How to Keep Raccoons Out of a Chicken Coop-15 Easy Ways

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HOW TO KEEP RACCOONS OUT OF A CHICKEN COOP

If you own chickens, it is important to know how to keep raccoons out of a chicken coop. Chicken coops are a prime location for raccoons to visit and for good reason. Many coops offer leftover chicken feed, water and if they’re lucky even some leftover kitchen scraps.

They are smarter than the average predator and can open simple gates and latches to gain access into your coop. They are even strong enough to pry chicken wire off of an enclosure.

Once they gain access, they will feast not only leftover feed and water, but also your chickens, eggs and baby chicks.

Raccoons can spread many diseases to your flock through their dropping and secretions; roundworm, salmonella, E. coli, rabies and various parasites. This is why it is so important that you know how to keep raccoons out of your coop.

Signs a Raccoon Has Been Around Your Chicken Coop

  • Chickens heads and crops missing
  • Feathers scattered
  • Parts of chicken scattered in coop
  • Missing baby chicks
  • Decreased amount of eggs during collection
  • Cracked Eggs
  • Chicken wire pried open
  • Raccoon poop in and around the chicken coop
  • Holes in the chicken coop where raccoon gained entrance
  • Raccoon Tracks
  • Chickens are afraid to go into the coop at night.
  • Decreased egg laying due to stress

1. Sprinkle Herbs in and Around Your Chicken Coop

NATURAL HERBS
THAT REPEL
RACCOONS
PEPPERMINT
DRIED ROSES
LAVENDER
ONION
GARLIC
PEPPERS

2. Use or Plant Scents that Deter Raccoons

Raccoons have a very strong sense of smell. This is why raccoons try to stay away from very strong scents. Scents such as peppermint, ammonia, vinegar and bleach block their ability to smell what they are really interested in; leftover chicken feed, table scraps, chicken eggs and chickens.

What Scents Deter Raccoons?

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
THAT RACCOONS
DON’T LIKE
GARDEN PLANTS
RACCOONS
DON’T LIKE
APPLE CIDER VINEGARCAYENNE PEPPERS OR
CAYENNE PEPPER POWDER
AMMONIAPEPPERMINT PLANTS
OR ESSENTIAL OIL
PINE SOLGARLIC PLANTS OR
ESSENTIAL OIL
EPSOM SALTONION PLANTS
BLEACHLAVENDER
SCENTS RACCOONS DO NOT LIKE

2. Use Hardware Cloth

Hardware cloth is made of a strong galvanized steel with 1/4″-1/2″ square openings. It is much stronger than chicken wire, making it ideal to secure your chicken coop with.

A raccoon can’t fit its hand through 1/4″ hardware cloth, but it can chicken wire. This is how many chickens only get their head and crops eaten.

Raccoons will grab chickens while they are roosting at night and pull the head and crop(neck) through the chicken wire. (This is all that will fit.)

IMPORTANT: Chicken wire works well at keeping your chickens protected from getting out. It does not protect them from predators getting in. Chicken wire is not sufficient to protect your flock from predators such as raccoons, snakes, rats, mice, coyotes, bobcats, bears, etc.

Where to Install Hardware Cloth on a Chicken Coop

Will chickens attract rats?
HARDWARE CLOTH WORKS BEST AT PROTECTING CHICKENS FROM RACCOONS.

WALL OPENINGS: All wall openings should have either 1/4″ or 1/2″ hardware cloth installed. 1/4″ is a little more expensive, but it will keep predators such as snakes, mice and small rats out too.

WINDOWS: Remove screens from all windows. Even tiny mice can chew through a screen to gain access. Replace the screen with 1/4″-1/2″ hardware cloth.

EVES: Don’t forget to install hardware cloth just under your roofline under the eve’s. Raccoons are capable of squeezing through tiny spaces as small as 4″ in diameter!

PERIMETER OF CHICKEN COOP: Continue your hardware cloth from your walls to a depth of 6″ around the entire perimeter of your coop. This will deter many predators from digging to gain access to your chickens.

Besides chicken eggs, chickens and chicken feed, rats and mice are one of a chickens delicacies. You want to make sure that rats and mice don’t have access to your chicken coop too. Raccoons can smell urine and droppings from these rodents and will follow their tracks into your chicken coop.

3. Put Chicken Feed and Water Away Each Evening

Don’t give raccoons a reason to gain entry into your chicken coop at night. If they see that there is a 24 hour diner in the neighborhood, they will keep coming back for more!

CHICKEN FEED: If you think you may have raccoons getting into your coop at night, start putting away all uneaten chicken feed. Bring it indoors and only give them enough that they will eat in a given day. This includes the afternoon treats such as scratch, mealworms or table scraps.

