04 December 2014

Raccoon attack

Our new chick tractor was hit in the wee dark hours of the morning.  Hubby had put a piece of plywood up against it where the chicks were sleeping too close to the wire, but apparently the plywood piece was too light, as he noticed it out-of-place this morning ... then saw the carnage.

First, do NOT try to tell me how "cute" raccoons are.  In fact, it's best to not attempt to tell any chicken owner that ... especially not one who has had to deal with the aftermath.  I knew there was at least one chicken-eating raccoon around, because my neighbor lost all but one hen to a raccoon back in the spring.  I saw the blood splatters on her coop before she washed them off.

The good news is we only lost one chick this time.  The bad news is the varmint will be back, probably tonight.  The ugly news is I awoke at 0200 and 0400 (approximately) because I was having dreams of going out and finding dead chicks.  Ugh.  Next time I have dreams like that, I will be going out to check on all the birds!

Now, for a not-really-bad pic of the poultry wire pulled out in the corner.
corner where raccoon hit, pulling out the wire
Yes, that is blood on the PVC pipe.  A basic description of how a raccoon kills a chick: it reaches its hand-like front paw in through the chicken wire, grabs the head and/or upper neck ... and yanks it out.  The body does not fit through the hole in the chicken wire, and so that stays inside.  This particular coon got a leg also.

So hubby and I are heading into town to buy enough stuff to make a second chick tractor, with the modifications we talked about yesterday.  These modifications certainly do include half-inch hardware cloth!

I guess this can be put down as a hard lesson learned.  Raccoons are stronger than I thought.  I am assuming they are every bit as difficult to catch/trap/kill as their reputation suggests.

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