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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.

  11. #11
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Whenever we had chickens we had to lock them in at night. They survived until I got up to let them out, lol.

    The ONE time I was late coming home and did not get back to after dark, something got in and got them all. It was HORRIBLE. I felt so bad.

  12. #12
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I think my solution is going to be putting a door on the small part of their run (4'x8') that goes out into the main area. The hen house is butted up against and opens into this little run so I could lock that run in the evening or even when we left out of town and they'd still have access to the outside, just not as much as normal. But that run is the covered part of their outside area so they spend a good majority of their time in there anyways (shade and rain protection). It's made of very heavy duty wire with squares too small for a coon or possum to get through. I suppose if something wanted to tunnel under the chickens could still be in danger, but I can't keep them in Fort Knox. :?

  13. #13
    Senior Member thelondonzoo's Avatar
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    We have raccoons in my area too. My husband installed a motion sensor light near the chicken house and then surrounded their pens with cinder blocks. We've never had a problem of them getting to our chickens.

  14. #14
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Be sure your chicken wire covers completely. They are tricky. We ended up with the shotgun solution, after I went in the henhouse and the fat raccoon was on top of the divider wall. By then, he had already gotten nearly a third of the flock, and thought there was a red and white bucket on top of the henhouse just for him. He was getting in just below the rafters,an area I thought would have been too small.

    The one we had would leave feet and a pile of feathers. If it turns out to be dogs, some of the dog tag money (in NY anyway) goes to replacing predation.

  15. #15
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
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    WE had a raccoon in our subdivision yard & it ate most of my big fish out of my pond. I bought very cheap hot sauce from Aldi's & watered it down, then sprinkled it around the pond & at the base of all the trees in my yard. Raccoons don't like the smell. We haven't had a problem since. I just re-sprinkle it every once in awhile to keep the smell "fresh". Maybe if you did this around the chicken house, it would help. I got the idea from some place on the internet.

  16. #16
    Super Member caliquocat's Avatar
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    We had raccoons raiding our fish pond & killing fish & tearing up plants until my DH installed a low current electric wire used for fencing in animals. It's about 10 inches off the ground making it difficult for anything to step over or go under without getting a good sting. It's on a timer & turns on after dark & off just before dawn. (No more problem.) I don't know if this would be feasible for you to surround your chicken pen.

  17. #17
    Super Member Susie Quilter's Avatar
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    I sure am going to follow this one since we just built a chicken coop. We get our chickens on the 27th. I hope I don't have the problems that you all have had.

  18. #18
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    We always lock ours up at night too.

  19. #19
    Member neayact's Avatar
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    We have fox issues here.
    My brother saw it carrying one of our chickens across the yard. We have netting over our cage so animals can't get in anywhere.
    Haven't heard of racoons going after them.

  20. #20
    Senior Member redturtle's Avatar
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    you need to go to tractor supply and get the smaller fencing...not chicken wire because predatory critters can chew thru that thin wire...the kind of wire that they use to make rabbit cages with...the openings are too small for raccoons to reach thru and grab the chickens...just put it around the bottom...i think its 2 or 3 feet tall...thats all you need

  21. #21
    Super Member Susie Quilter's Avatar
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    Hmmmm.....I guess we will go get the smaller wire and put over the top of the chicken wire that we already have.



    Quote Originally Posted by redturtle
    you need to go to tractor supply and get the smaller fencing...not chicken wire because predatory critters can chew thru that thin wire...the kind of wire that they use to make rabbit cages with...the openings are too small for raccoons to reach thru and grab the chickens...just put it around the bottom...i think its 2 or 3 feet tall...thats all you need

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