This includes putting away your cat and dog food bowls at night. Leaving them out is an open invitation for raccoons to snoop around your property after eating the pet food.

WATER CONTAINERS: Watering containers should also be brought in at night. Raccoons like to dip their food in water and rub it with their hands before eating it. This is how they “see” their food. Kind of like how babies put object in their mouth. This is how they gather more sensory information.

Don’t leave pet water bowls outside either. Dump any buckets that may have rain water inside.

4. Store Chicken Feed in a Metal Can With a 2 Step Lid

METAL CAN FOR CHICKEN FEED.  How to keep a raccoon out of a chicken coop.
METAL CAN TO STORE CHICKEN FEED IN. THIS HAS A TWO STEP LATCH FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE LID. IT WORKS GREAT AT KEEPING MANY PREDATORS OUT, INCLUDING RACCOONS!

Raccoons are smart and can easily open a regular garbage can or container with a simple lid on it. Instead, store chicken feed in an aluminum garbage can with a two step latch.

This is a latch that takes two steps and often two hands to open. My metal feed containers I need to pull straight up on the handle and then out to the side in order to remove the lid. They aren’t quite smart enough to figure these out.

5. Use 2 Step Latches for Gates and Nesting Boxes

2 Step Lock on Hen Box. How to keep raccoons out of a chicken coop.
NESTING BOX LATCH THAT KEEPS RACCOONS OUT

The same goes for gate and nesting box latches. A simple gate latch that only needs pushed to open is easy for any raccoon, but a gate latch that requires them to push up and slide to the side will stump a raccoon.

6. Keep Compost Bin Far from Chicken Coop

A compost bin is a 5 star restaurant to a raccoon. It contains all kinds of food waste, including banana peels, fruit and vegetable scraps, lettuce, eggshells, coffee grounds and an array of other scrumptious leftovers.

It is best to locate the compost bin as far away from the chicken coop as possible. Even better would be to install a lock on your compost bin so raccoons can’t get into it.

Once a raccoon knows where to get food, it will be back for more. Make the appropriate changes so raccoons don’t make it routine to visit your look for food on your property.

7. Get a Guard Dog

A barking dog will scare a raccoon away quickly. If you own livestock, you might want to consider getting a dog that will protect your flock. There are a couple that are considered very good livestock guardian dogs:

BREEDBENEFITS
KUVASZ (SHEEPDOG)LIVESTOCK GUARDIAN DOG
GREAT PYRENEESBRED FOR OVERSEEING LIVESTOCK
ANATOLIAN SHEPHERDLIVESTOCK GUARDIAN DOG

8. Collect Eggs Each Evening

RACCOON EATING CHICKEN EGG. How to keep raccoons out of a chicken coop.
RACCOONS LOVE TO EAT CHICKEN EGGS. MAKE SURE YOU COLLECT YOUR EGGS EACH EVENING.

Raccoons love chicken eggs. If you have any late afternoon egg layers, you will need to make one last egg collection before nighttime.

A raccoon has a very good sense of smell and can smell if chicken eggs have been left in the nesting boxes.

9. Fruit Tree and Garden Tips to Deter Raccoons

If you have a choice, place the chicken coop away from fruit trees and gardens. Raccoons love to get into gardens and climb trees to steal fruit. They especially love ripe fruit that is really sweet.

SOME OF A RACCOONS
FAVORITE
FRUITS
PLUMS
APRICOTS
CHERRIES
MULBERRIES
PEACHES
ORANGES
FIGS
PERSIMMONS

Tips to Deter Raccoons from Fruit Trees

  • Place chicken coop away from fruit trees.
  • Cover fruit trees with netting.
  • Harvest fruit as soon as you can.
  • Pick up fallen fruit daily, especially before dusk.
SOME OF A
RACCOONS
FAVORITE GARDEN
VEGETABLES
TOMATOES
GRAPES
BERRIES
POTATOES
ZUCCHINI
SWEET PEAS
STRAWBERRIES
MELONS

Tips to Deter Raccoons from GardenNa

  • Place garden away from the chicken coop.
  • Place a fence around the perimeter of your garden.
  • Cover your garden with netting.
  • Harvest fruits and vegetables in your garden as soon as they are ripe.

10. Scare Raccoons Away

Raccoons prefer the dark and are afraid of bright lights and anything that might make them think a human or one of its predators is close by.

