Felt like the Saint Valentines day massacre on Wednesday here in suburbia. We had 9 chickens in the back yard. Nice coop, one side with a varmint proof little run, and one side that covers pretty much the width of the back yard slope. Started raising chickens for almost 3 years now and still had 4 of the original 6. Locked 'em in at night for a while, but stopped doing that for at least 2 1/2 years now with nary a problem. Surrounded by neighbors with dogs that are out at least during the daytime.
Saw a raccoon on the fence maybe 4 months ago, and so I built a smaller fenced in run. But no repeat sightings.
That said, Wed morning I heard what sounded like a chicken trying to pass a dinosaur sized egg. I didn’t recognize the sound for what it was so took my time getting out to the backyard. Saw a whole lot of feathers and no chickens.
So, I go around the fence and found 4 DOA, with only one that was partially eaten. Then looked closer and found 5 traumatized chickens hiding under bushes or trees and not moving a feather. One was untouched under the same bush as one of the DOA’s. One of the 5 survivors had what looked like about an inch sized piece of skin ripped out of it’s back (which not knowing what else to do I poured hydrogen peroxide on it). I moved the survivors into the coop and locked it.
3 survivors sorta started moving around a bit. The one with the missing skin on the back went to the great chicken coop in the sky a few hours later. One doesn’t seem wounded but hasn’t moved as far as I can tell since I put her in the egg box. definitely traumatized.
Goddamn 'coons were back this morning and went through the s’more supplies my kids had left outside.
My neighbor in the back has moved and the new neighbors don’t have a dog. We don’t have a dog either.
Is there anything one can do in an suburban environment where raccoons have targeted for their nocturnal scavenging? Just make sure my chickens are in at night and locked up? I’m not going to get a dog, which might be a deterrent. Also pretty sure that in WA state, I can live trap a raccoon but I can’t relocate them anywhere so that’s not real practical. I’ve also read that even if I do, ahem in a legally approved manner, get the 'coon, there is no guarantee that I got the right raccoon.
Any advice from the teemings or just suck it up and make sure my chickens are locked in at night?