When we first got chickens, we weren’t really prepared. Some guy was giving his chickens away and well it just kinda happened. We ended up throwing a makeshift coop together, and well… we ended up with a raccoon in the chicken coop.
Our makeshift chicken coop was just supplies of old fencing, tarps, zip ties and whatever else we could find laying around. We had planned on having chickens but not so suddenly. We were working on saving up enough to get everything they need before we got chickens.
This makeshift coop was temporary, and we constantly worried that it wasn’t predator-proof. We were surprised to see a raccoon in the chicken coop, but not that surprised, because we knew it wasn’t predator-proof.
The Best Detection and Deterrent to Raccoon in The Chicken Coop & Other Predators.
Many people successfully defend their livestock using livestock dogs. We don’t have a livestock dog who lives outside and protect 24 hours. We do have a hunting dog, who is very good at her job.
Our homestead dog is a Black Mouth Cur. These dogs are a mix of Pitbull that are bred to be hunting dogs and loyal family dogs. She has treed many coons in her lifetime. She’s also chased after armadillos and many other animals.
What’s amazing is that when we first got chickens we introduced them, and she somehow understood that they are part of the family. This meant that we were also adding to her daily job as the lead protection analyst. Is that a real job title?
Lol, her role is important. Without her fantastic ears and sense of smell that night we might have lost every single chicken we have!
Our homestead dog, Selah alerted us to their presence and we all went outside. It seems like there was a coon on the lookout, while the other went inside the pen.
So when we first went outside, Selah treed the lookout, but she started smelling around the coop. She started alerting to the pen, and I thought to myself, “No way”. I peeked in and yep there was the masked robber himself in the pen!
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I thought after we wrapped the coop up for the night it looked like Fort Knox.
The redesign looked so much better, but apparently it had some flaws. So I had to get the coon out of the pen, and then we let the dog loose on it. They quarreled in the woods.
We didn’t let the dog get on the coon while in the pen because the chickens and/or the dog may have ended up getting hurt with such limited space. I believe the coon got away, but not unscathed. All of the chickens were miraculously fine though!
We changed the way we wrapped up the coop this time. There was a big gap near the front that we failed to see. The motion detector light came on on a couple of times after we were in bed, but we didn’t see any more visitors that night.
How To Predator Proof A Chicken Coop
- Quality latches with a lock – Having quality latches with locks helps keep out the more crafty creatures like the raccoons, who know how to tackle latches. We lock our latches by slipping a carabiner through the hole.
- Dig-proof coops – It’s very important that predators can’t get in by digging under the pens. This can be remedied by burying galvanized fencing under the coop.
- Strong materials – In our chicken coop tour, you can check out our first chicken coop. It was a store-bought, thin China cedar (which is what most of them are made of.) Cedar is not supposed to mold very easily, and should be strong but this stuff is not!
It ended up molding and rotting after a very rainy summer. We were building a new coop for our chickens (horse trailer coop) when a bear decided he was going to try and rip the roof off this cheaply made, (yet very expensive coop for what you get).
The bear wasn’t super successful, he decided it was too much work and went on to find food elsewhere. Thank goodness, when we put the coop together some of the boards were broken and had to be replaced. It ended up being stronger in the long end, saving our chickens from a terrible death.
Our new coops use real wood, and NONE of that thin crap I could break with my hands. Quality materials matter!
- Keep food and eggs put up at night – It’s important not to draw in predators by storing food out in the open. Having these locked up tight at night just like the chickens can help cut that down. Also make sure you gather eggs at night, because eggs are an easy food source for many animals too.
Read more about predator-proofing your coop, Our One Acre Farm has some great tips too!
I’d love to hear about your encounters with raccoons also! Tell me your stories in the comments!
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