I did find a thread from January about racoons living in an indoor, I think my problem is different enough that I started a new thread. So far, no racoons are living in the barn, and I want to keep it that way!
Two nights ago, during a bad snowstorm (early evening) I was in barn getting ready to bring horses in and there was a huge ruckus in one of the donkeys run in shed. The donkeys were chasing two racoons out of shed, one racoon headed for barn, the other went the other way - moving quickly across a 10+ acre field. I now think the one that headed for barn ended up camping out near barn for the night.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it stuck around and there was cat food put out in the morning. I went back inside and came out a short time later to find it was in the barn. I got it out of barn, and it took off to a neighbor’s barn down the road - the other direction of where its friend went the night before. This neighbor (cows, not horses) has complained profusely about having an abundance of racoons in and around their barns for years. I have not had a problem, I think I have seen one racoon in the last ten years, but I had dogs who always accompanied me up until last year or maybe the donkeys chased them off, not sure but have never even seen their footprints/tracks much less an actual racoon besides that one time.
It came back last night. The sliding barn doors don’t stay completely shut tight, are moveable to some degree, and it squeezed in. All cat food was removed, it checked the place out but wouldn’t leave and after a couple hours I was desperate, so put a can of cat food upwind of barn 100ft or so just to get it to leave since previous attempts just had it coming back in through the weak doors. While it was eating, I got out my drill, 3/4 " plywood, 2x10s, and made the doors tight but still functional. It held. I can see where the racoon tore chunks off the door and footprints all around barn, but it was unable to come back into the barn.
Did I really screw up putting that food out to get it out of the barn? If I keep doors shut, will it eventually go away for good? I expect it will come back and try to get in barn again, any idea for how long it might keep coming back before deciding nothing to eat here? Should I keep barn doors shut 24/7?
During wee hours barn check I realized I had also locked in two feral cats that I think came from cow barn down the road. I was thinking of creating a cat door really high off the ground so they can get out. From what I’ve read racoons can’t access openings if they are high enough. Anyone have firsthand experience with this and any tips?
I have my own barn cats, not feral and fixed/shots up to date. My plan is that they will get only dry food in the day - will this be ok?
I don’t think the racoon was rabid, just scared and hungry and now alone without its friend. It looked young to me, but I don’t know anything about racoons. It did seem to be favoring a front paw, no visible injuries so perhaps the donkey got it but seemed healthy otherwise.
Any advice appreciated. They sure look cute until they aren’t. And impressively destructive.