I Won’t Be Taking Any Prisoners


It’s all she’s ever wanted to do since she was knee-high to an egg herself. Hatch babies.
She was finally going to fulfill her life’s dream.
Having watched her sit unproductively for nearly a month on her own unfertile eggs, it was time for an intervention. A couple of days ago, I put three likely-fertile eggs I’d picked up from the other hens in my little banty’s nesting box while she got up to get a drink. She looked them over when she came back, rearranged them, then rolled them under her.

Satisfied and filled with new hope, she settled down on top of them to keep dreaming her little dream.
Raccoons killed her sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning. We have free-ranging chickens and ducks, but they aren’t bothering them. They’re going after the hens that are penned up. They’d decapitated another hen, one of our young Domineckers, the night before by reaching into the chicken yard.
They got the banty from behind. There is a hinged door that opens into the nesting boxes behind the chicken house. It has an extra lock designed specifically so raccoons can’t open it, but they didn’t have to open the door. They just slipped their paws into the crack, tore her up, and pulled her out, leaving nothing but a bit of feathers and blood behind.
The struggle must have been brief. Only one egg was broken in the nest.
I have a live trap and I know what to do with them after that. This is war.

I loved that little banty. She was going to be a mother. Was too.


  1. Laney says:

    Oh I am SO sorry Suzanne! Rotten raccoons. Hope they get what is coming to them.
    Sweet little banty didn’t deserve that. Not at all.

  2. Dett says:

    Oh my! I’m so sorry! The only thing she ever wanted was babies. That’s really sad.

  3. Melinda says:

    Oh Suzanne, My heart is heavy today. I’m so sorry.

  4. MissyinWV says:

    Oh no!!! I’m so sorry. How sad!!!!

  5. KateS says:

    Stupid racoons.
    Time for them to go. :hissyfit:

  6. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    I love reading my farm blogs because I get to see lambs and goats and donkeys and chickens. But it’s so sad when I read about a loss like this – I know it’s part of the country life, but still sad. Poor little mama wannabe. :chicken: :chicken:

  7. Runningtrails-Sheryl says:

    Oh Suzanne! I’m so sorry. I know that is heartbreaking for you. Those racoons have got to go!

  8. Kelly Walker says:

    There are NO good raccoons. Do what you have to do! :no:

  9. Marianne says:

    That breaks my heart… :hissyfit:

  10. connie says:

    Oh Suzanne that is horrible news..I am so sorry to hear this..Now you need a coon hound.. :snoopy:

  11. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    How very sad! This is why I could never live on a farm.

  12. Carol says:

    Awww…poor little banty. This broke my heart. I’m sorry Suzanne. Now get those raccoons!

  13. Lauri says:

    I can’t even express how sad this made me! How about you keep living in reality and don’t post any more heart wrenching sad stuff allowing me to keep living in my little dream world. In my world where there is no suffering or bad animals and everyone gets along and lives forever. Agreed?

  14. Amy P says:

    I can’t stop crying for that poor little banty. I loved her so.

  15. CindyP says:

    When you posted the raccoon pic, I thought they were getting your free range hens, why the penned up ones? ……the coons REALLY, REALLY need to go! Poor Banty…… 😥

  16. watkinsgal says:

    Oh how I feel your pain!!! I have lost two hens that were near laying age, four laying hens and one turkey to raccoons, all in the past week. We could not figure out how they were getting in, and still can’t. We reinforced all wired areas of the coop and run though. My son has set a live trap and he caught two coons, one juvenile and one mama. Knock on wood that was the end of it, but the live trap is still set. Put that gun of yours to work. With livestock, the only good coon is a dead one!

  17. bethann says:

    Oh Suzanne,
    I’m sometimes amazed at the depth of human emotion…have never met you or momma Banty…but I can’t believe how sad I am right now!!!
    Where was the giant puppy while all this was going on and why did she not sound the alarm? Maybe the goat yard is too far away from the chicken coop and those stealthy bandits are professionals….

    I’ve no doubt they’ll be sorry they ever chose to mess with your feathered friends…..

