On the bright side, Raccoons are EDIBLE
and the food they eat is almost always washed because coons don't produce saliva so they wash it in water if they can to help swallow. The bad news is they bite, sleep all day, fight all night, produce poorly, smell bad, don't lay eggs, eat garbage in the dark, and loathe poultrymen with an undying contempt. They also carry a parasite worm that can infect dogs and people
. (fight 'em or join 'em ... tough choice).
I totally recommend live-trapping them & if you don't want to COOK THEM
, take the biggest male to the vet & have him fixed. Farm animals and pets are castrated early so they won't become aggressive, but if they've already matured, it's too late to unlearn that behavior, and that's perfect for our purpose. Because then he'll keep all the other coons out of his territory (which presumably includes your coop or he wouldn't be there), and he won't sire any more. Once he decides the coop is unassailable, he'll probably
leave it alone. Whereas every new litter of kits would have to test your coop again & again.
If he doesn't
leave it alone, he's probably starving, so put some crunchies or something in a bowl near your neighbors property line to get him through the winter. If you don't he might starve (I guess they do that, though it seems odd) & you'll have to start all over w/ another vet bill. Or you can sedate
them yourself (unless you're a sniveling, spineless coward
). What's the worst that could happen? Just leave a door open, they don't chase very far.
To catch the biggest male, you'll probably have to wade through a succession of younger ones. These might be translocated if they're a year old, but that's also when they taste best because they're not tough yet. At any rate, late winter/ early spring is a good time to put out traps. Dominant males will be territorial then because breeding season is approaching, and a cage full of wondrously dumb birds is prime turf for checking out the lady carnivores. Usually, adults weighs 10-20 lbs (the bigger the better), but there are population variations. Northern varieties weigh more (62 lbs record from Wisconsin), southern coons weigh less. Here's wikipedia for further reading
so you can see what size to look for.
Another option might be releasing them somewhere distant so they can't find their way back, but please let me disillusion you: places like Tahiti and Antarctica have strict quarantine regulations for just this reason. I've heard though that European hipsters actually import them for exotic pets (!) so there might be some money there. But any place closer (like Patagonia) especially with a direct migratory pathway, will see them back home (like cats) in a finite number of days (approximately = to total miles divided by 10, unless they get killed or diverted by better pickings). I'm thinking the best way to get rid of females is in spring (March & April) before they give birth (between May & July). If you can drive them more than 630 miles away (divided by 10 = 63 days, which is the length of gestation) there's a good chance the kits will be someone else's problem.
Ok, I admit, they're cute (youtube) if you don't have poultry.
But ..uh, of course there's always the "Other" raccoons (youtube). Mendocino County, my home.
Thanks Bill, I feel totally enlightened. I wish I had this device 10 years ago. After losing flock after flock of ducks and ducklings, and a couple of geese we got tired of raising prime food for the coons. Cheers.
Arlene Fuller, Mendocino County 4-H
This is a rave on Bill's low-tech chicken door gizmo. Before, whenever we wanted
to go out for the evening, we'd have to get a neighbor to come close the
coop door. My favorite part is the shock absorber, which makes the door come down slowly, not slamming down on any poor hens. My least favorite part is the mouse trap (obsolete by popular demand), so Steve sets it, not me. Indeed, this invention has made life easier for us all.
Barbara Faulkner, Mendocino Music Festival
coordinator (piano teacher & cat herder)
The primary objective to develop the Kaczynski "Bad Coon" Mark I concept design and hardware with direct scaleability is: directly scaleable weights, margins, loads, design, fabrication methods and testing approaches: traceability, technology, and general design similarity, to a full-scale Mark II
(Goldberg) system. The "Bad Coon" is intended to demonstrate the technologies necessary to achieve systems integration within the mass fraction constraints of chicken coop door closeing devices. In addition, the "Bad Coon" will meet operational requirements outlined in the Mil-Spec CCDCD. Pg 244, sec 18, pp 7-16. The "Bad Coon" Mark II (Goldberg model) is envisioned to operate unpersoned.
1. Fusarium is the genus name of a group of pathogenic fungi, and has nothing to do with design engineering or structural nomenclature even though it sounds like it should. Ditto Varnax Pivot (because I just made it up). However I predict the latter will eventually enter the lexicon of timeless building terminology with such handy words as "Soffit", "Header", "Fusee", and "Jefferies Tube". Because like them, it fills a reference vacuum with a concise description recognizable to anyone in the profession.