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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › lost 2 silkies to raccoons... :(

lost 2 silkies to raccoons... :(

user 83188052
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 13
We lost 2 silkies. we suspect it was raccoons because we've seen them running in and out of our yard while we were looking for the birds. but the raccoons could have just been scavenging, previously we had an attack by a possum. my boyfriend found one body (it's hard to tell if it's just one or two) in our yard. i went to look in the neighbors yard where I found a wing. probably both are dead but hard to confirm. our 4 other birds (1 silkie, 3 barred rocks) were safe in the coop. We live next to this very old lady who spends most of the day just watching the neighborhood and sweeping her drive way. her english isn't very good but we talked to her and we think she told us that the raccoons are in our yard all the time (day and night). The attack happened before 7 pm (that's when we got home). Seems so early!! we're going to keep the birds in the coop tomorrow. we love letting our birds free range in the yard (the silkies stay in the pen because they can't fly but the barred rocks would fly out of the pen and forage all over). I want them to be able to free range but I also don't want to lose any more birds. do motion sensor lights work? would that scare off raccoons? anybody have any suggestions? I think the reality of the situation will be that we can't have them free range and also protected. but maybe not...

RIP Peeper and Pooper :(

I'm really sad about pooper. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but she was the sweetest bird i ever knew. she was also the brightest. she would follow you around and let you cuddle with her. she was so cute.
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 656
I'm sorry about Peeper and Pooper. I know how it is to have a favorite. even with high walls and keeping them in the coop they are at risk from predators. We keep our favorite in a special part of the house which i'm hoping is the most protected to make sure she is safe. I think the only thing you can have is a really good dog that protects them, otherwise they will always be at risk. Our dogs kill anything that comes into the yard but that includes chickens so we have to keep them separated. If i forget to close a door or a gate, something bad would definitely happen. Motion lights might help but not if a mamma raccoon needs to feed her babies I'm not sure it will work. Poor pooper. I'm sure she loved knowing that she could run around whenever she wanted.
Susan J.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 149
Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear about your pets, poor little things :( I've lost 2 young ducks, 1 to an owl (I'm guessing since a huge owl flew into my yard one summer night around 7pm when it was just getting dark, and I didn't see any feathers, my duck just disappeared and I looked all over including neighbors' yards). The 2nd abduction was definitely a raccoon. I bring them in now before dark, but yes it's hard (or impossible) if we work late! I've never heard of raccoons coming during daylight. Wow, is there any way an interpreter can ask your neighbor what she actually witnessed? I'd really like to know if she sees them during daylight hours. I think they come up from the water drains after dark, I can't imagine they roam before dusk...

I'm in the same boat you're in. If I work past dark, or go away for a weekend, I have to lock them up 24/7. Hard when some of your flock don't get along due to age differences.

After my duck Sophie was mauled (so awful, the other ducks went to her defense, and they were traumatized for 5 months), I went online to study about raccoons. I'm sure there must be some info out there on how to ward them off and what time of day they roam.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 371
Jennifer, I'm so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately raccoons, and other predators, are a fact of life in every community, and the only thing that will keep them from eating chickens is a secure enclosure. It's great to let your birds free-range, but it really is a matter of when, not if, a raccoon or other animal will discover that you offer a free buffet. You need to figure out a way to securely enclose as large an area as you can afford, with proper hardware cloth, on all sides and overhead, if you want your birds to be safe while unattended. Even if it means they don't have access to your entire yard unless you're there to supervise, it's better than risking their lives.
I know how devastating it is to lose your beloved pets like this. You have my deepest sympathy.
user 37683612
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 17
Hi Jennifer! I am so sorry to here about your loss. I am sure you gave Pepper and Pooper a wonderful life.

Cynthia- THANK YOU so much for the wonderful advice on building a safe enclosure for newcomers, like me. Me and my dad are going to start constructing a large enclosure this winter for our spring arrivals of Buff Orpingtons and I never thought about doing concrete or pavers to secure the ground. Your amazing and I will follow your steps listed to keep out predators. I will probably keep the chicks in the house for protection for the first 5 weeks and let them out to a play pen with constant human supervision to keep them safe during playtime.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 93
After five years of chicken-keeping, I lost my first girl to a predator last week. Got stuck in rush hour traffic and home after dark—which is now pretty early. By six p.m. I was googling to find out whether it was an opossum or raccoon. (I still don't know.) I admit I have been both lucky and lazy, rarely closing up my flock until an hour or so after dark. Not anymore. I check the time for sunset each day and set an alarm to go outside 10 minutes before and lock them up. (I work at home.) I check in the yard more frequently at night and take my dogs with me. I now also let them out a little later in the morning when the sun is definitely up. I think I will get a motion-activated sprinkler, just in case. Won't the dogs be surprised? My next option is to build a much bigger chicken run and only let them out when supervised. Anyone else have any helpful suggestions?
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 251
Ceebs so sorry to hear about your girl!! I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a yard where i could leave my girls out all day.... But predators do not care what time it is. Last Sunday the squirrels alerted me to a coyote 30 feet away in the creek bed. It was probably 7:30-8am??? and last spring i saw 2 at 9:30!!! well past their bedtime!!! If they are hungry enough they will show up regardless of the time. Sunset is so early these days!!! I bet my girls are in their coop by 4:30ish. I have secure runs but as an extra measure last xmas i asked for the automatic coop doors. They close the girls in at night & let them out in the morning. Can you trust your dogs alone to supervise the chickens??? I have those red blinking predator eye lights.... I'm not really convinced they do much well at least at dusk & dawn when you can clearly see that there is no animal behind the light ;) I also have a motion detection light to scare them off .... Talk radio is said to add a level of protection ?? And I've read of some people soaking tennis balls in ammonia and hanging them around their property. I've read about the sprinkler... Considered trying it. Let me know what you think if you get it! Good luck!

Karen C.
user 83873082
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Post #: 80
We've been in contact with the Dept of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the Dept of Agriculture, because of the coyote problem in Palos Verdes. It's no longer a "nighttime" problem...people are seeing them attack things during the day. One family saw one running with their duck in it's mouth. Apparently, the coyote problem throughout the greater Los Angeles area is the worst ever! So keep that in mind when you make your decision to free range or not to free range.
Karen C.
user 83873082
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Post #: 83
p.s. Ceebs, I'm so sorry about your sweethearts.
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