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Old 01-03-2018, 05:52 PM
usmchawk usmchawk is offline
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Went out today to get the eggs and a raccoon had gotten into the pen and killed four. Know it was a raccoon because the heads were all gone and part of their breasts.

I had a covered shed style roof over their run and the run is built with galvanized hardware cloth. What I never did was close the 8" gap between the top of the hardware cloth (top of the walls of the run, about 5' off the ground) and the roof rafters. I have to assume that's how the raccoon got in there. No holes anywhere, no rips, the door was locked.

Went out an put some temporary plywood strips to cover the gaps in the front and side, but there are still 4" gaps on the backside where the 2x4 rafters lay on top of the back wall.

Can a raccoon get in those 4" gaps? I've also heard putting rags soaked in ammonia will keep the raccoons away. Any thoughts?

In 2.5 years I haven't had a single chicken die from a predator - I suspect the frigid temps we've been having on the East Coast is causing them to come out of their dens for calories.
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:54 PM
AZ_HighCountry AZ_HighCountry is offline
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Yes, a raccoon can get in through those gaps.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:02 PM
богдан богдан is offline
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Originally Posted by usmchawk View Post
Went out today to get the eggs and a raccoon had gotten into the pen and killed four. Know it was a raccoon because the heads were all gone and part of their breasts.

I had a covered shed style roof over their run and the run is built with galvanized hardware cloth. What I never did was close the 8" gap between the top of the hardware cloth (top of the walls of the run, about 5' off the ground) and the roof rafters. I have to assume that's how the raccoon got in there. No holes anywhere, no rips, the door was locked.

Went out an put some temporary plywood strips to cover the gaps in the front and side, but there are still 4" gaps on the backside where the 2x4 rafters lay on top of the back wall.

Can a raccoon get in those 4" gaps? I've also heard putting rags soaked in ammonia will keep the raccoons away. Any thoughts?

In 2.5 years I haven't had a single chicken die from a predator - I suspect the frigid temps we've been having on the East Coast is causing them to come out of their dens for calories.
yes and they can get between the wire where it overlaps if you dont stitcj it together with wire
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:13 PM
TENNGRIZZ TENNGRIZZ is offline
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if I lived closer I could bring my hounds and solve your problem.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:27 PM
swamppapa swamppapa is online now
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I had a coon rip the shingles and plywood on the roof OFF. made a hole about 4x6 inches crawl in and kill 3 hens.
they were our retired crew but coons are determined SOBs
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:34 PM
BadgeBunny BadgeBunny is offline
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I had a coon rip the shingles and plywood on the roof OFF. made a hole about 4x6 inches crawl in and kill 3 hens.
they were our retired crew but coons are determined SOBs
It never ceases to amaze me how little a hole those suckers can squeeze through. And like you I've seen them tear though what we thought was an impenetrable coop -- through the side of ours -- wood panel, insulation and drywall, covered by another wood plywood panel. Hole was not any bigger than what you describe. Coon was still in the coop. Scared the bejeebus outta me. We spent the entire week reinforcing all our pens.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:38 PM
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if I lived closer I could bring my hounds and solve your problem.
Only temporarily. Predators are a renewable resource.

The coop and run I built for my parents was designed with bears in mind.The run is hog wire plus chicken wire, including a full top and there are six strands of electric fence on the walls.

The coop itself is 2x6 studs and plywood and basically impenetrable to animals. It has a door that is closed and latched every night so if anything breaks into the run the coop is not compromised.

They have never lost a chicken to a predator in twelve years.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:42 PM
Kansas Terri Kansas Terri is offline
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Raccoons come in all sizes, from babies to big suckers.

A 4 inch gap might keep out some of the coons, but not all of the coons. I would do something bout that gap
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:06 PM
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The coop I built is actually mouse proof....to many problems with mice coming in and eating chicken food otherwise.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:20 PM
Lugh MacArawn Lugh MacArawn is offline
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Essentially, if they can get their head in it, they can squeeze their body through.

4" is big enough, particularly if it is a gap, as opposed to a hole. A 4" hole is big enough, a gap just makes it easier for them.

Sounds like it is time for you go Davy Crockett and get a new hat!
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:22 PM
S610 S610 is offline
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Don't use ammonia soaked rags!!

