July 1, 2016

Protect Chicks from Being Eaten by Racoons

Twos weeks ago, one of our six new chicks was eaten by a racoon.  We had left them outside in the backyard too late in their little play cage.  I went into the backyard just as it was getting dark to bring the chicks in and I was shocked to see their play cage dragged a few feet from where I put it and what at first glance seemed like an empty cage.  Then I saw a racoon at the corner of the cage, trying to pull out a chick through the bars.  I ran out to the cage shouting, but I was too late.  The racoon had killed the chick.  I thought they had all been eaten.

But then we heard a little 'peep,peep' from under the sunroom and a little chick ran out to us.  We scooped her up in our arms and thought thank god that one has survived.  And then we found three more chicks hiding near the sunroom.  We brought them all inside and gave the four chicks a quick inspection and none of them were hurt.

One chick was still missing, so we had the kids help us try and find the last one.

But we had to give up after an hour or so.  It was completely dark by then with a million mosquitoes trying to get us.  I went out again just before bed, but I couldn't find the last chick.  We thought she must have been eaten.  I barried the one dead chick in the corner of the garden near the wildflowers and placed a patio stone overtop and went to bed.

In the morning, I went outside to let the big hens out and I watched the three of them come down the coop ramp and then a little chick came tumbling out behind them.  I was so surprised and happy that chick number five was alive.  I picked her up and held her close and came running into the house to tell the family.  We were all relieved to find her.  We examined her and she seemed great and we put her inside with the other chicks.

So needless to say,  we didn't use that play cage again and we got to work on building a larger chicken coop so that we could combine the little ones and the big girls together.  Pictures of the larger coop will be posted soon.

Here's a picture of the racoon culprits that we saw last year.