Last night I made a bad mistake. I normally close the coop at 8pm but I was an hour late. I went out into the darkness and already knew something was wrong...and as I approached the coop I could hear it in the run even though I couldn't see it. As I got closer it snarled but I had to close the coop door. I couldn't be more than a foot or two from it when I slammed the door shut. I didn't see any chickens inside the coop from the window, or any out in the run, so I ran back into the house for my taclight (brightest flashlight ever). I ran back and the racoon was gone, I heard it escape through some other way than the main hole it got in from.
I found my chickens petrified in a corner of the coop nesting box crushed behind their waterer, piled 3 deep in terror. They were so terrified that they didn't move even with my face an inch away from theirs as I bent down to check on them. I tried my best to un-pile them and look for injuries, petting them and such while trying to work them apart from each other. I've never been able to pet them before. I knew they would smother one or two of each other if they stayed huddled like that through the night, wings and necks splayed every which way. I got most of them apart so left them alone.
I went into the run and found the still warm and opened up body of one of the Light Brahmas. There were feathers everywhere. I removed the body and took it many yards away from the coop, setting it down so I could go secure the run better (?). The body didn't stay there 5 minutes and it was gone. I could see eyeshine from raccoons...there had to be more than one. I also saw an opossum next to one of the little raccoons. The one coon I saw clearly was just a youth not bigger than the chicken, and certainly wasn't the one that removed the body. They also could care less with me being around. I can basically walk right up to them about 2-3 yards away without them breaking a sweat to my presence, until I growled back at them and they took off into the night.
I cleaned up myself after going into the house and debated getting my pistol, but knew that wouldn't do anything but make them laugh, likewise the 22. As angry as I was I really felt like wounding them, even knowing I'd hate myself later somehow I just wanted to kill the things...mothers, babies, anything that shines eyes at me was fair game. And those feelings quickly melted away to depression...angry at it being my fault, really, all mine for my negligence, and they are just looking for meals.
The 12 guage is currently in our safe, and being my husband's gun I don't touch his things. He gets back from the UK today though so tonight we plan to strike back. The 12 guage was never one I really wanted to learn to use because I have an aversion to guns that loud and with that kickback, but I am rethinking that now. I've had my eye on a particular gun for a couple years now and it may be the time to finally buy it so I will have a 12 gauge of my own. The Mossburg 500 JIC (Just in Case):
Although for five times the price tag instead of killing the coons I could just explode them with this:
Which is half of what I am feeling like doing to them right now...
In any case tonight the traps are going out. I've got a couple cages and a hand trap we haven't tried yet. The traps are always successful due to their greed. I wish there could be a truce but it's plain to see that one mistake or slip up and they will take full advantage. They break into the run every night regardless that there's no food around. How much longer until they work their way into the chicken coop itself? Will they chew through the wood? Rip off the wire at the rooftop ventilation areas? Will their hands be able to undo caribiners (I heard even these might not be safe enough latches!) and open the doors?