Another hen gone

Dan and I think we must have another raccoon stalking our poor hens.  On Saturday, we lost another chicken, Eartha, one of the Black Stars.  We were busy preparing for dinner guests in the house after lunch.  I went out to the garden at 3 o’clock to cut some kale, and all was well, I gave the girls some kale and apple cores and went back to the house.  At 4:45, Dan went out to close them into the coop for the night, and saw signs of the struggle.  He checked the coop, and Eartha was gone. It was too dark to see much, but he looked to no avail.

In the morning, we both went out and saw tracks we think are coon tracks.  We’ll be trying to catch this one with our old standby, cheap canned cat food.

I feel so badly for poor Eartha and Lola.  We have a fence around the yard and still cannot seem to protect our girls.  I love having hens, and want to give them a happy and safe life, but I don’t seem to be meeting that goal lately.  Sigh.  Should we give up?  The only strategy I can think of is to get a llama or another dog.  I don’t think a llama will meet the zoning in our neighborhood, and I can’t see getting another dog when the dog is home alone for at least 8 hours a day –dogs need company to be happy.  What to do….



9 Responses to “Another hen gone”

  1. julie Says:

    Oh Dan and Ali I am so sorry. Please don’t throw in the towel on chicken keeping. I know, I haven’t lost one of my girls. but I feel as if I have. My heart goes out to you. I do know having Winslow Homer “clear” the yard morning, noon and night does help in the protection of my girl’s. Winslow’s barking does have it’s benefits. I can’t believe I just said that. Maybe you and Dan are going to have to take shifts through out the night to see if this beast makes an appearance.

  2. Robin Says:

    We have two baited live traps all the time. It’s the best we can do most of the time. We can’t be out there all the time. Our live traps are outside the barn instead of near the hen house so that we draw them away from the birds.

    Can you put electric netting around the hen house? If you can see inside the hen house from your house, a long string of white Christmas lights will illuminate the hen house without making it too terribly bright. You can see what’s going on in there at night. Coyote urine dribbled around the area might help but I have three dogs and 13 raccoons… If the urine caught the coon(s) by surprise it might help.

  3. nruit Says:

    So sorry to hear that Eartha was victimized You guys need an electrified poultry fence. Try here:

    Dave Kennard is the expert in electric livestock fencing. quite a few people we know use it with very good results, even when there are racoons and foxes in the area. If you want to experiment with one before you buy, you can borrow one of ours and give it a go. It won’t work for hawks or eagles, but it should keep the 4-legged ones at bay.

  4. jeannie Says:

    Ali and Dan,
    I’m sorry to hear about beloved pets. Alls I can do here is pray you find a way to keep them safe and I know you will.

  5. Lori Says:

    We had this problem some years back too. I’m not sure how large the chicken pen is, but we had to run wire fencing over the top. We tried electric, nylon and some other sturdy woven net, but the raccoons only stopped when we covered it with wire and supports (they’ll crawl across it). I don’t think it is possible to ever trap all the raccoons either. There are more of them than chickens. Good luck.

  6. frontporch123 Says:

    Dear Ali,

    Sorry to hear about Eartha, that’s a shock to the system! Dogs are really GREAT people and depending on the breed can do okay during the day; also if you get a male and a female they keep each other company. Just a thought.
    Love, Aunt Janet

  7. Daphne Gould Says:

    Oh how very sad. I can’t remember what your pen looks like, but I often see chicken pens that are totally enclosed – sides, top and bottom. If you could build one like that they ought to be safe (as long as it has a door latch they can’t undo).

  8. badgerpendous Says:

    So sorry for your loss! We’re in a very suburban area and we still see raccoons and possums and hawks continuously. We have an enclosed run the hens can use while we’re not around, and then we let them out of that when we’re there to keep an eye on them.

  9. marbledust Says:

    Hi guys, so very sorry about your lovely hens :( 2 dogs for sure, even before I read Aunt Janet’s comment. We’ve always have and always will have 2 dogs at a time just because of the “pack” companionship that they naturally need and, too many pluses to list why. Gender doesn’t matter. Now that we currently don’t have dogs, we see more coyotes, woodchucks & fox AND we now get raccoons at the feeders & on the deck. Because of the coyotes we keep the cats in during the day and night, we only let them out for an hour or so in the morning and in the evening, they’re real good about the schedule. But there’s nothing like dogs! By the way, poodles where bred for hunting so don’t rule out doodle dogs that come in all sizes with non-shed coats. Love the snow pics!!

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