How to Scare Raccoons Away

  • Motion activated bright lights
  • Motion activated sprinklers
  • Keep a radio on, preferably on talk radio.
  • Hang wind chimes
  • Place owl decoys on surrounding fence posts and on the chicken coop rooftop.
  • Place a scarecrow close to the coop.
  • Bang pots and pans or wave your hands above your head and yell at them. They should quickly scoot away.

With all of these scare tactics, it is important to move the source every couple days to keep raccoons at bay. Raccoons are smart and they will catch on that the decoys and the voices are not real if they are always in the same spot.

11. Treat Lawn for Grub Worms

RACCOONS LOVE TO TEAR UP YOUR LAWN DIGGING FOR GRUB WORMS.
RACCOONS LOVE TO TEAR UP YOUR LAWN DIGGING FOR GRUB WORMS.

Grubs are beetle babies and another favorite for raccoons. Later in the summer and early fall are prime time for grubs. Raccoons smell them and will dig in the grass to find them.

If you have lawn close to your chicken coop, treat it for grub worms. The less reasons you give a raccoon to to visit your property, the better.

How to Get Rid of Grub Worms Naturally

  1. Let your chickens free range to eat the grubs.
    • Grubs are a great protein source for chickens!
  2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the grass.
    • DE is safe for chickens to eat.
  3. Natural Grub Spray Recipe
    • Recipe below

Natural Grub and Raccoon Spray Recipe

  • 2 TBS Dawn Dish Soap
  • 1 TBS Vegetable Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 Gallon Warm Water
  • 3 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  1. Combine ingredients into a pump spray bottle.
  2. Let is set overnight.
  3. In the morning, give it a good shake.
  4. Apply in late summer.
  5. If you don’t like the smell of garlic, you can omit it, but raccoons despise the smell of garlic. So this makes a good deterrent.

12. Keep Garbage Cans Far from Chicken Coop

Raccoon in garbage can.  Keep garbage cans away from the chicken coop.
KEEP GARBAGE CANS AWAY FROM THE CHICKEN COOP.

Raccoons have an acute smell for garbage and they are good at finding it. They can easily dump over trash cans or lift lids to get inside.

Put your garbage inside tied bags before placing hem into your garbage can and store the cans away from the chicken coop.

13. Clear all Debris from Around Perimeter of Coop

Raccoons like to find places to hide. Don’t let this be close to your chicken coop. Remove all fallen branches, twigs, garbage, weeds, crates and food.

Don’t store a bunch of farm equipment close to the chicken coop. Put all of your coop supplies in a garden shed.

14. Use of Ultrasonic Frequencies

Some people use ultrasonic devices that use frequencies to drive both raccoons, insects and other predators away. It uses a frequency between 30 kHz and 55 kHz to drive these pests away.

Humans cannot hear this frequency, but this noxious noise will drive raccoons away.

“According to a study done by National Wildlife Research Center and the United States Department of Agriculture in 1995, the effects of ultrasonic repellents tend to wear off a few days after exposure as the pests get accustomed to the noise.”

National Wildlife Research Center and United States Department of Agriculture

I would suggest moving the ultrasonic device every few days. This is more likely to keep raccoons at bay.

15. Use Predator Urine

Predators of the raccoon include the coyote, wolf, mountain lion, bobcats and dogs.

Raccoons don’t like the strong smell of ammonia and urine contains a high amount of it. By using urine from a raccoon predator around the perimeter of your chicken coop it will keep them away.

Some people even put this around their garbage cans to keep the raccoons away.

CONCLUSION: How to Keep Raccoons Out of a Chicken Coop

HOW TO KEEP
RACCOONS OUT OF A
CHICKEN COOP-
15 EASY WAYS
1. SPRINKLE NATURAL HERBS AROUND THE
CHICKEN COOP AND NESTING BOXES
2. PLANT PLANTS WITH SCENTS
THAT DETER RACCOONS
3. USE HARDWARE CLOTH
4. STORE CHICKEN FEED IN
METAL GARBAGE CAN WITH
2 STEP LOCK
5. USE 2 STEP LOCKS ON
GATES AND NESTING BOXES
6. KEEP COMPOST BIN FAR
FROM CHICKEN COOP
7. GET A GUARD DOG
8. COLLECT EGGS EACH
EVENING
9. PROTECT FRUIT TREES
AND GARDEN FROM
RACCOONS
10. SCARE RACCOONS
AWAY
11. TREAT LAWN FOR
GRUB WORMS
12. KEEP GARBAGE CANS
FAR FROM COOP
13. CLEAR ALL DEBRIS
FROM AROUND COOP
14. USE ULTRASONIC DEVICES
TO KEEP RACCOONS AWAY
15. USE PREDATOR URINE
AROUND COOP PERIMETER

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