Predator proofing your coop against animals is as individual as each chicken coop is different.. Some animal proofing works for some chicken owners, but it may not work for you. In MOST cases you may have to try several of these methods and or a combination of methods to see what is best for your coop to prevent predators.
In ALL cases building the BEST and STRONGEST coop and predator proofing your coop BEFORE you get started is the best way to have chickens in the morning. Remember, predators may still try to get into your coop.
Zoologist Clinton Hart Merriam described raccoons as "clever beasts", and that "in certain directions their cunning surpasses that of the fox." The animal's intelligence gave rise to the epithet "sly coon". Only a few studies have been undertaken to determine the mental abilities of raccoons, most of them based on the animal's sense of touch. In a study by the ethologist H. B. Davis in 1908, raccoons were able to open 11 of 13 complex locks in fewer than 10 tries and had no problems repeating the action when the locks were rearranged or turned upside down. Davis concluded they understood the abstract principles of the locking mechanisms and their learning speed was equivalent to that of rhesus macaques.
Studies in 1963, 1973, 1975 and 1992 concentrated on raccoon memory showed they can remember the solutions to tasks for up to three years. In a study by B. Pohl in 1992, raccoons were able to instantly differentiate between identical and different symbols three years after the short initial learning phase. Stanislas Dehaene reports in his book The Number Sense that raccoons can distinguish boxes containing two or four grapes from those containing three. In research by Suzana Herculano-Houzel and other neuroscientists, raccoons have been found to be comparable to primates in density of neurons in the cerebral cortex, a neuroanatomical indicator of intelligence.
Over the years I have heard every story from my customers about predator break ins but be sure that even if you build a "solid wall" for a coop, Raccoons can figure out a way to unlatch a nest box and kill your chickens. Be sure to visit us at Blue Star Ranch in Austin or at our website.