How To Keep Raccoons Away From Chickens: Know How To Protect Your Flock!


A curious raccoon looking out from behind a tree limb with an expressive eyes and alert posture.


As more and more people fall in love with raising backyard chickens, the need to shield these feathery friends from danger - particularly the clever and tricky raccoons - is becoming crucial.

This guide is for you to answer your thoughts as a poultry owner:

"Do raccoons eat chickens?"

"How do I keep raccoons away from my chickens?"

Learn the fascinating facts about how crafty raccoons can be when getting what they want.

Most importantly, we'll clear up why chicken coops are like treasure boxes for raccoons and how this menace can cause quite a few problems. 

We'll arm you with many ideas for keeping your chickens safe. But first, let's understand how raccoons attract chickens and why they are so dangerous to your flock.

What Habits Make Raccoons a Danger to Chickens?

What Raccoons Eat

Raccoons aren't picky eaters at all. They eat almost anything they can find. From insects, fruits, and vegetables to small animals, they love it all. Unfortunately, this variety in their diet means chickens sometimes become their meal. So, if you own a backyard chicken coop, you must be alert!

A close look at three raccoons eating on a wood surface.


Why Chicken Coops Tempt Raccoons

Raccoons view chickens as an easy meal they can access without much struggle. Besides, these creatures are most active at night. The darkness gives them the perfect cover to sneak into your chicken coop when you least expect it. 

How Raccoons Get Hold of Chickens

Raccoons have ways to get what they want, making them a tricky problem for chicken owners. They put their nimble paws and sharp claws to good use when breaking into coops. They can fit through tiny holes or stretch their feet through wire fencing to snatch away a chicken gap.

A raccoon reaching out from its cage with its small paw.

Dangers from Raccoon Attacks

It's not just about losing a few chickens to raccoons. The impact is more significant. The chickens that survive the attack can become highly stressed. This means they might start laying fewer eggs, and their health can take a hit, too. Well, it doesn't stop there. These bandits can bring diseases and parasites that harm your remaining flock and family.

How to Detect Signs of Raccoon Presence and Attacks

  • Look for raccoon tracks, often found in muddy or soft soil around the coop. 
tracks of a raccoon left behind in wet, muddy soil

  • Raccoon droppings. It looks like small dog poop but often has berry seeds in it.

  • Be alert for unexplained injuries or sudden deaths among your chickens, as these can indicate raccoon attacks.
  •  Inspect your chickens closely for signs of struggle and injuries, such as puncture wounds and bite marks.

Practical Strategies to Prevent Raccoon Attacks

Raccoons are intelligent and curious animals, but we can outsmart them with these strategies:

Securing the Coop and Surrounding Area

Invest in sturdy fencing, ideally made of hardware cloth, with a mesh size no larger than one inch. Consider adding an apron of wire mesh that extends outward from the coop's base to deter raccoons from digging underneath. Ensure all windows and doors are secured with locks or latches.

A sturdy chicken coop with chickens inside freely roaming around

Altering Feeding Schedules

Raccoons are opportunistic creatures, so minimizing the temptation for them to visit your coop during the night is essential. One effective strategy is to adjust your chickens' feeding schedule to ensure they are well-fed during daylight hours. When chickens have finished eating, they are less likely to attract these nocturnal predators.

Use of Repellant Techniques

To further discourage raccoons, consider employing repellant techniques. One such method involves placing ammonia-soaked rags strategically around the coop's perimeter. The pungent odor of ammonia can deter raccoons, making them think twice about attempting an intrusion. Be sure to replace these rags regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Electrical Fencing

An electric fence with danger signage installed near branches of trees

This ultra-modern and secure method ensures that raccoons are immediately deterred before they can pose any threat to your chickens.

Raccoons are notoriously intelligent and agile. Standard fences might only sometimes be enough to keep these intruders at bay. That's where electrical fencing comes into play. An electrical shock, harmless yet startling for the raccoon, discourages any further attempt to infiltrate your chicken coop.

Legal and Humane Raccoon Removal

In cases where raccoons become a persistent problem despite your best prevention efforts, it's essential to consult local authorities or wildlife experts. They can guide legal and humane methods of raccoon removal. Traps and poison might seem like a good idea, but they can be inhumane and cause other problems. 

Final Word

Absolutely, raccoons are a real threat to chickens. Given their omnivorous nature, they don't differentiate between plants and animals for food. Chickens, unfortunately, fall into their menu too.

By implementing the strategies we've discussed to secure your chicken coop, you're not only providing a safe environment for your chickens but contributing to their overall happiness as well. And, of course, peace of mind to us poultry raisers!

But raccoons are not the only predators we need to keep our eyes on. Many other clever animals might try to harm our chickens, which include foxes, coyotes, hawks, and more. Each poses a unique risk to our beloved chickens.

Supplement your safety measures with this tangle-free bird netting solution. This measure helps guard your chickens from raccoons and other potential predators. 

Let's work together to make your chicken coop a tranquil sanctuary— the safe retreat your chickens need to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do raccoons take heads off chickens?
  • Yes, raccoons may sometimes decapitate chickens, as they often target the head and neck area when attacking.

  • Do raccoons have rabies?
  • Raccoons can carry rabies, but not all raccoons have the virus. They are one of the primary carriers of rabies in North America.

  • What kills raccoons?

  • Raccoons can fall prey to various predators, such as coyotes, foxes, and large birds of prey. They may also die from disease or accidents like roadkill.

  • When does a raccoon kill a chicken?

  • Raccoons are nocturnal, killing chickens when the birds are asleep at night and less likely to resist.

  • Do raccoons spread diseases?

  • Raccoons can potentially harbor and transmit illnesses like rabies, leptospirosis, and roundworm infections, posing a risk to humans and pets. It's essential to keep a safe distance from wild raccoons and take preventive measures to deter them from your property.

  • Are there any raccoon-resistant chicken breeds?

  • While no chicken breed is immune to raccoon attacks, some species may be more vigilant and better at defending themselves. Breeds known for their alertness, such as Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rocks, may offer some protection.

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