Basically, the goal is to make sure that your coop is secure from every possible angle. Taking steps to protect chickens from predators should be on every chicken owner’s mind. If a raccoon has targeted your chickens and you’ve bought or borrowed a live trap, here are several steps to take to safeguard your birds. PredatorGuard flashes a pair of red lights that animals think is a set of eyes. As long as the gap is closed or made small enough that a raccoon can’t get even a single “finger” through to the inside of the coop, your chickens should be safe. It’s so simple and cheap to make! They’re also extra challenging because they can climb and dig very well, and their front paws are a lot like human hands, which is both creepy and cute. To make sure your yard and coop is a less attractive place for raccoons, dump out any source of water. But raccoons are notorious for killing the chickens they can grab through chicken wire. Potential Poultry Predators If you are new to raising chickens , you might not even be aware of what predators are around. The raccoon tries to get in there house at night but I think the chickens are safe. To proof against any dedicated diggers, make sure the walls of your coop extend at least a foot below the surface of the earth. Yuck. Raccoons may be clever, but they are still wild animals, and, like most wild animals, can be easily startled or frightened away by the presence of a human guard for the chicken coop. Keep their coops raccoon proofed. To make sure your yard and coop is a less attractive place for raccoons, dump out any source of water. Then, I have an automatic chicken door opener for my chicken coop that lets my hens out into their run (they free-range, but only when my dog is out to keep an eye on them). However, because raccoons are small and agile, there are more factors to take into consideration that could be exploited, including: 1. If wildlife is hungry enough, they’ll work day and night to get at your chickens. So, they become a bigger problem for your chickens. A simple latch may be enough to deter larger and stronger predators, but what raccoons lack in size, they more than make up for in intelligence and manual dexterity. In addition, to make sure that your yard is safe from any predators that might be passing through the neighborhood, try to get rid of anything that would attract a raccoon to your yard in the first place. Chicken wire is more for keeping your chickens in than keeping predators out. So it’s a good idea to leave the area around your chicken coop free of bushes, trees, or anything raccoons can hide behind or under. If you see a raccoon during the day, it could be harmless or it could be diseased, so if you approach it at all, do so with extreme caution. If everything else has failed, you might also be able to humanely trap a raccoon. When those signs are absent, much can be inferred by the way in which the chickens are attacked. Raccoons will also use your chickens’ waterer to wash their food. How Old Are Chickens When They Stop Laying Eggs? However, if you want to spray your entire yard, it may be best to search for a natural pest repellent that you can use without frightening your chickens or any other pets you have at home. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, but, as they adapt more and more to human presence in their habitats, they are starting to hunt more during the day. Please, don't ask me how much this all costs to protect chickens from bobcats, mountain lions, bears, raccoons, weasels, mink, coyote, raccoon, fishers cats, etc. And finally, make sure you protect your home as well as your chicken coop and run. Raccoons can open many latches, so use a latch you can padlock to keep the windows, doors, and other openings on your coop securely locked … Make sure to correct your dog any time it seems to be disturbing your chickens. Raccoons and other predators can tear right through it like tissue paper. For example; raccoons can easily open up … Raccoons will kill ducks. Make sure any latches or doors on your coop are securely fastened with twine or even secured with padlocks, so that a raccoon can’t simply open up the coop and help himself to whatever he finds inside. Good Night, Chickens Finally, it should go without saying that chickens must be tucked safely up in protected coops for the night. If you … Dogs can be some of the best protectors against raccoons. Protecting them is like protecting your chickens. Raccoons will also use your chickens’ waterer to wash their food. Protect Backyard Chickens from Raccoons This week is the beginning of a series that will explore the many predators that threatens the backyard chicken flock. To make sure that your chicken coop is reinforced from above, make sure that the roof meets the walls at every angle, and that there is no gap at the corners or on the straight edges where a raccoon might be able to get a hold. Similarly, many pet supply stores or online retailers offer predator urine for purchase. Raccoons have paws that work a lot like human hands and they’re very smart when it comes to opening your chicken coop door! Steel wool should be used instead of chicken wire to fill in gaps in your coop, but for lengths of fencing, you should be using something like hardware cloth fencing, so that raccoons can’t sneak their hands through the links and break into the coop. In some states, it’s very illegal to trap and relocate a raccoon. My favorite one is this light called PredatorGuard, which I got on Amazon. These predators typically are able to kill, pick up, and carry off an adult chicken.Hawks typically take chickens during the day, whereas owls take them during the night. Another vital step is covering the coop. Also to know is, do raccoons attack chickens during the day? By predator-proofing your chickens’ coop, maintaining a clear, well-lit line of visibility, and keeping the area around the coop free of any potential hiding spots, you can keep these crafty carnivores from devastating your flock, and keep your chickens healthy and safe. Identifying a chicken that was the victim of a raccoon attack is easy. Eggs of the chickens are also known as the feast for predators. All carnivorous and omnivorous creatures would be happy to find a chicken waiting to be dinner. The coop itself is the strongest source of protection for your chickens, and if it’s strong enough, it should do most of the work in deterring predators like raccoons from preying on your flock. One of the best ways to protect chickens from hawks, owls, and eagles is to make sure your chickens have lots of places to hide when a predator is flying overhead. Placing ammonia-soaked rags around the edges of your yard can help deter raccoons from coming into the yard, but it might irritate you and the neighbors as well. If you have fruit trees, nut trees, or berry bushes on your property, check for and pick up ripe and fallen fruit. Using a motion detector light at night is a possibility, although raccoons will quickly become used to it. Check your coop regularly for