i am sure this topic has came up... raccoon have been in my yard and i have chickens. based on previous experience they kill chickens when given the chance so i have killed two of them over the past 6 months.
is there any humane way to rid them of my property? natural deterrents?
Chadwick is correct, they are creatures of habit, but they are also curious and persistent, they will constantly test and try whatever defenses you put up. We use several methods, our primary deterrents are electric fencing and high intensity flashing lights called predator night eyes, then we have the dogs that patrol the property. Along with this you have to be alert and go check when you hear that something has disturbed the chicken yard. btw coons aren't the only critters, skunks, possums, foxes, and all the rest are just as likely to try to wrap a lip around a chicken dinner or egg snack if the oppurtunity presents itself.
Raccoons are a different beast however. It's their smarts and curiosity that make them more a threat. I have a chicken keeping neighbor who's property encircles the back half of mine who keeps them in check and provides a buffer. The only ways I've ever really seen work are trapping and shooting. I wish it weren't the case, I find them entertaining,mbut it seems to be. All it takes is one coon slipping through the defense and the next thing you know it brings its entire extended family with it.
Raccoons can be a blessing and a problem, the key is to understand how they are both useful and exploit that while mitigating or preventing unwanted predation. The secret is to learn how and why they engage in the various behaviors and learn to co-exist. If the chickens/ducks etc. are correctly housed the raccoons are not a threat.
First, they have territories, eradication vacates the territory and it is only a matter of time before another one takes up tenancy. Trapping, relocating, and killing will never be a permanent solution, only a temporary respite, just as you let your guard down, another will move in.
Second, they are your best defense against rodents (after birds of prey) as well as slugs, grubs etc.
Thirdly, look at what you are providing for food sources. Coons love cherries, grapes, plums, compost piles, pet food, etc. Ensure that all these sources are NOT available for exploitation.
Fowl: If a coon in with the chickens is the issue, determine how it gained access. Ensure your coop (where they are confined at night) is secure with a solid floor (concrete) and a solid structure (no holes your fist can fit through. Understand that chicken wire simply contains birds, it does not protect them. If you have a chicken wire enclosure either electrify the fence or get some old metal roofing panels to cover the first 4-5 feet (these tend to be 3-4 feet wide, bury 1-2 feet, then have the remainder as fence) they cannot climb metal. Finally ensure there is no overhanging branches, fences or other "bridge" that would allow them to bypass your protection perimeter.
Fruittrees: Raccoons love "pit fruits" such as cherries, plums etc. The good news is, they tend to not invade until the fruit is well and truly ripe, signalling to you it is time to pick. To prevent access to trees bearing fruit get a split stove pipe and place it around the tree trunk for at least four feet. If the trunk is tall, you can elevate the pipe by hammering four nails extending out from the trunk to support a shorter length of pipe. If trunk is too large for stove pipe use sheet metal and wrap trunk. This needs to be in place only for a couple of weeks - just long enough for all the fruit to ripen and be harvested. Ensure all branches that would allow tree to tree access are removed. This method will make it impossible for the raccoon to access the fruit as they cannot climb the metal.
Perimeter Defense: Use of electric fencing, in the netting format is a good method, but can be expensive and requires maintenance. Always look up and ensure there is no "aerial" access via buildings, trees, vehicles etc. that would allow the animal to circumvent your system.
Lorinne Anderson: Specializing in sick, injured, orphaned and problem wildlife for over 20 years.
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy, because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low, little ad