Will Raccoons Kill Chickens? Secure Your Coop With This Practical Guide

A close-up shot of raccoon revealing its cheeky face


With their quick hands and cheeky antics, raccoons are interesting to watch. But for those of you who own chickens, you might look at raccoons a bit differently. 

You might question - will raccoons kill chickens and be their next meal? 

This guide is here to answer that. 

Learn the truth behind the interactions between raccoons and chickens. 

And that's not all. We will show you how to predator-proof your chickens from these furry prowlers.

Nature of Raccoons

In the world of raccoons, every moment is a dining opportunity. 

These animals, well-known for their agile paws and piercing claws, always hunt for their next meal. 

They feast on various wild fruits, vegetables, and even smaller creatures. But they won't refuse a poultry dinner if a chance comes knocking.

Did you know raccoons are night owls? These creatures prefer to roam under the starlit sky, making them a likely danger to your poultry, especially when your unsuspecting chickens settle down for a peaceful night's rest.

So, what does this mean for your chicken run? It's essential to understand that raccoons see opportunities in every hiding spot, every quiet hover, and every chicken coop. 

By understanding their behavior, we can take the right steps to protect your feathered friends, ensuring they remain safe, sound, and, most importantly - off the raccoon's menu!

Methods Of Attack

When they set their sights on chickens, their methods are usually fast, silent, and efficient. 

Here's how they do it:

Direct Attack: Sometimes, a roving raccoon may choose the direct approach. They can pounce, catch, and kill a chicken with their swift agility if they spot the right opening. It's a quick and brutal tactic.

A raccoon standing with wide arms open ready to take on a swift attack

Coop Invasion: Raccoons are good at getting into places they shouldn't - like your chicken coop. They are very smart and quick to figure out how to open locks. They can cause many problems for your chickens as soon as they get in.

Egg Theft: Raccoons are very well-known for stealing eggs. They quickly grab eggs from chicken nests so fast that you'd miss them in the blink of an eye. 

Raccoons might seem scary, but we can invade them, for sure. We can ensure our birds and their eggs are safe from these sneaky creatures when we learn what they do and how they do it.

How to Protect Chickens from Raccoons

Here are 5 efficient and practical ways to fortify your chicken coop and fend off potential raccoon invasions.

1. Bolster the Chicken Coop and Run: Make sure the place where your chickens stay has strong locks and walls. Raccoons are smart, so you need to ensure no weak spots. Check for any problems often and fix them quickly.

A rusty metal lock to secure chicken coop against predators

2. Be Alert at Night: Raccoons like to come out when it is dark. Make sure your chickens are safe inside during the night. Consider installing motion-triggered lights to put off any raccoon considering a midnight visit. This can scare raccoons away. 

3. Clear-Off Food Temptations: Raccoons can smell food very well. They like leftovers and open trash. Don't leave food near the chicken pen. It can bring them in. Keep the chicken feed in a safe place where raccoons can't get to it.

chickens in a chicken coop with a yellow-colored food containers beside them.


4. Deploy Guard Animals: Have you thought about using an animal like a dog or even a llama to protect your chickens? These animals can help scare away raccoons. Having them around can keep them from coming too close to your chickens.

A chocolate-colored Labrador lying on a purple sheet cover acts a guard dog to protect.


5. Put Up an Electric Fence: An electric fence surrounding your coop and chicken run can be a compelling detour for raccoons. It's a final, formidable line of defense that makes raccoons think twice before daring an attack.

A danger sign hung from the electric fence with the trees in the backgroundr sign hung from the electric fence with the trees in the background

How to Recognize Signs of Raccoon Killing Chickens

Here are easy signs to help you find out if raccoons have been bothering your chickens:

Chickens are missing: Sometimes, you may find that a chicken is missing, especially in the morning. This happens because raccoons come out to find food at night and can take a chicken while sleeping.

Feathers everywhere: If you see feathers around your chicken area, a raccoon may have attacked your chicken. Raccoons pull out the chicken's feathers when they catch them.

The nest is a mess: Raccoons can go to chicken nests to take eggs or little chickens. If the nest is messed up with broken eggs or missing baby chickens, a raccoon could have done it.

Raccoon signs: Look around your chicken area for raccoon footprints or poop. Raccoon footprints look like small hand prints. Their poop is long and may have food pieces that weren't eaten.

A pair of raccoon tracks in the mud


Marks and breaks: Raccoons can climb well and leave marks on the walls of your chicken house or fences while trying to get in. Look at your chicken house for signs of damage or if something was forced open.

Bad smell: Raccoons have a strong smell. If you smell something bad around your chicken house, it could be because of a raccoon.

Getting past your safety measures: If you've locked up your chicken coop or put up barriers, but they've been broken or messed with, raccoons could be trying to get in.

Raccoon noises: Raccoons make noises like hissing, growling, or chattering when they meet other animals. Listen out for these noises.

Consider these signs as red flags. When you know what to look for, you stand a better chance of preventing raccoon encounters in the future.

Dealing with Raccoon Infestation

When raccoons show up uninvited, it's important to take control of the situation in a kind and considerate way:

Live Trapping: A good way to deal with raccoons who have turned your backyard into their playground is to use live traps. These devices let you capture the pesky raccoons without causing them harm. Once caught, you can take them far away from your property, ideally to a wooded area where they can live naturally and safely without causing mischief.

Two raccoons caught in a live trap at the backyard


Calling the Experts: Sometimes, the raccoon situation can get a little out of control. You might find yourself dealing with not just one raccoon but maybe even a whole family! In such cases, it's a smart move to place a call to the wildlife professionals. They have the skills, knowledge, and tools to handle such situations in the best way possible.

Remember, our goal is not to harm these creatures - they're just trying to live their lives like ours. It's all about ensuring they understand that your backyard and chickens are off-limits and guiding them back to where they truly belong.

Final Word

Raccoons may pose a significant risk to backyard chickens due to their nocturnal lifestyle and natural hunting instincts. However, you have the power to defend your flock effectively. 

By studying raccoon behavior, recognizing their patterns, and the guided steps to fortify your chicken coop, you'll be well-equipped to safeguard your chickens from these potential predators.

Remember. Diligence and preventive measures are your best friends in this mission. Stay proactive.

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