Tag Archives: raccoons

Thwarting Raccoons For Now

The raccoon wars are stalemated for now. The fruit trees and chick house are in contention.

The raccoons won some and lost some. So did we.

Most of my apples are gone. One Asian pear tree was stripped in a single night by raccoons.

The lines of electric fence went up. The other two Asian pear trees remain untouched.

raccoons don't like electric fence

The roofing tin sides should have worked as they are four feet high. They didn’t. Raccoons jumped up, caught the top and climbed over last year. This year electric fence wire circles the top and bottom of the metal square. Finally we get to eat some of the Asian pears.

Next year the electric fence lines will expand. The apple tree is still a challenge, but now that we know the electric fence works, the challenge will be met.

That gives a happy ending for the fruit crops. It leaves my pullets at risk. Their house is on the other side of the garden and workshop from the fruit trees.

I built the chick house around 20 years ago. I’m not a great carpenter, even worse then, so it isn’t quite square. I’ve patched it numerous times over the years in an effort to keep the wildlife away from my chicks.

The wildlife keeps winning. Between the raccoons and black snakes, the last couple of years have been disasters.

Next year will be different. I’m remodeling the chick house.

solid building should foil raccoons

Is any building truly safe from raccoons or snakes? I have my doubts. This one is as safe as I could make it with solid walls and floor, securely screened windows and ceiling and four hooks on the doors. The roost sets on two supports and is easily removable to put a brooder and heat lamp in for baby chicks.

There are now solid plywood walls. A tongue and groove floor is in place. The doors are replaced or fixed. A solid door sill went up. This should keep the black snakes out.

Although chicks like to be warm, they out grow much of it in a couple of weeks. They raise a lot of dust growing feathers and dropping manure. Ventilation is imperative.

The chick house had hardware cloth tacked up around the eaves and over the windows. It wasn’t secure. A couple of raccoons discovered this.

raccoons like pullets for dinner

My black Arcana pullets are half grown, but still living in the chick house. Or, at least, they have moved into the remodeled chick house. They had been spending the nights in a cat carrier for safety, so don’t know much about going into a house at night. All of us are glad to dispense with the cat carrier. The pullets were getting much too big to fit.

The remodeled house has a hardware cloth ceiling securely tacked up and under the plywood walls. The problem window is now secure with more hardware cloth over it and slats around it tacking the cloth down.

A roost is in place. It sets on a foundation for easy removal when the heat lamp is in place. Plenty of floor space is left for a water fount and feed trays.

My remodeled chick house and I am ready for next spring and new pullets.

Raccoon Wars Beginning

As we have no dogs, summer begins the raccoon wars.

Pictures of raccoons make them look so cute with their masked faces and ringed tails. For the gardener or homesteader, cute ends there.

Raccoons are vandals. They destroy for the fun of it. If there are five sacks of feed, all five will be ripped open. Even feed raccoons won’t eat is ripped open. Even an army of raccoons can’t eat two hundred fifty pounds of feed in a single night.

raccoon wars nightmare around apple tree

My Fuji apple tree is getting big. Many branches overhang the tractor shed roof. Others hang over piles of lumber. The garden fence is next to the tree and covered with wild grape vine. The lumber could be moved. The shed and garden fence can’t be.

Chickens are a favorite meal. Raccoons will often kill five or six, eating one.

Tomatoes are another target. All of the green tomatoes are torn off and left on the ground. Each reddening one has a bite out of it.

I don’t leave sacks of feed available. I lock up my chickens at night. A livetrap is put out near the tomatoes.

These are the opening skirmishes. The real raccoon wars are only a whisper now.

raccoon wars tree cage

Roofing tin sheets surround this Asian pear tree. The branches must be propped because of the fruit. Four foot lengths of PVC pipe surround the props. Chicken wire tops the metal. The raccoons can still get inside.

Apple and Asian pear trees are heavy with fruit. This fruit is still small, months from ripening.

The trees are defenseless.

Raccoons have hands. They climb trees and farm buildings easily. They love apples and Asian pears about two weeks before picking time.

The Asian pear trees are separated. Each is hidden inside sheet metal boxes four feet high, put up last year.

raccoon wars metal ring

A four foot high ring of sheet metal with axle grease ringing it couldn’t stop the raccoons. They jumped up, grabbed the top and pulled themselves over.

The raccoons managed to jump high enough to scramble up and raid the trees. It was difficult enough so most of the crop was still on the trees for us to pick.

My apple tree isn’t so lucky. It grows next to the tractor shed. Last year the large crop vanished before ripening.

The fruit trees are again heavy with fruit. The raccoons are aware of this. We know the raccoons know. The raccoon wars loom.

Maybe we can wrap barbed wire around the boxes. This isn’t practical.

Making the boxes higher will entail putting in a door so we can get to the trees. This isn’t very practical.

Getting a dog isn’t an option. We want the neighbors’ dogs to stay home and need no invitation living here.

raccoon wars apple prize

One of the prizes the raccoon wars are fought over is the crop of Fuji apples, not ripe until October. Last year the apples vanished during September.

At present I am considering an electric fence. This would mean clearing a pathway for the wires. The orchard area has Common Milkweed six to seven feet tall growing among the trees, a sudden drop to the pasture fence on the outside of the trees, the tractor shed and lumber complicating this option.

The raccoons are determined. We are determined. The raccoon wars will be decided by who can out maneuver whom.