Why Did This Raccoon Eat Our Chickens?

NathanAndHannah

Hatching
Jul 16, 2016
2
0
7
This is my first thread on this site. We have read some stuff on BYC that helped us out before. What I couldn't find out is how a raccoon, while right next to a bunch of chickens, wouldn't go in for the kill.

We were coming home from work at around 7:30 PM, on Friday, and it was still daytime. Right when we pulled up this raccoon was right next to our five chickens. Our chickens were not even making any noise and the raccoon didn't bother them. This puzzled us and got me a little worried. We got out of the car and the raccoon went up a tree. I went inside the house and grabbed my rifle. I aimed and fired, but I missed, and the bugger got away.

Today, this Saturday, our older rooster (Randy) was alerted and I went to the door. That coon was under the porch staring right at the chickens and ran off without noticing me. I got my rifle just in case it went after them. Well it never did. I'm wondering what's going on because it was eating the chicken's food but it didn't attack them. I'm hoping to catch it next to the chickens again tomorrow while we're off work. If I get a video or a picture then you'll see what we're seeing.

I wonder if this coon is afraid of Randy. He is a bit big. He's bigger than the other roosters. We used to leave him out at night because he'd complain about getting locked up in the coop. He would sleep right next to the window of our bed. We would see raccoons, even possums, leave him alone. This went on for months. But one night, we were woken up by Randy screaming and I raced out the door to find a coon right on top of him. I yelled at it to get off and it ran away. Randy ran while being freaked out and I went over to calm him down. This is why we don't keep Randy out anymore.

Before we go to work, we used to lock up our chickens. We don't do this anymore because they were unhappy. They use to get along too and now they fight in the coop. We think it's because we only have two hens and three roosters.
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Randy has claimed ownership over them and won't let the other two near them.

Anyway... we are not sure what to do about this raccoon. Because of its strange behavior, could it be rabid? Could it be a domesticated raccoon? I have heard of people taming them and say they won't hurt chickens. But we are really confused and unsure of what to do.
 

Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
2,881
3,940
296
Missouri
Welcome to BYC.

That raccoon may be sick, but as long as it's running around and eating, it may not be, even if it is daylight hours.

If it is small, or at least not large, it may be a juvenile and may not yet know that chickens taste better than chicken feed. It is only a matter of time before it does. Sounds like it has grown attached to things around your place and isn't going anywhere.

If your birds are left out to run around with the raccoon, it is only a matter of time (and not long at that) before it does attack and kill them. Most likely all of them. If you can't manage a way to safely shoot him running, best solution for him is to trap him so you can shoot him standing. Either a live cage trap or a Duke dog proof raccoon trap will work with raccoons.

If I had to guess, you bought 5 chicks and they were straight run (not sexed), so three turned out to be roosters?

Three roosters are two too many. For eggs alone, you really don't need any. If you don't want to trap the raccoon you could get rid of all three roosters and the two remaining hens will probably get along just fine inside the safety of the coop. No, they probably won't like it as much as running around free, but will live longer. If varmints are able to get to them that easily, you can probably chalk them up as already gone. Not a matter of IF, only WHEN.
 

CrowHollowFarm

Chirping
Feb 15, 2015
99
58
96
VA
I don't think this sounds like a sick raccoon, and it may have been a pet at one time. I would trap it and call the local game warden to deal with it. If it gets the first taste you will have a tough time catching it with anything but chicken.
 

Rock Home Isle

Songster
7 Years
Apr 25, 2012
2,146
229
188
Northern Frontrange of Colorado
Sounds pretty miraculous...you are very lucky.

It could be that it's showing up to eat the chicken mash...but the fact that this particular raccoon has not decimated your flock...boggles the mind.

Go to Vegas, buy a lottery ticket...luck is with you.
 

sebloc

Chirping
May 7, 2016
246
18
61
Connecticut
If the raccoon is out at those times of the day, it most likely has rabies. Did you check for signs of rabies? Not sure if it can, but it may be able to give your chickens rabies (which would suck). Once we had a raccoon in our garbage can and, shortly after opening the lid in mid day, it jumped out at us, and we almost had a heart attack. We noticed foam around the mouth and called animal control. Surprisingly, the raccoon didn't go after the chickens that were in the garage.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,892
33,228
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Raccoons can be carriers of rabies, but raccoons in the middle of the day do not necessarily mean rabies. As previously stated, the fact that it runs from you indicates that it probably doesn't. Raccoons are opportunists. They will eat whenever food is available. Yours may just be content with the easy meal of feed right now. That could change. Tame raccoons WILL kill chickens. My uncle worked with a guy who had raccoons in a cage, just off the ground. He lost chickens when the chickens would walk under the cage and the raccoons would pop their heads off.

Three roosters are two too many. For eggs alone, you really don't need any. If you don't want to trap the raccoon you could get rid of all three roosters and the two remaining hens will probably get along just fine inside the safety of the coop. No, they probably won't like it as much as running around free, but will live longer. If varmints are able to get to them that easily, you can probably chalk them up as already gone. Not a matter of IF, only WHEN.

I agree with Howard E here. Get rid of the roosters, coop your hens until you figure out what to do about the raccoon.
 

NathanAndHannah

Hatching
Jul 16, 2016
2
0
7
I don't think this sounds like a sick raccoon, and it may have been a pet at one time. I would trap it and call the local game warden to deal with it. If it gets the first taste you will have a tough time catching it with anything but chicken.

Yeah, I just hope the raccoon doesn't get our chickens tomorrow while we are at work. Hopefully, I can do something about it tonight. Like I said, we don't have a trap right now.
hmm.png

Sounds pretty miraculous...you are very lucky.

It could be that it's showing up to eat the chicken mash...but the fact that this particular raccoon has not decimated your flock...boggles the mind.

Go to Vegas, buy a lottery ticket...luck is with you.

LOL Thanks! But I don't think I have had much luck with lottery tickets in the past. Maybe my luck has changed?
smile.png
 

JackAubrey

In the Brooder
9 Years
Dec 30, 2010
32
3
31
Just shoot the raccoon and be quit of it! Those masked monsters kill chickens and rabbits! Death to raccoons, says I!
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,892
33,228
1,092
On the MN prairie.
You might want to consider building a run attached to your coop. We have two coops, both with attached runs, even though our chickens free range from morning till night whether we're home or not. It's nice to have the attached runs because we can lock them up if something is lurking about, visiting family comes with their dogs, or we're going to be gone for a few days. If this were happening here (it won't because our dog does a good job of keeping raccoons and other assorted creatures at bay) those chickens would be on lock-down until the threat were disposed of.
 

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