    • Suzanne says:

      Coco was out and around the house. She was in the goat yard the night before, which is adjacent to the chicken house, but I deliberately kept her out the following night, hoping she’d scare off raccoons if there was a commotion, but we didn’t hear anything and apparently Coco didn’t either as there was no commotion with the dogs.

  18. Sheila Z says:

    I feel for you and wanna be momma hen. We lost 11 pullets earlier this summer in a one night raccoon massacre. I put up electric fence and got two Pyrenees pups. No losses since. The pups are patrolling and the last two nights have barked and scared off what ever was out there at around 3 AM. Two nights ago I went out with a flashlight when they barked. I could hear something moving around in the woods, but couldn’t see what it was.

    Good luck with the trap. I put one out and caught nothing but a baby woodchuck. I think the raccoon is trap smart. If someone has caught and released them before they are trap wary.

  19. Jayme aka The Coop Keeper says:

    I was so excited to open up your blog today and see that sitting banty. I couldn’t wait to read about her adventures. Oh Suzanne. I feel your pain deeply, as I lost 6 hens to the wicked coon. I even wrote a little blue grass song about it, you might want to look at my blog to see it! I’ll send you a link.

    I just can’t stand thinking about this. I’m glad it seemed to be brief for her. I just can’t imagine the terror.

    You know what ya gotta do girl.

  20. Beth says:

    I’m sorry you lost your little banty girl. I worry every morning that I’ll come in and find something bad has happened. Our coops are pretty predator resistant. I won’t say “predator proof” because things happen.

    I think today we’ll go get some new latches for the doors.

    Someone mentioned something about “bad” animals. Coons aren’t “bad” they are just animals. Doing what they do to survive and who wouldn’t eat from a seemingly free buffet? But we are animals too and we do what we have to to protect what is ours. I’m not raising chickens to feed the coons (or minx or dogs, etc) I am raising them to feed my family with eggs and meat. (I also have a few pets in there as well who will never go on the table) I’m not much for sharing, esp. when it comes to my chickens or geese.

    Hope your traps are full in the morning.

  21. Christine says:

    Aww, poor little thing. I hope you get the buggars that did it.

  22. Lisa S says:

    Oh my gosh that is so sad, get the little bastards that did this. She was so cute sitting on the nest.

  23. maryann says:

    Coons are Mother Natures sneak thieves; we do try and shoot them and skunks out here when we can as we are in a populated area and actually no hunting is allowed. Both raccoons and skunks carry rabies on their fur as babies as it is in the mothers saliva, so be extremely careful on handling any carcass. We are not allowed to raise farm animal around here so what gets attack are family pet rabbits (if they are outside) along with fish ponds that people put in and of course the veggie gardens.

  24. Leslie Jones says:

    I cannot believe how hard I am crying right now for that little banty. I have followed your story on her and was so hoping her eggs would hatch or you would replace them like you did. I am so very sorry! This is why I could NEVER live on a farm. I am WAY too tenderhearted and could never deal with this kind of stuff.

  25. Michelle says:

    Sorry about your hen. She was so cute in the photos waiting to be a mama. (sigh) The coons that got our guineas got through a little hole where that ONE board was not nailed. The barn is so far from the house we couldn’t hear anything. Last night my hub went to check things out and heard sounds in the goat feed barrel and saw a huge hole chewed out. He came right back and got his 22. There were 3 of them in there!! Needless to say they have met their reward. We have goats due to deliver in a couple of weeks and we don’t need coons around for that!! I’m hoping and praying you catch them today!

  26. Mustang Sally says:

    Awww, dreams dashed, expectations unfulfilled. I am so sad for that little banty and her babies-to-be. I hope no good end comes to those coons.

  27. Connie in Texas says:

    I had feeling for that little banty. I loved the story of her setting on the nest! I’m very sad. Be darned to the racoons! :no:

  28. becki says:

    If there’s a Heaven for chickens your Banty-girl is sitting on a nest full of eggs as we sip our morning coffee. And smile. A couple of those eggs are hatching.

    Google “racoon stew”. Don’t forget to tell us what time dinner is.

