There are several predators that will attack, and likely kill, the chickens in your backyard if you’re don’t take appropriate steps to protect them. We have already highlighted a variety of chicken predators on our blog but you can now add raccoons to that list.
Raccoons are yet another predator that you need to look out for when it comes to protecting your chickens.
Raccoons can often be found rummaging around near chicken coops and will look for any opportunity to strike at a moment’s notice. Raccoons often take small birds whole but adult chickens will often be eaten where they are killed. They sometimes will take the head off of the chicken but not always. Raccoons are also known to bite the backs of chickens and tear through their necks and breasts while eating them.
Raccoons are known to reach inside of chicken pens, grab chickens by the head, and pull them out through wire fences. Often, chickens’ heads will come off when this happens, leaving their bodies behind. However, raccoons can often squeeze into openings as well.
In addition to going after chickens, raccoons love chicken eggs. Typically, you’ll find empty shells or bits of fur located inside and near chicken nests when a raccoon is to blame for missing eggs. You may also find coarse hair scattered around near the opening of a coop when a raccoon has been inside of it. Many raccoons kill for fun and will come back nightly and sometimes travel in family packs.
There are some simple steps you can take to protect your chickens from raccoons such as removing potential raccoon den sites. Because raccoons have paws that work like human hands, it’s important to use things like snap hooks and carabiner clips to stop them from being able to open latches and gates. It’s also important to avoid allowing chickens to roam too early in the morning or too late at night and to put up fencing around a chicken coop that isn’t wide enough for a raccoon to reach through. Move chickens indoors at night and use at least 16 gauge cloth fencing that is half an inch by half an inch because they can chew through lower quality wire. Cover your chicken coop with a roof and eliminate tree limbs that might help raccoons climb over the top of the fencing.
You should also clean up your chicken coop and remove anything that might attract raccoons such as food or water sources. Raccoons are scavengers that will often go after anything edible. If you keep your chicken coop clean, they’re less likely to come around sniffing for food.
If you have any questions about how to protect your chickens further, contact Chickens for Backyards at 888-412-6715 today. And make sure you come back soon to read other blog posts about dealing with the most common chicken predators.