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Raccoons terrorizing your chickens and making you pull your hair out trying to scare them away? Are you at your wit’s end and ready to learn how to keep raccoons away from the chicken coop in your yard?
You can keep raccoons away from the chicken coop by keeping the food out of the backyard, choosing a strong chicken coop that is hard to open, and adding lights and scents around the chickens to scare the raccoons away. Walking around the coop, especially with your dog, can be a big deterrent as well.
Raccoons are tricky predators that love chickens and their eggs. Read on to learn the best way, how to keep raccoons away from chicken coop.
How Do I Keep Raccoons Out of My Chicken Coop
There are different ways that chicken owners can keep raccoons out of the chicken coop. Planning ahead will really help out with this.
First, you must make sure that the food in the backyard is scarce. Raccoons, like other predators, like to get at the food as quickly as possible. Move the food for the chickens into your garage, but never leave it outside for the raccoons to get.
If the garage is too far then perhaps another solution is needed, a storage shed or storage facility would be ideal but, I understand most people won’t be willing to spend large amounts just to store food. Alternatively, something like this trashlock cord (Amazon link) might be an affordable option, it’s a great way to store food while making it raccoon-proof.
Choosing the right chicken coop will also help keep your chickens safe. Pick one that is sturdy and hard for a raccoon to get into, consider the gauge of the mesh, the higher the better. Some will have raccoon-proof locks and special cloth that goes over the chicken wire to keep it safe. The harder you can make it for the raccoon to get it, the easier it is to keep the chickens safe.
Raccoons can be discouraged from coming into the chicken coop. certain scents will drive them away. Since raccoons are nocturnal, they will want to attack the chickens at night. Adding a motion-detector light for small animals can scare them away.
Foxes are another pest to chickens, knowing how to keep foxes away from chickens could be the difference they need.
Making the raccoon vulnerable is the next step. Think of these raccoons as burglars. They do not want to get caught or they will not get their supper. If there are bushes and places for the raccoon to hide, then they will have an even better chance at getting onto the property. Trim the bushes and flowers, at least around the chickens, to make it harder for the raccoons to hide.
Take some time to walk around your coop. Check for any rodents or snacks, as well as nests or eggs that may attract the raccoon to come to your chickens. Bring your dog along on these walks. The scent of a dog can often keep the raccoon away from the chicken coop too.
What Scent Will Keep Racoons Away
Masking the scent of your chickens can be a good way to keep raccoons and other predators away from your chickens. When a raccoon is out looking for their food, they will smell around to see what they can eat. If they smell your chickens, then they are going to run right over there and enjoy a tasty snack.
With the right scents, you will be able to keep the raccoons away. Some of these mask the scent of your chickens and others are smells that the raccoon is not that fond for. Some of the scents that will help keep the raccoon away includes:
- Hot pepper: Hot pepper, like cayenne pepper, can be a good place to start. This will irritate their sense of smell, but it does diminish over time. You will need to continue using it for the best results or find another scent.
- Onion and pepper: If you have a raccoon who is persistent, then using a spray of onion and pepper boiled in water is a good place to start. This will release an unappetizing smell that raccoons do not like. Use it at least two times a week for the best results.
- Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil may smell nice to humans, but it is going to be hard for the raccoon to work with. You will need to spray it at least once a week to keep the raccoons away. This can also keep other pests away so it is a good multi-purpose option to use.
- Epsom salt: This is not only a good method to keep raccoons away, but it can fertilize the garden as well. You just need to scatter a bit around the garden and the chicken coop to keep your animals safe.
- Raccoon eviction fluid: If you think that the raccoon is a female going around the chickens, then eviction fluid will work. It replicates the scent of a male raccoon and can make a nursing raccoon leave with her young.
These scents will need to be reapplied to make sure that they are going to work around your chickens. They can keep the raccoons away without causing harm to yourself or to your chickens.
Can Raccoons Chew Through Chicken Wire
While chicken wire may be strong enough to help the chickens stay in the area you want, this does not make them predator-proof. It does stop the predator more than having nothing in place, but it is not going to provide you with the ultimate protection that you need. Racoons are able to chew through the wire with enough time and ambition.
Raccoons are not the only animals who can get through the chicken wire. Large dogs who want to go after the chickens can break and chew through the wire too. Even if you bury the wire under the ground, predators who dig will only have a temporary delay.
You’re best chicken wire to help protect your chickens against raccoons and other preditors would need to have a high gauge to make it as difficult as possible for a raccoon to chew through, something like this 23 gauge galvanized steel mesh (Amazon link) would pose a huge challenge for raccoons.
It only takes a small opening in the chicken wire for the raccoon to pull and create a larger opening. The twists that will join together the wire keep the wire weak and pulling that tear will simply open the wire more. The raccoon will be able to bite through a little bit and get right to the chickens. That’s why I recommend the 23 gauge chicken wire above.
Do Raccoons Dig Under Fences
Most raccoons are not going to spend a lot of time digging under a fence to get at something. They recognize that it takes a lot of effort for them to get all the way under a fence and that they are likely to be caught in the process. Since they are a larger animals, they would have to make a decent hole to fit in.
Instead of digging under the fence, they are more likely to climb over the top or find a way to tear into the fence to get into the chicken coop.
They may try to force their way under a fence if it has not been properly sealed. If you do see that they dug a little hole it is likely they noticed the fence was not down all the way, so they had some fun digging right through.
Fastening down the fence that you use around the chickens will be the best way to keep the chickens safe. the raccoon is less likely to dig in. But you also have to make sure that the fencing is strong and durable. The raccoon is strong enough to bite and claw through the fencing if they need to.
Do Racoons Eat Chickens
Raccoons do eat chickens. Raccoons are one of the natural predators to chickens. Chickens are often small enough birds that the raccoon can get to them and have a nice snack. Raccoons also like to enjoy the eggs of the chickens. These two options make it very likely that the raccoon will be drawn straight to your chicken coop if you do not deter them.
If you want to know what animal bites heads off chickens, which talks about raccoons and other animals then be sure to check that article out.
There are a few things at your disposal when figuring out how to keep raccoons away from the chicken coop. Hope you found this useful. Good luck with keeping your chickens safe and out of the reach of raccoons!