No, not Zorro or the Lone Ranger. Raccoons.
It’s been some years since we had a barnyard problem with raccoons, but we were hit hard last month. Finally, we discovered–and removed–the family of raccoons which had taken up residence in our barn, where they were regularly helping themselves to a chicken dinner, or a late night scrambled egg snack. I’m making light of it now, but it was a pretty awful scene out there. Over a two-week period, which included locking our barn every night (of course, this didn’t work because unbeknownst to us, the bandits were living inside, not outside) with the hens closed in behind wire fencing, we lost dozens of eggs and almost 20 hens. Sure, the raccoons were doing what raccoons do: eating anything and everything.
We’ve moved the remaining hens to separate, safer quarters, and we are raising replacement chicks.
So, everyone I’ve talked to says the raccoon population has exploded this year. Ditto for other small mammals. What’s been your observation? Was it the mild winter? Normal cyclical changes in animal populations? Any wildlife specialists out there want to weigh in here?