Thought it was a skunk...turns out it was a racoon. Now the hens don't like the coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Audio51, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Audio51

    Audio51 Songster

    Jul 16, 2012
    Paradise, California
    Well...the hen I lost last week to what I thought was a skunk (head and only leg only missing, strong smell of skunk...) appears to have been killed by a raccoon. We have been locking the girls in the coop at night and setting up a trap for the predator inside the chicken yard. We caught a good sized raccoon the second day. It now has a new home in a wild area down by the river. I am continuing to set the trap and lock them in, but they seem to be reluctant to sleep in the coop now. I noticed initially one hen was roosting on a wheelbarrow leaning up against the back fence first. That was easy enough...I would just scoop her up on my way to lock the coop and put her inside. Then another one started disappearing at night. I finally watched them one evening at dusk to see where she was going. Turns out she was jumping up on a small bench, then to a grapevine wrapped around the post to our grape arbor, the up on top of the 8 ft tall arbor to roost. Last night we didn't get home ti 9:30 and the one hen was on the arbor and 2 where settled down in a Japanese Maple right near the back door to the house. Only 1 of the 4 will voluntarily sleep in the goop now, They all go in there to lay eggs though. Any suggestions on how to get them to sleep in the coop again without having to round them up each night?

  2. NestingHillsSC

    NestingHillsSC Songster

    Jan 6, 2012
    Never had this happen. But you could try as if they were new. Just lock them in the coop for a day or two. Or if you have the time, catch them all and put them in at night and lock the door. The only thing I can think of.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I agree. Just don't let them out of the coop. I think after two days or so they will see that it is safe (or most likely simply forget) and things will be back to normal. Good luck.
  4. Audio51

    Audio51 Songster

    Jul 16, 2012
    Paradise, California
    Well...the hens are back sleeping in the coop on thier own now. I did have to catch them and put them there for about a week, but now there is no problem. I am locking the coop hatch and the door to the wired pen below every evening. Also got all the open places around the top of the pen covered this weekend and they have a door to thepen is locked each night. I think the racoon bent something in the Havahart trap because I can't get it to trigger now. Will have to have DH fix it. The whole back yard smelled of skunk this morning, but the girls have been fine when I let them out and no sign of anything trying to get in. I do still worry when I have to unlock everthing before I go to work though. I know some predators like the early morning hours before dawn for hunting.

  5. chicki-vicki

    chicki-vicki In the Brooder

    May 8, 2012
    I am a newby - but I was considering the automatic opening doors set on a timer

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