Saturday, February 27, 2016

Raccoon Problems

This post has information about how to trap and dispatch predators on your homestead. If you think all creatures can live in harmony, you should probably skip this one.

Everything is not perfect on any homestead. I found that out the hard way one night when a family of raccoon's decided they liked the taste of duck. I set out a trap and got one the first night. While they are cute, they are not to be taken lightly when you have poultry on your homestead. After I dispatched the first one, I had no other attacks for months. I got complacent and stopped locking the chicken coop door at night. Bad idea. I lost three chickens in one night. 

After that we started locking the door and letting them out in the morning. We forgot to lock the coop up one night and lost four more chickens for a total of seven dead. I constantly have the trap out and baited but these raccoon's are smart, I think they have been trapped before and let go. Please never do this. Once a raccoon learns what a trap is they will avoid them in the future.


It is illegal to trap and relocate raccoon's in the state of Ohio and many other states. If you want to keep poultry and you don't want to kill raccoon's and other threats to your flock, you have a problem. If you call animal control, they will come out and take them away to kill. And guess what, you get the bill. I know the price of .22 LR has gone up, but one round is much cheaper than a bill from animal control.
If you find yourself in a situation where the racoon you are trying to trap is avoiding your trap, try to camouflage your trap with just the front open. I am assuming you are using a Havahart trap or something similar. You can cover the trap with a cardboard box and cover that with leaves leaving only the entrance open. Use marshmallows as bait. This will stop you from catching cats with other baits like tuna or meat.

When you are faced with dispatching the animal you trap, you can read about many methods on the best way to do it. I researched them and came back to my initial thought, a single round of .22 LR. The animal is caged and it is easy to get a clean kill with one shot. Other methods are much worse. Some people throw the cage in water and drown the animal, I find this horribly cruel. Some people use car exhaust, basically suffocating the animal. This is unnecessarily cruel. One bullet is the fastest and most effective method in my opinion.

While we are on the topic of dispatching unwanted pests. Some people put out anti-freeze for cats and other unwanted animals to drink. Anti-freeze is sweet and animals will drink it thinking it is food. The main ingredient is ethylene glycol which is naturally sweet. The death these animals face is unbelievably horrible. The people who do this are some of the worse people. Please never do this.You can avoid accidental exposure by making sure the anti-freeze you buy has been treated with denatonium benzoate, a bittering agent added to make it unpalatable. Not all states require it to be added and most repair shops use professional grade coolant which is exempt. Please ask the question when buying anti-freeze or having your car serviced.


  1. Shame on you! Raccoons and foxes are doing what comes naturally and it is YOUR FAULT for "forgetting " to care for your birds, NOT THEIRS. I have fox that regularly come in yo my barnyard to check that my birds are not out.

  2. The original raccoon got my duckling during the day. The fact that we left the door on the coop open doesn't mean raccoons are not a problem in my area. Our ducks live in the backyard, it's just that our chickens were easier prey at the time. Sorry your sensibilities were injured, raccoons on my property get dealt with. Bottom line.

  3. I also permaculture farm. I'm in Southern WV (Mavis Manor) we have had our running in with Raccoons. I knew from folks that were happy to get the pelts and bones. But, if you don't know a way to reuse the carcass, you can make a carcass feeder for chickens. It pretty much where you breed magnets in buckets that then feed the chicken. Kinda a sweet irony. There are different ways to perfect it, but it's most just 2 5gal buckets. This way I don't feel like I killed the raccoon in vein.

    Next, and this have worked great for me over the years. I also have a radio playing for the chickens and ducks. This have don't a pretty great job keep a lot of wildlife away. ( I have game camera setup from time to time to see if the radio trick is still working)

    Finally, and What I say is a MUST for every farm are guineas. Those birds are like the TSA. Trying to get their beaks into everything, panic at the smallest noise, and telling everyone on the farm that they are in charge.

    Mavis Manor | Hen-X Farm

  4. This last Spring brought a herd of raccoons to our neighborhood. They were like a marauding hoard... digging under our trailer, knocking down the bird feeders and my plants, terrorizing our kitty that lives in the hay shed, stealing the neighbor's pet food, pooping all over the place... my husband shot over 20 of them before it was over. We would much rather let them live but it was intolerable. This is all great advice. We live in SE Indiana so we are practically neighbors!