Do Raccoons Kill Backyard Chickens?

If given the opportunity, predators like raccoons won’t hesitate to kill your backyard chickens. Raccoons can also enter your coop and kill your birds, so backyard chickens are an easy target for these ferocious predators.

A single raccoon can kill your entire backyard flock in minutes. It would help to keep your flock safe from these ruthless predators because they can ruin your chicken-rearing venture.

What do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons have a varied diet because they don’t eat one specific type of food. Although these masked bandits prefer living in wooded environments and near water sources, they frequent urban areas in search of food or shelter. Raccoons eat what is most accessible to them. They frequent garbage sites to search for anything edible. A raccoon’s favorite diet consists of the foods it gets near water sources.

Such foods include fish, clams, snails, frogs, and crayfish. Raccoons also like eating eggs, fruits, vegetables, dead animals, and nuts. Although they aren’t good at hunting and catching live prey, raccoons will occasionally manage to catch a squirrel, rat, or young mouse.

Raccoons are strictly solitary creatures, except during the mating season. These predators prefer hunting at night and eating alone. They are voracious feeders, particularly during the summer and spring.

Raccoons can invade your yard or home unexpectedly. These creatures have two front feet and five toes. Their toes have sharp claws for capturing prey in the water or on land. They may use their sharp claws to enter your chicken coop and kill your hens. That means your backyard chickens are pretty vulnerable to these predators in the daytime when they are foraging outdoors.

Raccoons can even build their nests around your yard if they notice you keep backyard chickens in the yard. They will use such nests to launch attacks on your innocent and unsuspecting backyard flock. Besides attacking and killing your flock, raccoons are potential disease carriers, and they can infect your flock with deadly diseases if they come too near to the flock.

Will Raccoons Kill and Eat My Chickens?

Yes, raccoons won’t hesitate to kill your backyard and indoor chickens. These ferocious predators are masters at killing chickens, especially the younger birds in your flock. A raccoon only needs to get too close to your flock and start killing one bird after another. Backyard hens are the most vulnerable to raccoons because they like laying eggs on the glass and other bare places during the day.

Some backyard chickens in your flock could spend the night outside thinking they are safe from predators. However, a raccoon won’t regret attacking such naïve chickens. Raccoons are among the most intelligent chicken predators and know how to attack and kill these birds.

Because raccoons will easily kill your chickens, it’s good to observe any signs showing the presence of these predators in or within your premises. Knowing when these notorious predators attack your chickens can help keep your flock safe.

For instance, the presence of raccoons’ footprints in your yard is a sure sign that these predators could attack your backyard flock. A raccoon’s footprints are quite distinctive and hence easy to notice. Look at the prints closely, and if there are footprints with five toes on the front and back, it means a raccoon has been frequenting your yard.

Besides footprints showing you a raccoon has been attacking your chickens, you can check for droppings as an indication this predator has been preying on your flock. Unlike dogs, coyotes, and hawks, who carry chickens away after killing them, raccoons are notorious for leaving behind traces of their visitation.

A raccoon will leave parts of a chicken around upon killing and eating to its fill. A raccoon has been attacking your backyard flock if you see chicken parts all over your yard.

Do Raccoons Eat Chicken Eggs?

Yes, raccoons can eat anything edible, including chicken eggs. Young raccoons usually steal chicken eggs from the backyard and indoor chickens. The young predators don’t like invading adult chickens because they fear the birds could reiterate. That’s why they will steal the chicken eggs from your adult hens and avoid attacking the hens.

Raccoons will also frequent your yard at night in search of eggs, especially if there are a couple of hens in your flock that could be laying outside. Because raccoons love both chicken eggs and meat, there are chances these predators will kill your birds and then steal their eggs.

Can Raccoons Get Through Chicken Wire?

Raccoons can tear and get through chicken wire. Chicken wire is, therefore, not the best barrier for these predators. Raccoons have sharp claws that can tear through the chicken wire like a piece of paper.

Having a chicken wire alone won’t stop raccoons from attacking your chickens. It would help if you strictly used chicken wire to keep your birds in rather than from lethal predators such as raccoons.

How to Protect Chickens from Raccoons?

Raccoons are a serious threat to your chickens, especially your backyard flock. Keeping these predators away from your birds is quite imperative. Here are a number of things you can do to protect your flock from raccoons.

  • Keep the chicken coop safe – Raccoons are prevalent in almost every part of the country. As nocturnal creatures, these predators hunt at night. Keep the coop safe from raccoons at night by using dogs or having a light around the coop to distract a raccoon from attacking your chickens.
  • Make your yard unattractive to raccoons – Make your yard unfriendly to these predators so that they won’t come near your flock. Don’t leave pet food in your yard, chicken eggs, or anything that can attract raccoons into your yard.
  • Secure the coop area – Ensuring that raccoons can’t go near your coop area can help protect your flock from these predators. One of the simple tricks you can use to secure your coop area is foul smells such as garlic, ammonia onions, and cayenne pepper.
  • Use a coop apron – If a raccoon can’t tear through the chicken wire or open the door latch, the creature can dig its way into the coop. Installing a coop apron can help protect your chickens from raccoons. Install PVC-coated wire fencing at the bottom of the chicken coop to discourage raccoons from entering the coop after digging their way into the cage.

Conclusion

Raccoons are some of the most lethal chicken predators. These predators are quite unsuspecting and can eliminate your backyard flock in minutes. It would help to protect your chickens, especially backyard chickens, from these predators.

Chickens   Updated: November 14, 2022
avatar Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too.

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