  29. Annie says:

    I feel for you. I had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago. My lovely broody hen was just a day or two away from having chicks. So of course the about to be born chicks died too. Stinkin coon. There was a roadkill one right in front of my driveway the other day. Is it bad that I just thought, yay, one less raccoon to deal with?

  30. Lisa says:

    That is a very sad story and I am sorry for your loss 🙁 poor little girl wanted to be a mommy.

  31. Cyndi L. says:

    You made that little Banty a real live “person” to your readers and it breaks my heart that raccoons got her. I suggest that the next craft project on your blog be the making of coon skin hats. Rotten little buggers. If they don’t go for the live trap, try leaving an ice chest full of eggs, gogurts and marshmellows out. Ask me how I know.

  32. Erika says:

    OH NO! Be careful with those nasty lil buggers. Once they find a good food source they will stick to it.
    Poor hen, to have that happen to her. We have had that issue and they tried to rip chickens out of a knothole here 😮
    so the whole family met the shotgun.
    good luck and stay safe!

  33. Liz V. says:

    I’m so sorry. I will miss seeing that proud, determined little banty. She really tugged at my heart.

  34. Courtney KS says:

    Not cool! Stupid ‘coons. Maybe the force be with you Suzanne.

  35. Donna Mc says:

    Awe, poor wee banty hen. She was so noble & sweet in her quest. Be careful with the ‘coons. They can be nasty when cornered or trapped. I know they ware just trying to survive and are opportunistic – but they need to move on down the mountain. Hope you catch them soon.

    Have you thought about getting guineas? They make great ‘alarms’ – they carry on & squawk about any kind of visitors. That might help alert you & Coco to any midnight raiders.

  36. Claudia W. says:

    I had 5 chickens once. One of them fancied herself as a dog and would come in the house at night with the dogs to sleep on the couch. If she missed when they came in, she would peck at the door until one of us opened it for her.
    One summer night she decided to have a sleep over with her sisters out in the chicken coop. That was the one night the damned racoons came and raided my coop! I lost her and her sisters and a lone rabbit that lived in the coop with the chickens.
    I HATE racoons, hate them!
    I am so sorry to hear this news, I know the pain those coons have caused you.

  37. Angie says:

    Oh, that just breaks my heart 🙁 Poor sweet thing.

  38. Cindy H. says:

    So sorry! I imagine those raccoons’ days are numbered!

  39. Suzette says:

    How SAD! I didn’t know raccoons were carnivores. I weep for your banty!

  40. Linda W says:

    I just found your blog, so didn’t know that banty for long, but fell in love with her over just the last few days. Handle it, girl. Looks like you will.

  41. Kat says:

    I was on the edge of my seat. Couldn’t wait to see her with her babies. This is SO sad.

  42. miss becky says:

    i hate when this happens. it is nature, but it isn’t pretty, that’s for dang sure. poor little banty.

  43. stephaniej says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! I despise raccoons as well. We had chickens for a little while, and all of us fell in love with a beautiful cochin named cowboy (the kids thought his walk looked like a cowboy toting guns in a holster). A coon got to him through the chicken wire, and tortured him all night through the wire trying to kill him before we found the two of them. He was too long gone to save and suffering horribly, so we had to shoot both him and the raccoon. I have no use for them; I, too, think “one less raccoon to deal with” when I see one dead on the road. They are sneaky, crafty, disease carrying theives.

  44. Mama Pea says:

    Damn. Whenever you have livestock, you’re gonna have deadstock. But I sure wish it didn’t have to be that way.

    I think all of us who raise poultry have gone through this at one time or another. We lost 17 pullets just ready to lay to a pine marten. Mass carnage.

    If you weren’t such a fantastically talented writer, it might not have brought so many of us to tears this morning. (That was meant as a compliment.)

  45. Donna says:

    Sad to see the little mamma go… too bad they didn’t get mean rooster… just sayin’ :sheepjump:

  46. M.J. says:

    I’m so sorry, Suzanne. Your words and photos made your readers admire and love that sweet little Banty as much as you did.

