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Old 12-06-2009, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,343 posts, read 7,137,348 times
Reputation: 7529

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My husband was awakened in the middle of the night on Thursday, by loud, screeching howls from our neighbor's chickens. When he got up, it woke me, and I heard it, too. He went out to investigate and found two HUGE raccoons on top of their coop, so he chased them off. We went back to sleep and didn't hear any further incidents all night.

On Friday night, sometime in the middle of the night, I vaguely remembered hearing some chicken noises, but they were faint and I was too deeply asleep for it to fully arouse me.

On Saturday morning I got up and went out the back door to go through the yard to get to the basement, and when I got to the bottom of the stairs from the patio to the yard, I saw a bunch of red chicken feathers. The further I got into the yard, the more feathers there were. I had a feeling something bad had happened, but I still held out hope that somehow the chicken had managed to escape and fly away, since all there was were feathers around.

And then when I got back up to the patio my heart sank. There wasn't much, but the remains of a chicken carcass and a leg bone were laying on the bricks, picked absolutely clean. My neighbor happened to be out back, so I got his attention and asked about the rest of the chickens and showed him what was left of one of them on my patio. He said that Thursday night had been mass carnage and his yard looked like a murder scene. So apparently our efforts to save them by running off the coons was unsuccessful, except that at least one of them was spared. That was the one who happened to be my favorite, the Rhode Island Red that I named Rhoda.

And she's the one who was the victim on Friday night, and whose remains I found throughout my yard.

They weren't even my chickies and I'm terribly sad. Every weekend for the past 5 years we could hear their adorable clucks as they wandered around the yard as we were waking up. I'm really going to miss them.

Here's Rhoda with two of her sisters


Here she is on the top of her coop, chatting with another neighbor's kitty


Here's her boyfriend, who used to occasionally make an appearance


And here's my girl in all her glory. She was beautiful, wasn't she?
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 56,009,102 times
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So sorry! SHe was indeed a beauty. How did the 'coons get in the coop? or was the top not covered? How sad for the chickens' owner.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,343 posts, read 7,137,348 times
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The top wasn't secured, so they managed to push it aside enough to get in there, apparently. Those chickens managed to survive the wildlife here for 10 years. Why now? Why on my watch? <pout>
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:15 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 22,803,120 times
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OMG, how horrible. I never knew that coons were carnivores. I'm so sorry.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
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Thank you, HIF. I actually never even thought about it. A few weeks ago my husband scared a possum who was feasting in our compost heap. Now this. What next, am I going to be sprayed by a skunk? Phooey.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,343 posts, read 7,137,348 times
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The structure to the left of the fence, with the garden hose, yellow plastic strips and some long sticks is the chickies' coop. They were kind enough to take off the hose and the plastic thingies for us, since they were rather unsightly, but the sticks and rocks were still up there, and have been for 5 years without the roof ever being infiltrated.

When we first moved in, I asked the father if they were raising them to eat and he was mortified at the prospect. Apparently they were his deceased wife's pets and they kept them because she loved them so much. I'm glad she didn't have to see how they met their end.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 56,009,102 times
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That is truly sad. I also thought 'coons ate veggies and grass. Poor chickens and how sad for that man.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,343 posts, read 7,137,348 times
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Raccoons (http://www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/environment/BD594.html - broken link)

"Raccoons eat a varied diet of plants and animals. Plant foods include grains, acorns, wild berries and fruits. Animal and insect foods include frogs, clams, mice, rabbits, white grubs and beetles, to name just a few. Raccoons also feed on the eggs of birds such as ducks and chickens."

And apparently the chickens, themselves, if they're hungry enough.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Ladysmith,Wisconsin
1,587 posts, read 6,693,424 times
Reputation: 745
Coons love meat when can get it. They are strong animals also so really have to keep things locked down.

Cure would be take carcass and dump anti-freeze in it to kill them or try to trap them in live trap and take away (relocates not always work) or just shoot them and sell hides.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Norwood, Massachusetts
1,765 posts, read 3,753,214 times
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Raccoons are very much omnivores. I am sorry for you and your neighbor. But I think it is a little unfair to characterize the raccoons as "mean." They need to eat like all animals; and they have babies to feed. They live here too; in fact they were here first. Anyone who keeps animals outside should be sure to protect them from raccoons, foxes, owls, rats and other animals that also live here. None of them are mean, they are just living their lives.
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