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May 31, 2008


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Sara Andreason

I came across your blog as I was surfing the internet in search of information on keeping the racoon's out of the Hen house. This morning I experienced my first invasion of the masked killer. I was jolted awake by a crash and a loud squeal, I ran outside and because it was pitch dark could only make the outline of something dragging my "Holly go lightly" Polish crested chicken over the fence. My heart sank! I know that I should'nt become attached to a chicken, but I had raised her from a chick in the bathtub and I was smitten. Her brother and sister (salt n Pepa) are a little shell shocked but doing fine. My chicken coop now resembles a small Martha Stewart Fort Knox. Bring it Racoonie, bring it! This is one city chick that knows how to rumble. I took your advice and put chicken wire all around the fence and made sure that there were no gaps.


I'm not sure how they skull is attached but we had a raccoon somehow squeezed itself in under the porch door (about 1.5" gap) and do what they're infamous for inside some time ago. They also can open latches and carbines. BTW, I've heard stories of them going right trough the chicken wire ... so I usually use heavier gauges where it matters. Then again, we also have coyotes to worry about.

>It seems like out here in the country you come face to face with the realities of nature more often, the life and death daily struggles that animals face out here.

Interesting :) I think about this almost every day. Also about chances - it seems that in the nature fortune plays much bigger role than in our organized world ... trees falling down ... snake under my tractor's wheel ... tiny baby bunny that our dogs almost stepped on but didn't notice ... me accidentally showing on the pasture just in time to scare away the coyotes and save our Jack Russel... it's easy to become a philosopher in the country :)


I love your statement that it's easy to become a philosopher in the country, Leon! How very true! We do get to see a bit more of the whim and fancy of nature out here... everything was so much more in control in the city. It sounds like you love it as much as we do! Thanks so much for stopping by our blog and I look forward to reading more of your insightful comments!


Thanks ... I have these writing moments sometimes ... very rarely, actually. Which is a good thing :)

I do love living close to the nature very much. I love the spiral cycles that rule everything - from daily sunshine movements to the seasons change. I love that my chores are the same but different every day. Believe it or not, I even love the fact that no matter what I must get up right after the sunrise to open some gates and to close some others :)

To think about it, it actually makes me feel more in control than the city chaos ... even though there are always sad moments when Mother Nature not very gently points out your mistakes. Oh well ... You live, you learn, you die stupid :)


Hi there .. chicken wire is not going to keep racoons out of the coop. You should seriously look at patching the coop with a heavy gauge wire .. at the very least hardware cloth.

An Animal Lover

Hi! We just experienced this today too....2 of our 5 chickens were taken 2 nights ago & I wondered if someone had forgot to latch the gate? Then last night 2 more were taken and left our final rooster alive. They left a dead body behind too. We also raised these as pets and were devastated. I have brought the remaining rooster into a pet crate in our garage until we can rebuild something stronger. It was just awful...Signed, An animal lover


Dear Animal Lover,
I'm so sorry about your chickens!! It is truly devastating to experience such a tragedy.

Since that first raccoon attack, we heavily fortified our chicken coop, and I am happy to report that we have been able (so far) to keep any more night-time marauders out- so it can be done! Although it's a terrible way to learn a lesson, the horror of it all really made us take securing our chicken coop seriously, and it sounds like it was the same for you, too.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you that you are able to re-build your flock and keep them protected...thanks so much for stopping by our blog and best of luck to you!


Hi, what type of lock did you use for the coop?. I just built one and am worried that my latch is not good enough to keep the raccoons out. thanks


Hi Nick,
We use a sliding latch that is actually quite tight, and therefore difficult to unlatch. I would not suggest a typical "hook" latch, as I imagine a raccoon might figure that one out. Maybe try asking at your hardware store for latches that are childproof- anything that a child could get into, assume a raccoon could as well. Those rascals are clever! Good luck!


We got lax about shutting the small door on our coop and lost three to a coon a few nights ago - two newer pullets and our beautiful cochin. Needless to say, we're locking the coop up tight from now on. We had no problems for years, but it was quite a scene of horror. We were fortunate most of the hens roost up high and were out of the coon's reach that fateful night.


It was horrible & so very sad :( We got up this morning and found 1 hen on the coop floor breathing her last breaths, and the other hen had been dragged out of the coop, across their pen (at least 20 ft), up & over a 6 foot chainlink fence, then across a 45 ft lower pen, then 15 more feet into some tall weeds- the raccoon ate a portion of her back & left the rest. The remaining 5 hens & 1 rooster were frantic, to say the least- and who could blame them!
The neighbor came over & fed the 5 hens & 1 rooster some grain at 6:30pm tonight, and by the time we got home at 10:45pm & went to shut the little coop door (surrounded by the 6' chainlink w/chicken wire pen) the raccoon had already been back and got another of our hens. :'-( Poor hens- they were really good layers!!
The coop doors are closed tight & locked and won't be opened until tomorrow morning, then the raccoons are going to get the surprise, rather than us & the chickens!


ive lost all but two hens this summer to those raccoons. i have my rooster left too, but hes been beat up defending his hens. they now sleep in my window sill in the kitchen. after raccoon proofing the coop yet again i forced my flock into the coop two nights ago to weather out the storm that was coming. sadly, in the morning i had lost yet another hen. the coons had actually pulled boards off my coop walls to get in! it was a mess of a kill site. and guilt on my end for literally picking up all the chickens and placing them in there for the night thru their protest cries.
last night we had +7 coons out there!
so far they have stayed away from the house, so my chickens are more then welcome at this point to live in the windows at night.
moral to my story...nature knows best,let the animals instincts guide them (and us). if they want to roost some where, leave them to their choices.


