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Thread: Anyone had issues with racoons killing chickens?

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I seem to have a predator issue with my chickens. The total so far is two dead and one totally missing (certainly assumed dead). These are young chickens, less than three years old so I'm not thinking natural causes. First one was a couple months ago. I found her in the chicken house but we had been gone a couple days and she had started decomposing. I couldn't be sure she was actually killed by something. I chalked it up to natural causes because no more turned up dead, until now. Two days ago one chicken went missing. No sign of anything, just gone. Highly unlikely she escaped and left though. These chickens have been both free range and penned up, never going any farther than our yard (which is why they are currently penned. I can't deal with all that poop!) Yesterday I discovered a hen dead in the pen. She was in the corner of the coop, head and wings pulled through the fencing, her chest opened up and gullet gone.

    From my reading it seems this is common coon MO. They will kill the chicken, usually not be able to drag it far and likely will just eat the gullet. They can get in and out without any sign of entry. We have foxes and coyotes but I don't suspect either as both would be able to, and would, cart off the whole bird. Also it seems a fox will typically kill many, if not all, the chickens in one night. As the chickens get worked up it puts the fox in a frenzy. A coyote can't climb fencing so they'll usually dig in. There's no digging or fence disturbance anywhere. I'm thinking a coon is my biggest suspest.

    So other than killing the coon, is there any way to deter them from coming around the chicken yard at night? I don't have dogs, so nothing around the house to scare the coon off naturally. I can lock my hen house at night but only when we're home. When we leave for a few days I can't leave the chickens locked in their house. Plus they want to be out and about long before I'm up in the morning and they were rather ticked this morning at being locked up. I suppose if that's my only option though I'll have to do it whenever possible. Any advice or ideas are appreciated!

  2. #2
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    We had this issue several years back and turned out we had a snake issue as well as coons. They were killing the chickens. SHort of traps for the racoons not sure what you can do.

  3. #3
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    We had issues with foxes getting our chickens.They will kill the chicken(usually ripping off its head).They kill 2 or 3,let them lay close until they need to eat.

  4. #4
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    It could be a possum. Check the to see if there is a hole where they can get in. I had to place a 4x4 board around the bottom of the fence. Check your fence to make sure there is not any hole they can get in. Can you tell if they were tring to pull the hen though the face, if so that means your fence may have to large of a hole. As for snakes I put out moth balls. It work !!! I hope this helps. PS I use chain link fence. So sorry this is happening )))))hugs(((((

  5. #5
    Senior Member 1234Irene's Avatar
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    We raise chickens ourselves, if it is a coon getting them, you will need to trap it and relocate it, or it will continue having a buffet until there is no more. An inexpensive cat trap works great baited with sardines works wonderful. When my DH wakes up, I will ask him about this, as he is extemely knowledgeable about chickens.

  6. #6
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    We had possums killing our chickens when we lived in Mississippi.

    Only thing I can suggest short of murder is live traps. The local humane society may have some to lend you. Or you can buy them from the local farm store or Harbor Freight has them too.

  7. #7
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    The only way to keep them safe is to lock them up at night. We have to do this and if we're not home have to arrange for someone to do it. It's a pain, but part of having animals.

    Here, we have possums, raccoons, neighborhood cats and hawks so have to always be on the look out.

  8. #8
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I had a fox problem earlier this year. But I actually saw the culpret. It was taking a chicken a day. I think it had kits. But my neighbor found a dead fox in the street (hit by a car) last week and I haven't had any losses this week. I have a dog but she is a senior and not as alert as she used to be.

    Sounds like you may have both fox and raccoon. In my experience the fox will carry off it's kill and the only evidence you will find, if any, is a pile of feathers. But what you describe could be raccoon or mink or weasel and you need to get rid of whatever it is, or it will dessimate your flock. Trapping or an exterminator is in order as well as trying to keep your girls out of harms way by locking them up at night. Dogs are nice too. You could consider getting a dog to protect your flock. I understand the Great Pyrenees breed is a wonderful flock garding dog. But also a very big hairy dog too.

  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    you should try to make another fencing around the chicken coop with space in between the coop and the new fencing. to prevent what ever it is from being able to reach them. talk about scared chickens! it must be horrible. good luck.

  10. #10
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    Could you borrow a hunter's "trail cam"? We had a guest eating the cat food and after setting up the camera we discovered it was a raccoon.

    BUT when we had chickens, we had a problem with foxes getting them. No pics to verify it but defintely foxes. Made sure the chickens were snug in their pen each night.

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