When will the raccoon be back? UPDATE: tracks found

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Daisy8s, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today I lost a hen to, I presume, a raccoon since the only damage was its head missing and it was mildly disemboweled (which fits the head-and-crop-missing calling card of raccoons, as I've read on this site).

    So, my question is about how soon the raccoon will come back. Is it likely the coon will be back in the next days and keeping them inside for a few days could send the coon off looking for new prey, or will the attacks be randomly spaced? I know that now the coon has found my flock he'll remember and be back, I'm just wondering if I can expect when he might be back.

    Other info that might be helpful: This is the first predator loss since last summer. I'm in central MI and we're about to get a snowstorm so perhaps the coon was stocking up before the storm? I have two dogs but they're inside a lot. The flock free ranges outside their run enclosure. The hen's body was found about 30 feet from the coop, outside the run, in an area they frequently hang out, near a pine tree. I did see a very large hawk (don't know what kind) flying closer than usual today--but maybe it was interested in the body and not the original killer.

    Finally, do you think the coon would have killed more birds if it could have or is it common to kill only one bird at a time? I'm asking because I think my adolescent rooster actually did his job of leading some of the other birds to safety, though he wasn't able to scare off the coon, unfortunately. He and half the flock were found far away hiding in some brush while the other half was found in the coop.

    Any info is appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss [​IMG].

    2. Raccoons down here tend to stick around for a few days once they have a kill. If they can't kill anymore birds they move on.

    3. I've heard cases of Coons killing one bird or a few at one time.
     
  3. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, it was one of my nice little ISA Brown hens so I'll miss her eggs, but luckily it was not one of my original birds who all have names and a bit more personality. I didn't realize how attached I'd gotten till my husband came in and said one was dead and he couldn't find half of the others.

    It seems so odd that the attack would happen in broad daylight, especially when we got home very late last night and didn't shut the pop door till long after dark.
     
  4. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only see racoons here at night.
     
  5. crankster76

    crankster76 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Id set some live traps and do a little shining for him if I was you. sorry for ur loss.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Coons have a home territory which ranges in size depending upon the availability of food. I am not positive that your pred was a coon, but whatever it was will be back, perhaps even on a daily basis. Be prepared, and good luck.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Double effort to confirm ID of predator. Owls often eat head and neck first and if chicken taken down shortly after dark while crop still full, then owl will disgorge crop presumably in effort to reduce weight of catch in preparation for packing it off.
     
  8. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry if I wasn't clear. The chicken was killed between 3:00 and 5:00pm which is still full daylight now this time of year.

    Almost nothing was disturbed on the hen's body. I took a look at it and the neck was so cleanly severed there was almost no blood or disruption of feathers. In fact, I only saw two small feathers on the ground from her abdomen, where it was opened. I was amazed at how clean the kill was. I thought attacks by birds of prey often were characterized by lots of feathers which would have also confirmed that this kill was by a raccoon, but maybe I am mistaken.
     
  9. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    You could toss some flour around to get some prints. I would set a trap or 2 and see what is in it next day.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Daytime attack not consistent with racoon. Daytime consider hawk. Leave carcass out, possibly in elevated location. If eating fatty parts first, then that may indicate something about predators nutritional status. Watch for hawk/owl being white.
     

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