Backyard chicken coops have become a popular way to raise an interesting pet while providing your family with delicious eggs – but what happens when those pesky raccoons come to play? Here’s how to protect your coop.
Raising chickens in a backyard coop is easy and fun – and let’s not forget delicious. Although raccoons can be cute at times but definitely not when they’re trying to get at your chickens and their feed. Because of the urban style of raising chickens in city settings, raccoons (and other pesky predators) can become a huge issue. Once they’ve had a taste of what you have to offer, they can seem impossible to get rid of completely.
Raccoons usually eat fruits and other foods they can find in garbage cans, etc, but they will most definitely try a taste of chicken if they can. They love killing birds, including chickens, sometimes just for the fun of it. If a family of raccoons gets into your coop, you could find all of them dead, torn apart, with only a few bits actually consumed.
Here are some tips for protecting your chicken coop from raccoons – hopefully before they become a problem. With perseverance, however, you can get rid of your predator problem in time.
- Keep your coop fully enclosed.
You may not want to keep your chickens cooped up constantly, but when you’re not around to supervise their backyard roam, you should definitely ensure they are safe inside. Remember, raccoons and other predators can climb and dig, so keep an eye on any spots that may become vulnerable. Have your fencing go beneath the ground a bit, use mesh/cloth around the coop to keep their hands from reaching in, and double enforce any openings so raccoons can’t use their smarts to get in. You can usually find raccoon-proof latches to use on gates and coop doors that are more foolproof to raccoon hands.
- Keep any open water at a minimum.
Raccoons love water to drink and bathe in. If you’re raising backyard chickens, try to lead raccoons away by not offering them a free spa to nest near. Wading pools left out, birdbaths, etc. are all very attractive to raccoons.
- Lock up your sheds, etc.
Raccoons love to nest indoors. If you have a shed with an open window, they’ll get in there pronto. If your coop is accessible, they’ll attempt to get in there too and be surprised at the meal that awaits them. Lock everything up securely so they will choose to nest elsewhere. Use actual locks, because those nimble raccoon fingers will easily unlatch doors and other closures.
- Keep your feed out of the way.
Raccoons can smell chicken feed. If your feeder is open or you usually throw it into the coop around feeding time, the smell of it can lead the neighbourhood to feast. Using an enclosed feeder, such as a Grandfather feeder that only allows access by the chickens and keeps the smell to a minimum, will help with this problem.
If you want to learn more about protecting your chickens, check out the rest of our blog here or reach out to get a conversation started!