Masked bandit massacre

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.

Barred Rock chicks warming up under a light. These little girls will produce eggs in about 4-5 months.

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?

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5 Comments on “Masked bandit massacre”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    Sorry for the loss but remember the world is not all about us or the chickens.

  2. Michael Greer says:

    Here in the middle of the Village of Potsdam, we have raccoons. They live right here as close as your neighbors in every unattended old garage and shed, and are waiting now for the sweet corn. Trapping raccoons is like trying to empty a pool with a cup.
    But we have a problem even worst than raccoons…worse than drunken college students. We have deer. We have big deer, little deer, deer with spots, and deer with horns. They eat everything that the villagers plant…everything that folks treasure, be it tomatoes, hostas, or apple trees.
    I’d like to propose that we spend our Homeland Security funds to build a deer fence (or ungulate exclusion zone, to use military parlance) around the village. It would be far more useful than most of that spending.

  3. Louise Scarlett says:

    Ditto in Rossie – raccoons, opossum and rabbits (rabbits both sides of the 8 foot garden fence.) I know the world isn’t about us, it’s a question of balance – some for them, some for us (but the critters don’t know that.)

  4. Jim Akins says:

    We recently rented a place on Trout Lake and the owner warned that raccoons were getting into everything. Trash barrels are bungee-corded to keep them out.
    It makes a mess when they get into things
    There is a great children’s book told from the point of view of the raccoons waiting for the corn to ripen and the battle with the farmer…various things used to try to thwart the raccoons, who were victorious in the end.
    Some for us, some for them

  5. Ellen Rocco says:

    I’m pretty generous in my garden–some of the greens and carrots and tomatoes are always sampled by a variety of critters. Fair enough. But I gotta tell you, when they (e.g., raccoons) start killing animals that rely on us for their well-being–including being safe–I draw the line. Some for us, some for them…sure. A few potatoes? Okay. Even a few eggs? I can live with it. But hens? Nope. I’m not that generous.

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