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The Villains Return

The other morning, we had a surprise visit from our fiendish neighborhood raccoons, whom we haven’t seen since last summer, when they heartlessly pulled one of our pullets out of a ventilation hole in the coop during the night and devoured her, then made a return appearance about a month later in the early morning to try to make another meal out of our remaining hens. Luckily, during their second attempt I was awake, heard the commotion and was able to scare them away, foiling their evil plot.

We hadn’t seen them in our yard since, but who knows if they have been prowling around at night. Probably. But we had given our coop a better predator proofing after the first attack, so the girls have been well defended during the night.

Despite our hopes that we had seen the last of these monsters, it seems this is not the case. On the morning in question, I had let the girls out at dawn, after they had started their usual begging for release, and gone back to bed, hoping for a bit more sleep, especially since I was fighting the flu. But shortly thereafter, I heard loud, quick squawking accompanied by wing flapping, and I knew something was wrong. I raced to the window and saw a raccoon chasing Gloria across the yard. I promptly started yelling at it, then hurried outside to try to stop it. When it saw me, it did indeed stop, but just stood its ground and stared me down. I grabbed the nearest weapon I could find, a spray bottle full of water, and threw it at the beast. I missed by a couple of feet, but managed to scare it back into the bushes. Meanwhile, Gloria had run over and slipped into the garage behind me to hide.

During this battle, Cleo was nowhere in sight, so I went to check on her. She was up in the coop, probably trying to lay her morning egg, but she came down at my approach, and started squawking up at the fence. I looked up to see the raccoon (or it’s companion) in our neighbor’s tree watching us. So I locked Cleo back in the coop, and went to get Gloria to do the same, planning to keep them in there until we were sure the danger was gone.

Gloria had found a good hiding place in the garage, and was reluctant to come out, so it took some time for Jonah & I (of course the action had woken him up as well) to find her and coax her out with a handful of oats. But once she was brave enough to venture out, she was grateful for the oats, so I then scooped her up and took her to the coop as well.

I really hope we’ve seen the last of these mongrels, or that at least we won’t have to battle them again for quite awhile, but in the meantime, I think I’ll wait to let the girls out in the morning until the sun has fully risen. Hopefully by that time, the villains will have gone back to their secret lair for the day.

backyard chicken in coop

poor traumatized Gloria

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15 thoughts on “The Villains Return

  1. I have only been able to solve the critter dilemma by putting bird netting over our chicken yard. Expensive, but it gives us peace of mind. We’ve lost too many of our girls to go through that trauma again. PS Love your little coop!

  2. That’s great advice, thanks! We let them free range our whole backyard right now during the day, which is small, but enclosed by tall thick laurel bushes. It might eventually come to having to build a separate run for them, but it would still have to be built like Fort Knox (like their coop… thanks for the compliment. :-)) to give me peace of mind, because if something was able to get in, they wouldn’t be able to escape into the trees and bushes like they can now. It’s quite possible Gloria could have escaped the raccoon if I hadn’t come to her rescue. She’s very crafty, and has probably done it before, but I didn’t want to take the chance when I was home and able to intervene.

  3. Poor babies! The raccoons stay out of our yard because of our dog – 70 pounds of barking is a big deterrent. But I’ve heard other people say that if they let a dog pee around their yard, it helps keep raccoons (and other critters) away. Our friend borrowed Zoey to urinate around her place to try to get the gophers to stay out of her yard, and so far it’s worked. Don’t know if it’s anything other than anecdotal, but it might be worth considering borrowing a friend’s dog for the day!

    • That’s a good idea, thanks! I was just thinking about how much I miss our lab… she was great at scaring away anything that came into our yard with her loud bark, but getting another dog is not practical right now, so borrowing one is probably a good idea. 🙂

      • Haha I’m always in the “get another pet!” camp, so I’d probably run right out and get a puppy…but that can be tons of work, so I thought borrowing one might be a more practical suggestion :P. We have bunnies that live outside and we don’t have any trouble with critters, so I think it works at least to some extent. In any case, I hope they leave the girls alone!

  4. Im so glad they squawked loud enough for you to hear them and save them. Poor chickens ;( We are lucky round here in the fact we don’t have racoons wandering round (to be honest, I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen a real one). We apparently have foxes round here, but I haven’t actually seen one of those either. The only predators we have here are rats, I think. We ordered the hen house today – I shall be inspecting it to make sure it is utterly rodent and predator proof!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you are going to put the time into completely predator proofing your coop. We thought ours was fine, those ventilation holes are only about 1 inch diameter! But we’ve learned our lesson that fine gauge chicken wire is as small as the holes should be, and make sure nothing can dig under either! If only so many other creatures didn’t enjoy the taste of chicken quite so much!

      • We didn’t get our chicken house today 😦 Well, we sort of did. Courier delivered it nice and early, but when we opened one of the boxes all the wood in one of the boxes had split because someone had clearly stood on it! And the other box had footprints all over it! So angry. Going to get a redelivery on Monday, which is quick really, but not when it was planning to get done this weekend. Ah well, good things come to those who wait, right? 😛

  5. Ohmigosh!!! I am glad to hear the girls are ok. And really… It is time for that lab puppy. If u aren’t sure about a pup, check the local humane society. I know u don’t have a bunch of time but dogs will help save the chickens!!! And even if u think u wont be home ad much, the dog will love u no matter what. I am really glad the girls are safe. So scary!

  6. So glad they escaped the threat. You can borrow Gracie!! On second thought, she would probably make a nice meal for the coons as well :/ We have sure had our hearts broken by critters who naturally love the taste of duck 😦

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