  47. Julie Andrea says:

    SOB SOB .. this is the part of ‘farm life’ that is really difficult. sniffle sniffle

  48. Christy O says:

    I’m sorry. My favorite hen was eaten by a hawk last week. Sometimes farming sucks!

  49. Wheezay says:

    aww.. I’m so sorry and sad.

  50. catslady says:

    I would so not be able to be a farmer with livestock. I know they say you eventually get use to it out of necessity but I don’t think it would happen for me. So very sorry.

  51. monica says:

    My Hubby would say to put a strip of wood over all the fencing edges. I can see where Mr. coon pulled the fence down and got in. It is a cheap and easy fix and should keep them out. Sorry about your cute little hen that will never get to be a mom. :hissyfit:

    I agree with Beth . . .There is a place for all animals in God’s world. There will always be battles to be fought over food . . .this is one of them.

    • BuckeyeGirl says:

      Raccoons are opportunists, and omnivores, they’ll eat anything that is available. They get over, under, and/or will gnaw through thin wire or cracks in boards, and if they can’t, they’ll pull chicken parts through said wire or cracks bit by bit. It’s disgusting and awful and yes, natural, but so is killing predators that are preying on our stock. If a litter of kits are being taught this, they’ll all become just as bad as mom.

  52. cgReno says:

    Total and complete derail. This is the stuff that seperates the wannabe’s(like me) out. I lived with racoons in my attic for years, with my cats, and dogs and NEVER knew that they were like this. I thought they were only scavengers and opportunists. The world can be full of pitfalls and we city dwellers forget about that food chain thing. Sad, and sorry to lose little banty mother, I know she was loved………………..

  53. robin says:

    oh my! i was cheering for her to be able to hatch some little ones…that hurts….so very sorry.

  54. Ms E says:

    It’s time for the racoons to meet the business end of a 12-guage.

  55. Debbie in Memphis says:

    I’m teary-eyed and heart sick for you and your poor little banty hen. She would have been a devoted mommy. So sad that we’ll never get to see it.

  56. Jenny says:

    Oh, that’s too bad. I was thinking maybe you had found some little chicks to slip under her and save her the wait. We haven’t lost any chickens to coons yet, but we are going to be thinning our raccoon population very soon here. We’re still working on figuring out the gun bit, but I hate them coming on the porch and worry about the cats when they do.

  57. Angie says:

    I am so sorry. I follow your blog every day , it usually makes me smile, not today. we have a small farm and a dog killed 2 of my chickens the other day…Henrietta and her husband also named Mean Rooster. I was shocked at how I cried…and how furious it made me. This was a neighborhood dog that wandered that everybody kind of fed, half grown, but i didnt have the first guilty feeling about capturing her in our fence and calling the pound. I think that animals like chickens, and rabbits, and goats evoke such emotion in us when they are savagely killed is because they are such peace loving defenseless animals. Well maybe except Mean Rooster.

  58. Darlene says:

    What a sad day to read about your sweet little hen. I was hoping she hatched some babies, but no. I can hardly believe they got thru that small space. Hope you tell us soon that all the coons are gone.

  59. Becky says:

    Aww poor little hen. This is why I am not a big fan of Raccoons or Skunks!

  60. Melissa Marsh says:

    Oh, Suzanne, I’m so sorry! I have tears in my eyes, thinking about that poor hen, her only mission in life to bring other babies into the world.

  61. Edie says:

    I bet there were little angel chicks waiting for her in heaven. :heart:

  62. vlemonds says:

    I am so sorry!!! Poor little banty hen. 🙁 Stupid racoons!

  63. Estella says:

    So sorry. Poor little hen.
    Sometimes country life is sad.

  64. Nancy K says:

    I don’t usually leave comments but I follow your blog and this was heartbreaking!!!

  65. SuzieQ says:

    I thought when I started reading that she was going to get her babies and then everything crashed down. Here I sit, crying over “our” little banty. I’m so, so sorry..don’t know what else to say.. 🙁

  66. Jenn FL says:

    Oh no!! I have been following her story and was happy to hear that she might hatch a baby or two. Then, the sad part, took my breath away!! Poor momma.