any holes or gaps, both inside and out, that a raccoon could use to gain entry. One mistake beginner chicken keepers do all the time is using chicken wire thinking their chickens will be protected by it. My favorite lock to keep raccoons (and possibly humans) out of my chicken run is a weatherproof, titanium lock I got from Amazon and a hasp. You should also go to the chicken coop earlier in the evenings before the chickens settle into their coop for the night. Instead of chicken wire, you must use hardware cloth (my favorite is this one from Amazon) for your chicken coop and run. Also, a good livestock dog will help keep the raccoons away. Your email address will not be published. Don’t leave your chickens in an open area. If there are any openings in your roof, make sure they are covered with a small-gap mesh or some other material that will make it impossible for a raccoon to sneak through. If you're interested, you can read my story, 11 Methods to Protect Chickens from Raccoons. I admit I go a little crazy in that post, but I’ve had so many neighbors lose their chickens to predators (especially raccoons) because their chicken coop wasn’t safe. Raccoons are also less likely to try to dig under coops, try to unlock doors, or try to break through a fence when they have to be in the open. One extra thing to take note of is the natural sleep cycle of raccoons. So in this post, I talk about the ins and outs of how to protect chickens from raccoons. … Do not leave your chickens loose in the yard at night, as they will also provide an easy snack for a hungry raccoon. Geese are territorial and can help protect your flock of chickens. For this reason, it’s very important that your chicken coop is easily visible from your house, so that you can respond to threats quickly and effectively. If your coop is not adequately proofed against raccoons, they may tunnel underneath the walls of the coop and enter through this new opening. If you’re thinking about getting a guard dog, keep in mind that dogs usually make better protectors if they were raised around chickens since they were puppies. The coop itself is the strongest source of protection for your chickens, and if it’s strong enough, it should do most of the work in deterring predators like raccoons from preying on your flock. However, because raccoons are small and agile, there are more factors to take into consideration that could be exploited, including: Raccoons may not have opposable thumbs, but they do have an unusually high number of sensory receptors in their “hands” (actually just extremely sensitive front paws), which allows them to perform extremely delicate actions like opening door or unhooking latches. As mentioned in the entry regarding roofs, a raccoon’s physical build makes it able to take advantage of unorthodox routes, and one of those routes is directly beneath your chickens’ feet. Enclose your chickens in a secure coop at night. Changing Your Routine Keep your chickens in a secured location at night. Hands down, my favorite way of keeping raccoons from digging under my chicken coop and run is definitely the coop apron. This can include pet food or even chicken food, which raccoons can smell from a great distance, and can actually invite them to consider your yard as a potential food source for up to three years later. Another easy way to discourage raccoons from visiting your yard is to stop giving them food (intentionally or accidentally). On a similar note, any weak spot in the coop’s walls or surroundings can easily be exploited by a raccoon. Another good way to frighten away potential predators is to install a lighting system around the coop. Your dog doesn’t have to be a trained guard dog, but if it shares the same space as the chickens, its scent can sometimes be enough to deter a threat. Protect From Above Secure the top of the chicken run with aviary netting or deer netting. I have 5 chickens now and they run free in the yard but when the chickens are out in the yard, the raccoon goes in there house and eats the food. Raccoons don’t like the scent of ammonia (and neither do most humans). Think of raccoons as burglars. Especially as raccoons adapt to human habitation, an unsecured trash can serves as a welcome mat for a hungry raccoon, and so they will be far more likely to return to your yard and check for any other easily available sources of food. They can fight off smaller predators such as skunks, weasels, and other rodents. Obviously, predator proofing your coop and run is very important. Daily Collection of Eggs. You should also wait until later in the morning to let the chickens out. I really recommend you replace any chicken wire with 1/4 inch hardware cloth because it really works to keep a variety of predators out. Some dogs are very playful. Chicken wire does well against chickens themselves and larger predators who will be stopped by the presence of a fence, but a raccoon can reach its hands through and tear at the opening until it’s large enough to slip through. Raccoons are yet another predator that you need to look out for when it comes to protecting your chickens. So, if you get a dog, be sure to supervise them at first. No matter what material you settle on, if it’s enough to stop a raccoon from tunneling into the safety of your coop, it should be more than enough to keep your coop and your chickens safe and sound. Raccoon, fox, hawks, bears, bobcats and the neighborhood dog, are all capable of wiping out a flock. I am a podcaster who is starting to put videos out on YouTube. This alone is enough to open up many new access routes for raccoons that may not be available for traditional predators like dogs or coyotes, and you have to plan accordingly when making sure your chicken coop is safe. You don't need to make your chicken coop into a fortress to protect your birds from raccoons, but it helps. Another thing to consider when dealing with predators like raccoons–or, in many cases, rodents like rats and opossums–is that they can climb. Finally, you may want to make sure that there are no large bushes or trees between your house and the chicken coop. Install a Roof. Many friends who have small flocks have purchased live traps to protect their birds but are unsure how to use them, or what to do afterward. The chicken coop is one of the easiest targets for raccoons because they know that it is a source of easy prey. The last thing they want is to be caught. Guard Geese are territorial and can help protect your flock of chickens. In addition to keeping the area between the coop and the house free of any large plants where raccoons can sleep and hide away, there are various measures you can take to make your yard as a whole less appealing to raccoons, including: As mentioned above, scents like ammonia or the proteins found in predator urine are extremely repulsive to raccoons. However, they will make a lot of noise and sound a warning when a predator is near. What are the important steps to take to guard the chickens? 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