Chickens are mostly vulnerable to predators at night when the roost and sleep. If you ever want to catch a chicken the time to do it is at night when it is sleeping. Chickens are completely defenseless when they go into their suspended animation of sleep. That is precisely when Raccoons go after them. Many predators can not reach the chickens up on a pole or a suspended roost or even up on a tree branch but raccoons know how to climb poles and they know how to climb walls and they know how to climb down ropes if you think you can protect your birds by suspending their roosts from a ceiling. suspended roosts far enough off the ground toward the middle of the ceiling is one way to prevent the raccoons from getting to your sleeping chickens. It is possible to have a pulley hoist for laying boxes too so you can be sure the laying boxes are off the ground where raccoons can’t get to the eggs. Most raccoon evil action is nocturnal. Having a chicken house big enough to have a ceiling far in enough to keep the raccoons away not a luxury for urban chickens as pets. Raccoons can not easily get though chicken wire cages, but they can and do on occasions. Building a typical chicken wire wood cage for your chickens makes it necessary to lock them in at night and to let them out by day as having chickens free range is the idea. Making chicken care as automatic as possible is the best way to keep chickens and not have to spend too much time supervising them or protecting them from predators. Setting up automatic water and gravity fed food bins makes having chickens easy until the raccoons show up and ruin things.
Raccoons are visions creatures who are probably also responsible for the so called alien mutilations of cows and everything that chupa cabre is accused of. To build a small chicken house they can’t easily penetrate which is almost fool proof you need to be sure you have chickens that can fly higher than a raccoon can jump. you can build your chicken house on stilts with a ceiling that overhangs the poles so the raccoon climbing the poles cannot get past the overhang. If a chicken can fly up to that level they can go from there to a roost. The roosts should be positioned so that the chicken poop falls to the ground and not on top of any of your structure. Building a roof for shelter on top helps but the bottom should be open so that chicken poop does not collect in the house and will never need to be cleaned. Chickens will wake up and fly down to get food and water after most of the danger of raccoons has passed. A chicken that is awake is the first line of defense in not getting caught or eaten. Raccoons will feast on chicken feed if they can’t get at the birds so if you can design a hoist to have the food suspended above the ceiling that will keep raccoons out and probably squirrels and rats too. Chickens will tend to share a single laying box and that you can also put on an elevator pulley to be above the ceiling the birds have to fly up to get to. This type of set up will frustrate raccoons unless they figure out how to chew though the posts to get the stilted bird house to collapse. That probably will never happen. If you have your birds on automatic, unfortunately some free range hens will seek ground level laying places and they become vulnerable once they go into brooding hen suspended animation. The raccoons have an easy time having chicken and eggs in that case. The thing to do is to take the eggs form those chickens or try to move her to the high safe laying box in the off the ground chicken house.
The San Diego zoo tends to wrap the tops of poles with slippery materials that the raccoons and other zoo creatures cannot sink their toe nails into. This is another solution to having a ceiling above the poles that prevents the raccoons from climbing over the top and into the chicken safe area.
Farm and feed stores have all the automatic feeders and automatic watering devices including one that just goes on the end of a hose. Automatic chicken feeding bins do the trick but leaving chickens to free range as they please by day they will expand their diet beyond the expense of keeping food in these.
Chickens appreciate the privacy of being able to sleep off the ground where it is safe It does propose a problem for the chicken keeper because you might not want to have to move a ladder to the high off the ground chicken house just to get to the chickens. It is also possible to have the whole structure on an elevator style pulley platform so that you can lower it to ground level to clean the parts of the chicken house that may need cleaning. having the ceiling can leave you a mess on the roof of that ceiling. Again roosts should be out beyond that point so all the chicken poop that accumulates during their roosting goes straight to the ground instead. If the whole structure operates like a pulley elevator system then one can just hose it when its near the ground to clean it when the chickens are out free ranging in the garden. Other birds including ducks and Guinea hens that can fly may also take a liking to the high safe roosts. Turkeys also like to roost and sleep at night making them vulnerable to raccoons. Turkeys might prefer to do this in trees which unfortunately makes them vulnerable. Geese stay on the ground to sleep and designing a raccoon proof sleeping are for them is more difficult than doing it for chickens. For geese it might take some computer controlled timer that locks them in at night and lets them out by day when they first wake up? Chickens are a lot more fun if you can get them on automatic and with a raccoon proof chicken house you may be able to have your automatic chickens and eggs too.