  67. Lola-Dawn says:

    The NERVE of that racoon! Go git him! Show no mercy!

  68. Holly says:

    My dad trapped 3 young coons overnight and they have been relocated. I was not as kind with the one that disembowled my girls. Trapping skunks – now that’s a whole ‘nother matter.

  69. SarahKoski says:

    I am very sad to hear about the little banty. I know she’ll be a good mama for Spraddle. Keeping animals means going through occasional heartbreak. It’s a stark reminder that nothing in life is guaranteed. May your hunt be successful, and concluded swiftly.

  70. Jo says:

    Oh, first you make me laugh….then you make me cry. So sad for little banty hen.

  71. YayaOrchid says:

    I have you on my blog list, and read it every day. I love your wit and humour and the way you weave your stories with realism and simplicity.

    I wanted to say that I so admire the way you gave that banty dignity in her short life. I loved reading about her, she was my favorite. She was just so….dinigifed. Thank you for that!

  72. YayaOrchid says:

    oops!! That was supposed to say ‘dignified’!

  73. melanie says:

    You have GOT to get those raccoons! Once on to a food source, they will be back. We had a banty hen lose a wing to such a critter. I was SOOO pulling for her to be a mama…

  74. B. Ruth says:

    Suzanne dear….
    I knew in my heart when I posted about the raccoons that the little brooding hen was gone! Notice what I said in the post….”I knew she wasn’t a party gal.” I suppose it was another of my ESP or telepathic interventions! Mercy, Mercy…I am so sorry for the little brooding hen, which I had nick named “Chicko.” This was a real jolt! Sometimes I think ‘mean Roo’s’ incarnate self plays with my psyche from long ago when I was a little girl! Another story for another time!
    Just keep “moving and grooving”! Get yourself some more sweet little bantys….We loved Silkies, barred and buff Cochins, Sebrights and an a sweet, but ornery, little Old English game bantam roo’ named “Jerry” His favorite pass time, except “you know what,” was riding on my shoulder around the yard like a parrot!I guess I was his pirate, he let me steal his prodigies without a fuss…but he was busy with many little hens..so an egg or three missing didn’t bother him much…
    It has been years since we belonged to the American Bantam Association. I would have little hens disappear in the spring and I would fret, since we had an endangered species, (at that time), Red fox living on our land…A few weeks later there she would be with a brood, bringing them out of the woods onto the low grass to feed and show off her chicks!
    I had called the TWRA about the fox….They said they preferred to trap it but I had a right to kill it if it was in the livestock….I decided to let nature take its course…and as far as I know it never got any of our bantys…but years later…I did catch a fox carrying off a Rhode Island Red…He just grabbed it, threw it over his back like a picture in a book and off he went before we could do anything!…This was just before dusk…I think the hens were sleepy and going to roost and just weren’t paying attention..!
    PS….the little Cochin hens look like they have skirts on and the roosters look like they have pants on…..they are so cute and sweet…but are more for pets and eggs or to sell and show in my opinion!
    PS….If you are going to buy feed, work and relax, please do buy quality stock…even if you can only get a rooster and one hen or two …of each species…
    PS…so sorry but this will lead to better things….Mercy, mercy!

  75. ArkansasCyndi says:

    This post broke my heart. You have to protect your stock. They are your responsibility. Those raccoons have to go. Sorry Raccoons.

  76. Sheila Bergeron says:

    I was so sorry to hear this. All she wanted is to be a Mommy.

  77. Ellen says:

    We lost a bunch of chickens last fall that we had raised from our original flock of 2 hens and a rooster. Our beautiful, brave rooster was killed too. My sympathies to you. The slaughter is so shocking, even now. I have one lonely hen left who has good survival skills, and she was doing the same as yours the past couple of weeks (no rooster, no fertile eggs). I personalize that too, the sadness of sitting on the unfertilized eggs for weeks.

  78. Heidi says:

    What kind of ammo do you need, I am more than willing to furnish it for the cause….. I loved it when you posted about her – friggin racoons… I say we make hats out of them.