So many sad stories. I found this site by Googling about how to keep raccoons out after we found all three of our girls gone and a mess of blood and feathers left behind. My daughter was devastated. We raised them from day old chicks and she was especially attached to them. Martha, Nugget, Dolomite...poor girls.

We picked up 4 pullets and I did quite a bit of work on the coop to fortify it, but I'm still scared. I went out this morning to find a few boards that had been pried a bit, only a centimeter or so, but it's obvious that they really wanted back in there. I feel like wrapping the whole coop in hardware cloth.


Stephanie Hacking

We woke up to our first chicken trauma this morning...we hatched our chicks from eggs in my son's kindergarten class...we've had them out in the chicken tractor since May with no problems...until this morning...we had 4 hens...one which had just begun to lay eggs a week ago... we are now down to one, who fortunately got away. I was surprised how attached you get to them. I was heartbroken when I ran out at 6 in the morning after hearing their panicked clucking to find 3 of them laid out on my grass...feathers everywhere :(It's even more pitiful to watch the one that's left--she is lonely and has been clucking around the backyard all day looking for her buddies...It's like you said--us city folk have to learn the hard way sometimes...dang it


i went out at 5am this morning and found my silkie beheaded,two others completely gone,without a trace,no blood no feathers,nothing,my rooster was unharmed and my other silkie face was over half gone and she was still breathing,we had to put her down ourselves because we knew she wasnt going to make it anyways.spent the whole day crying and asking why how did this happen. there was a two inch gap at the rafters in the hen house and apparently the coon squeeze in through there and out again.my heart is broken,they were like my children,raise from babies and each had their own name and personality.my heart goes out to each one that has suffered the same loss.


Must be the season for raccoon raids. 2 nights ago we lost one hen, and blamed it on my daughter not latching the pop door. Last night at about 10, she heard lots of clucking.... 2 andalusians were beheaded and the door was latched! Long story short.... the raccoon was still in the nesting boxes. We ended up destroying the raccoon. We'll see tonight if roof fortifications hold off any other intruders. I know what you all mean about losses. It seems like the ones we lost were named! We've raised them since they were day olds, too. :(

Susan Griffith

I ran a hotwire along the entire coop and pen, covered the run with bird netting (owls and hawks) and one day noticed that my red frizzle hen (about 6 months old) was missing. I went all over that pen looking for a way something could have gotten in or out, but nothing. I remembered that my grandkids were there that day and I had unplugged the hotwire so they wouldn't get shocked and completly forgot to plug it back in. So I guess somehow, someway something got in there and picked my frizzle off. My father - in - law told me to get a big dog and tie him up by the pen and that would keep critters away. I also bought a solar powered burgler alarm that has a 120 degree range on it, that goes off with a siren and alarm and human voice. I hope this helps, I won't know unless something happens again. Just got some Lady Amherst chicks and will be putting them in a seperate pen, so I will extend the hotwire. Good Luck everybody.


My heart hurts, I came home to one hen missing the other night. I thought someone had let her out,and could not get her back in, but that does not seem to be the case. I had three Bantams. With one gone, I spent a good part of the day tending to my remaining two. . . a rooster, Fred, and a new chick, Pearl, which followed me around and insisted on sitting in my lap every chance she got. This morning all that remains are feathers, wings, an a foot. OUTSIDE of the coop!!!! How? I do not understand. . . .our coop was and still is locked up tight. There is no gap, no missing boards, no broken wires.


Does anyone know if electric fences will work to keep a coon out? I knew we had a visitor over the last few nights, but the chickens were all there (we only have four) the visitor seemed to only be eating the layer pellets. "he" had come over a six foot fence, I know this because the top of the fence was bent down, opened the hook and eye latches on the door and entered to eat. The next day I re-secured the door with better locks, the next night he ate through the door. (cheap plywood) The next day I put a new door on made of much stronger wood. I also put two large eyehooks on each side of the door and ran a piece of Rebar through. I felt the door was as secure as a prison. My wife and I were awoken tonight to chicken screams, When I went out, the chickens were screaming, I checked the door and It was secure and in place, I opened the large door to the coop and two chickens came out, the other two I figured were in the egg box. I opened the egg box to find two chickens and a raccoon, all seemed to be in shock (including me) I hit the side of the coop with a baseball bat and the coon took off out of the main door, the chicken although scared were not injured. Turns out the coon had opened the egg box and climbed in. The top of the egg box was also made of cheap plywood so I just removed it and secured a stronger piece of wood in its place (without hinges) just screwed down. (it’s now 5am) Coons seem to be very crafty, So now back to the original question… Does anyone know if electric fences will work to keep a coon out?


The same just happened on New Years 2012. 6 of our chicks were maimed and that bandit didn't even bother to take along the other 2 and 1/4 (I'll leave you to imagine that) that it killed. It was devastating because I raised all 15 from the egg and watched 6 die. Seems like boarding up the coop wasn't a good idea either. It helps to have a roosting post up high for the chickens, but last night it looks like our chicks decided to sleep on the bottom of the coop.

Cherokee Scot

Have a heart live traps baited with sardines. And then take em on a vacation somewhere far away.

Bradford Allen

Raccoons are clever more than ever when it comes to getting their food. I learned that lesson when raccoons started getting my crops constantly. What I did was seek help from an authority who knows his way about legally and safely removing wildlife. Next, I had my produce fenced with strong chicken wires. Luckily, I haven’t seen any of the raccoons in my garden again.

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