|The windows are covered in hardware cloth.|
|The doors that lead into the enclosed run are covered in hardware cloth.|
|The entire run is covered in hardware cloth! I even dug a trench around the run and sunk the hardware cloth almost a foot underground to thwart digging predators!|
|The nesting box has a raccoon proof carabiner.|
|The door to the run has a raccoon proof lock.|
|The door into the coop itself has a raccoon proof lock.|
|The large side door has TWO raccoon proof locks!|
This leads to the question of how on earth did a raccoon get into the coop! Well, I think I locked him in there. We went to a Chicago Fire soccer game and got back around 10 at night. We've had the chickens for a year and four months and haven't had any issues with predators other than hawks, and even those have never actually made an attempt on our birds. So we've gotten a little careless and allow our ladies to wander around their yard whether we're home or not. The chickens put themselves to bed at night and then we go and lock their doors behind them. When we came home at 10 at night the chickens were already in bed and I'm pretty sure me walking into their run scared the raccoon into it. Then I walked right up to the coop and locked the door; raccoon, chickens and all! Five hours later Tim finds the raccoon in the coop and here we are, racing downstairs grabbing random water bottles and other brick-a-brack in my panic (I'm not entirely sure what I meant to do with it). I run out while Tim shouts that we don't want to get bitten by this raccoon. He runs back inside to grab a broom while I turn on the hose and make sure that it's set to jet. Tim unlocks the side of the coop and uses the broom to open it while I stand at the ready with the hose. We were both majorly freaked out, expecting to find a charnel house. And there, sitting on the roosting bar along with Paulie and Violet was the raccoon. Twinkie was standing near the door, probably dislodged by the raccoon who tried to climb and hide when it heard us coming. I turned on the hose and sprayed everybody in the coop. Twinkie flew out, the raccoon disappeared into the rafters of the coop and then came running out after I sprayed up there also. It came right at me so I sprayed it in the face, it veered towards Tim before hightailing it out under the gate towards the alley. We collected Twinkie, locked the girls back up, and then I spent a long time lying in bed trying to get my heart to beat at a normal pace so that I could fall asleep. The raccoon was just a juvenile, otherwise I'm sure the outcome wouldn't have been so good. It even ignored the two eggs that had been in the nesting box! If we hadn't been so scared about what we'd find in the coop we could have video taped it, it was pretty funny seeing that raccoon roosting along with our chickens! Now we have to be much more careful with our girls. Lock them into their enclosed run when we'll be away at dark and use a flashlight to make sure the coop doesn't have any unwelcome visitors before locking it at night. I guess this whole chicken raising thing had been too easy. Lucky us, it just got more interesting!