  79. Julie says:

    Oh so sorry! I keep my fingers crossed every night that this doesn’t happen to mine! Dumb raccoons!

  80. ML says:

    Oh how awful, I’m so sad…that poor hen!! I have tears for her. 🙁

  81. Darrell from NC says:

    So sorry that happened. Catch them and kill them. Tack their hides up on the barn wall as a warning to the next group of worthless critters that wanders by looking for a free meal! Animals know.

  82. auntbear says:

    …so sorry bout your little hen.You made her ours too,and we will miss her.

  83. Rose says:

    I’m just heart broken.

  84. Angie says:

    Oh no! I’m so sorry! Something came and took all 9 of my week old ducklings right out from under their mama – locked up inside the barn, inside a stall, and inside another little pen within the stall. Didn’t leave a single trace. Not a drop of blood, not a piece of fuzz, NOTHING. I suspect a very large snake. Raccoons are generally messy murderers and leave evidence, as you found. Sure does make you mad, doesn’t it? Normally I wouldn’t want to find a large snake, but this one is in big trouble now! Snake stew anyone? :hungry:

  85. Barbara says:

    I’m so sorry, Suzanne. I always thought racoons were cute, but they’re like possoms. We lost our cockatiel through the bars of its cage one (very)early evening, before we’d brought it in for the night to a possum who tried to yank its wing off through the bars. I hate possums, and now I’ll add racoons to that list. Poor little hen. She was so determined.

  86. Mary says:

    Ah, this is sad. So sorry.

  87. Tina C says:

    Oh this is heartbreaking. I’m sitting here crying… So sorry, Suzanne. She was a sweet chicken wasn’t she? Totally devoted to her job. No more words from here……

  88. Connie B says:

    Sorry to hear about your wanna be mamma hen. Seems like the predators always get the sweet gentle ones first, not the mean roosters. We’ve lost chickens and ducks to coons, bobcats, and hawks. The coons are the worst and can kill a chicken through the smallest cracks. So we now build coops and chick runs with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire and are careful not to leave even small cracks.

  89. cranberry says:

    Poor little sweetheart. :duck:

  90. PAM BONHAM says:


  91. Kim W says:

    OH I’M SO BUMMED!!!!!!!!! That almost made me cry. :heart:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  92. ktayl says:

    Aw poor little Banty she was sooo cute :chicken:

  93. Stephanie says:

    of COURSE she was going to be a mama. that just breaks my heart. freakin’ raccoons… uncle dan and aunt margie took care of OUR marauders too… and it wasn’t pretty. :chicken:

  94. Gini says:


  95. Melinda says:

    I am so sorry to hear about her!..Omgosh I want to cry….

    I think that is the hardest part of the farm life. Dealing with death…Ive been there too and I KNOW how you feel.

    You gotta do what you gotta do..Take NO prisoners for sure!!

  96. Alexandra says:

    I guess for them it was just food; but so heartbreaking!

  97. Laurie says:

    It hurts when the ones we love are killed in the Circle of Life. Wonder how we’d feel if we were raising raccoons? At least you know what took her – I’ve found my girls dead and have had no idea what to be mad at!

    So, so sorry for the loss.

  98. Sarah says:

    Poor little Banty. You go get those mean racoons! We don’t get racoons in UK. Our main chicken killers are foxes, and they are just as determined. Though not anything like as dexterous. I was so shocked to read how they pulled her through that little slit in the wood. Poor, poor hen. There’s just no need for such a brutal end to any living creature’s life. May your eyes be sharp and your shot be true! X

  99. Alyce Shane says:

    So sorry about the raccoon raid. Our favorite Wyandotte met the same fate. Our Corgi now stands guard at the chicken coop at night (all his idea, too). He and the neighbor’s Rottweiler treed a coon last week. Needless to say, we won’t be having troubles again for a while.

  100. mplwy says:

    Oh my gosh! That is so unbelievably sad! I have tears. Wish you’d had the Pyrs then. Hope you got the racoons.

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