Poop buildup in a coop that lets off too much ammonia (especially in winter) can lead to chicken respiratory infections. Actually using ammonia soaked rags near the birds will tear up their lungs and could kill them.

So you have a 4" gap in the hen house itself? Yeah that is not good, also seems like it would be very cold for the birds this time of year.

This may have been the first raid in 2 years, but now that they have found a way into the coop and know it is full of delicious chicken I would expect another raid again soon. Seal that thing up asap.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:33 PM
rfmanning rfmanning is offline
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Buddy had a problem with coyotes getting his chickens. He got a couple geese. Geese are the meanest animals in the world. Problem solved.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:49 PM
Highsteelman Highsteelman is offline
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They are determined little buggers with apposing thumbs. They will rip through tear into and open anything they can and if there is one there is more. Id close it up with chicken wire and 2x4s Try the geese or a couple turkeys, they have the added bonus of thanksgiving dinner. A good dog patrolling the yard helps too. We trap them too, they get smart to the traps quick tho. Keep the 22 by the door, if you get the chance make a hat or two. Id say they are about the worst varmint you can get hanging about due to their destructive nature. We have a shoot on sight policy at the farm.
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:18 AM
fistfulladirt fistfulladirt is offline
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A mink could also easily get thru that 4" gap. They can climb like a squirrel.
We thought we had 'coon problems and turned out to be land-lubber mink. Chewed off the heads and ripped the breast of my hens. Caught some mink with traps, and shot some.
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:19 AM
workquik workquik is offline
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I had a horrific number of raccoons when I first bought my property. Lost a few chickens until I closed all the small gaps. After that I kept three baited live traps around the enclosure. Caught about fifteen the first week. My neighbor took em for the skins and boiled the carcasses for his dogs.

That was then and this is now. Five years later I haven't caught one in a year
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:09 AM
347PS 347PS is offline
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Nothing but the heads gone ? I think weasel ?
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:31 AM
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Iamfarticus Iamfarticus is online now
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Years back I saw one getting off my old aluminum porch through the smallest opening against the house, couldn't believe something that big could squeeze through an opening that small.

We have our share of 'coons. Make sure the garbage is always in the cans, funny how they don't try to open the lids which are 4 feet off the ground and not secured. I see them around with kittens at times, but they are hardly a nuisance for us.

To the OP, somebody mentioned a weasel, are they in the area? Foxes are able to jump fairly high and climb, not sure how high. Fox by me keeps the rabbit population in check, the 'coons leave them alone, AFAIK.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:40 AM
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Patch up pen solid so it can not be broken into again. Use the dead hens as bait in the back of a cage trap. A coon or possum will go back to eat the rest in a cage trap. Mink/weasel will want more fresh hens. to set for them place a woodn post or long firewood at a 45 degrees. Wire an anchor a long spring #1 or #1.5 to the top of the 45 degree post. He will climb the post for a high sight advantage and be caught in the set trap at the end. Lil 110 conibear or 120 will catch a head trying to squeeze thru a hole. These type traps should be around a farm of any size that has chickens.

Good luck killing the varmint!
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:07 AM
S610 S610 is offline
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If their hen house is secured you don't need to be baiting traps and killing the local wildlife. Both coons and people will take up the offer for an easy free meal and that is what an unsecure hen house provides. Besides putting out tempting bait could easily attract MORE that otherwise wouldn't have messed with the coop at all.

I lost some chicks to a rat snake, I didn't set out to get "revenge" just because the animal was hungry and discovered tasty chicks right in their home territory, i just make sure the hen house was secure (since that wasn't the only snake in the area).
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:01 AM
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If their hen house is secured you don't need to be baiting traps and killing the local wildlife. Both coons and people will take up the offer for an easy free meal and that is what an unsecure hen house provides.

I lost some chicks to a rat snake, I didn't set out to get "revenge" just because the animal was hungry and discovered tasty chicks right in their home territory, i just make sure the hen house was secure (since that wasn't the only snake in the area).
I do not approve of using it, but the bird netting used to protect berries from birds when placed so that snakes crawl through it will capture snakes. Acts like a gill net.
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