If you have raccoons in your area, then you may be wondering ‘do raccoons eat chickens?’ and can they attack them. Well, we are going to talk about whether they will on this page. We will also provide you with a couple of tips that will help to protect your chickens from raccoons.
Do Raccoons Eat Chickens?
Yes, raccoons eat chickens and they will eat just about anything that they can get their paws on. If your chickens are within easy reach, they are going to be snatched.
The thing is that raccoons probably won’t eat the whole chicken. They will eat bits and pieces of it. Some backyard chicken owners have claimed that raccoons have ONLY eaten the heads of their chickens and the headless body is left behind.
This is rare. It normally means that the raccoon is going to come back for the rest of the food at a later date.
Basically, if your chickens are not protected (and we will discuss how to protect them soon), they are going to be at the mercy of any raccoons in the local area.
Will Raccoons Eat Chicken Eggs?
Yes, raccoons will eat chicken eggs too. Plenty of raccoons have been caught snatching chicken eggs from a coop. Although to be fair, this is going to be fairly rare.
After all, a chicken is probably going to be much more ‘prized’ to the raccoon, so they would probably end up snatching that before any egg.
However, some smaller raccoons have been known to make a beeline for the eggs, particularly when the chickens look like they are able to put up a fight.
Remember; whether it is chickens or chicken eggs the raccoon is taking, once they know that where they are heading has a viable source of food, they will keep returning. This means that if you do not do everything in your power to protect the chickens, you will see many of them succumb to the same fate.
How Racoons Eat Chickens
Nine times out of ten, if you have noticed that one of your chickens has ‘disappeared’, it is probably not a raccoon that has taken them. Not that this is something that probably matters all that much to you. Your chicken is still gone.
However, raccoons are fairly rare. They also tend to leave a few signs that they have been in the coop.
Perhaps the best way to know if one of your chickens have been snatched by a raccoon is the fact that there will be small parts of the chicken left behind. Most of the time, it won’t be a ‘clean take’.
Raccoons eat the chicken ‘on the move’. They aren’t going to take them back. This means that small parts of the chicken will be left scattered around. If you notice this, then a raccoon has probably been in the coop.
A lot of time, people will find headless and wingless chickens in their gardens. Not an ideal sight for your children to see, so you probably will want to cover that up if you suspect a raccoon has been in the vicinity.
Protecting Your Chickens Against Raccoons
For example; raccoons can easily open up certain locks on the door of a coop. If you have a slide bolt, then the raccoons will probably be able to open it. This means that each night, you will want to padlock up the door to prevent raccoons from being able to undo the bolt.
You may also want to consider a more complicated lock or an automatic chicken coop door, but we feel that the padlock is the best (and cheapest) route to go down.
You will also want to get smaller wire for your chicken coop. If there are larger holes in the coop, then the raccoon will use it to their advantage. For example; larger holes mean that they can fit their paws through. If your chickens are anywhere close, the raccoon will grab them.
They will then slowly munch away at the chicken until they are able to pull them out. Of course, the chicken will be alive for part of this process.
If you can, make sure that your chickens go into the coop each night. Make sure that you lock it up. if you can’t, then a roof to their run would be good. As long as the wire isn’t weak, the raccoons should not be able to get through. They will try, though.
It is unlikely that raccoons will dig under the fence. They are after more ‘quick’ food, but there is a chance they will. If anything, other predators will. It is, therefore, recommended that you have the fence of the run sunk really deep into the ground.
You may even want to have bricks lining the bottom. It will make it even harder for predators to get in.
See also: Do Possums Eat Eat Chickens?