After two whole years of having chickens we’ve finally had our first wild animal come to investigate them! I was watching the chickens through the pantry window the other evening, I always peek out at them when I pass a window that faces their coop, and they were all outside in their fenced in area in the corner staring back at the coop. I thought it was strange and mentioned it to Joe but I didn’t see anything so I thought one of the younger chickens did something goofy and scared everyone and when one chicken is spooked it spooks everyone else and I thought they got themselves into an uproar over nothing. Well, about a half an hour later I was upstairs and I looked out at them through our sunroom windows and there in the little hallway of the chicken coop was a gigantic raccoon, all of the chickens were still outside and he wasn’t harming them but he was inside our coop! So of course, I ran yelling down the stairs to Joe and we went outside to take a look.
Joe went into the coop while I watched from outside the fence and he discovered that there were two raccoons not just one. After debating we decided that we (which really means Joe because he did it all, I was nowhere near those raccoons) would try to get the chickens into the smaller room of the coop (there are two rooms and normally they are open to each other but we could close them off to separate two sets of chickens) and then close them in there and then we could open the main door to let the raccoons out. So Joe got the door shut on the smaller room, while keeping an eye on the raccoons who were hanging out in the corner and then he closed the raccoons temporarily into the bigger room while we waited for all of the chickens to go inside the smaller room at dusk. Except of course they didn’t want to go inside because they knew there were raccoons so Joe had to wait until it was dark and they were all sleeping outside and he had to pick each chicken up (almost all 70 of them) and shove them through the door inside before he could open the big door and let the raccoons out! That’s my nice husband…spending two hours coaxing/carrying chickens and trying to get raccoons out of the chicken coop without hurting them. I knew we could shoot them but I really didn’t want to, they didn’t even harm a single feather on a single chicken the entire time, and who knows how long they were out there before I noticed them, so I really didn’t want them to get hurt (they are living creatures too and they don’t know that they aren’t supposed to go into our chicken coop)…so Joe was nice and he helped them out safely for me 🙂
Unfortunately, Once Joe got the chickens inside and left the door open for the raccoons…we were watching them from the futon in the sunroom like live T.V. they did leave the coop but they climbed up the chicken wire in the fenced yard and into the roof instead of walking out the door and going on their way! So Joe had to go back outside with a flashlight in the dark but there was nothing he could do with them up in the rafters so we left the chickens locked inside and left the fence door open and sometime during the night we think they climbed down and out… we’re not totally sure but we haven’t seen them since!
There are no holes under the fence, no holes through the fence and no holes in any of the windows in the entire chicken coop. The only thing we can figure is that they climbed up the chicken wire and into the open roof vents (there should be screen covering them but there isn’t because the roof is so old, or maybe there just never was screen) and then climbed down through the rafters. They must have been curious or something because they didn’t eat anyone or hurt anyone… Joe said they looked pretty mean and they were gigantic but they cooperated and left peacefully and like I said, we haven’t seen them since!
I wish I would have grabbed my camera and gotten a picture of all the chickens in the corner and the raccoon just looking out the door at us! At that point though we didn’t know if the raccoons had eaten anyone or what they were doing yet so my camera was the last thing on my mind. I hope there is no next time, but if there is a next time, I’ll try to get a picture of them!