It had to happen eventually, I guess. I figured the chicken coop was secured after the opossum incident. Apparently keeping out opossums is easier than keeping out raccoons.
We are not sure how it got in... let alone drag Big Brown Lady (my chicken names are so creative) out into the run. We think it pried open part of the chicken wire that surrounds the run, and somehow managed to open/push in one of the coop doors.
When Tad went out to check on the chickens this morning because they were making a raucous, he found poor Big Brown Lady and in the dim light thought that she might have had her head taken off. He came in, woke me up, and broke the news to me.
Immediately I wondered why I did not wake up to an alarm call of scared chickens when it happened. When I went out there this morning to clean up the damage, I realized that BBL probably had no chance to raise the alarm. Her throat was ripped and it looked like it was a quick death. Besides that, chickens are ridiculously heavy sleepers. You can go into the coop in the middle of the night, pick up a sleeping chicken, and it would be none the wiser. I don't think the rest of the flock even knew something had happened until they woke up this morning.
Feathers were strewn everywhere, but her head was still intact. She was, however, partially skinned and had her crop ripped open. A bird's crop is in their throat area, and it is used to store food until they are ready to digest it. After some research, I found out that it is not uncommon for raccoons to go after chickens just for the corn that is stored in their crop, which is what happened to BBL.
Two chicken losses in one month... I am definitely starting to feel like a bad momma-hen.
R.I.P. Big Brown Lady.
Update: After cleanup, I went back out to fortify the coop and found that the raccoon had attacked another chicken. This time it was one of my broody hens that was separated in a dog crate to try and hatch some chicks. The raccoon must have swiped through the cage and mauled her, as only her face has any wounds. Poor girl, I hope she recovers.
Another casualty of the attack on the broody hen was one of her eggs she was sitting on. Either the raccoon tried to snatch it, or it was smashed in the scuffle, I am not sure. The egg that was broken had a partially developed chick in it.
Where's my gun. Raccoon stew for dinner tonight.