled and trapped there again. But I'm worried that this predator won't be stopped by that. The enclosure is secured from above and below, but I guess the gaps are still too wide and would allow a raccoon to reach in and grab a hen. (I think it's a raccoon or maybe several, but it is my first time actually dealing with something eating my chickens so I could be wrong)

I wish I could let my rooster do his job of protecting the hens and soon to hatch chicks, but he's not. We let him out again and immediately had to lock him up again as he started attacking one of the hens causing her to bleed. We patched her up, but geez. This was all we needed.
Do you go to the coop first thing in the morning? It's hard to visualize from your description, are they all in a run or are they locked in separate coops? A couple of pictures would help. However to protect against raccoons, your coop needs to be locked up tight or surrounded by electric or have dogs protecting your property. Raccoons are formidable in that they are very clever, stronger than their size and persistent.
 

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