All About Chicken Predators

All You Need To Know About Protecting Your Chickens


Raccoons

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Raccoons are nocturnal, and also have opposable thumbs, like we do. This means that they can get into more complicated latches, and so a padlock is the best option.

Distribution:
Raccoons are seen across the USA, Southern Canada, Mexico, and as far south as Northern Argentina. They are seen in both rural and urban environments, but avoid higher, colder mountainous regions such as the Rockies.

Prey: Raccoons are omnivorous. They will eat fleshy fruits, nuts, rubbish, grains, insects, fish, turtles, birds eggs, rodents, young rabbits, poultry, carrion and some crops such as corn. They have been identified as a major threat to some species of wildlife, and have wiped out some populations of wildfowl.

Raccoons also pose a health risk to you and your animals, as they can carry rabies, distemper, coccidiosis (very nasty for chickens), trichinosis, tuberculosis, round worm and infectious enteritis as well as fleas and ticks.

Control: You can deter them from living around your home by making sure that your rubbish bin (trash can) has snaps on it. You can also put the bin in your garage, large wooden box or similar or place ammonia in it. Make sure you don't leave cat or dog food outside, and don't feed wild birds where raccoons can get to it.

Prevent your house or outbuildings being made into a home for raccoons. One of the most effective ways of keeping raccoons out of roofspace is to cap the chimney, but make sure that there aren't any raccoons in there when you do that, or they will cause a lot of damage whilst trying to get out. Also, repair loose shingles and any holes near the eaves.

An electric fence will also keep raccoons away.

You can trap them with a live trap. Suitable baits are marshmallows, crispy bacon, chicken parts and entrails, corn, sardine etc. You can then shoot them with a .22 rifle or similar, or pick another method of killing, be it drowning, CO2 chamber, ether chamber or whatever. Just kill it.

How Do I Know It Was a Raccoon?
Raccoons normally go for the head and neck area of a bird. Often, you will find the head of a bird a distance away. The crop (grit-filled place for grinding food at the base of the neck, at the front) may be torn open, along with the breast, and the entrails eaten. Sometimes, they will pull a head or leg through the wire of a cage and leave the body on the other side. Normally, multiple birds will be killed in one attack.


Raccoon
Image courtesy of www.doyourownpestcontrol.com


Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department for Natural Resources


Raccoon in Snow
Image courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources


Female Raccoon and Kit


Raccoon kit at one week old
Why anyone would want to hand rear one of these vermin is beyond me.


Image courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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