Raccoon-Proof Fence for Sweet Corn Patch

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Raccoon fence surrounding sweet corn patch.  Foot model is Citygirlfriend.

Raccoons are the bane of every sweet corn grower.  They can do an incredible amount of damage in a short time.  They not only knock down and eat the corn; they also shred the husks and ears on many more.  These ears are not saleable, of course.

I have fenced my sweet corn every year with limited success. I suffer perhaps an average of 20% damage.  One year I left an unfenced test plot which experienced at least 80% damage.

I use a plug-in Parmak fence charger that runs an electric current through two wires placed about 7 and 13 inches off the ground.

This year has been amazing with no raccoon damage.  What did I do differently?

I made the fence earlier.  Instead of dragging my feet and waiting until the sweet corn was almost ready, this year I made it before the ears were even done pollinating. 

Conditioning is a powerful tool in many animals.  I think I conditioned the raccoons to avoid the field before the powerful allure of the sweet corn started.  Other years I was conditioning the raccoons while they were beginning to nibble the delicious sweet corn.

Take another look at the above photo.  Citygirlfriend and I have stumbled upon a handy relationship gauge, toenail polish color.  Citygirlfriend prefers black.  Early on, I communicated I don’t like black.  So, Citygirlfriend began to communicate using toenail polish color. 

When the relationship is rocky, black is the color of choice.  When it’s smooth sailing, a brighter color is chosen.  This saves a great deal of pesky talking time and I highly recommend this system for those of you in a relationship.

Conditioning is a powerful tool.

2 Responses to Raccoon-Proof Fence for Sweet Corn Patch

  1. wildpen says:

    I like the “toenail polish color” system.
    Like a deliberate Mood ring for your feet.

    Reminds me of the old joke:

    “My husband, being unhappy with my mood swings, bought me a mood ring so he would be able to monitor my moods.
    We’ve discovered that when I’m in a good mood, it turns green. When I’m in a bad mood, it leaves a big red mark on his forehead.
    Maybe next time he’ll buy me a diamond…”

    (I was too lazy to retype is to this is as taken from http://www.dennydavis.net/poemfiles/agingf2.htm)

  2. LittleFarmer says:

    We have been growing sweet corn for the last 13 years on our acreage. We never had raccoon problems, despite dire warnings from neighboring farms, until last year. What usually works is to inter-plant pumpkins with the sweet corn. As long as the pumpkin plants form a pretty dense carpeting and blocks the ends it is almost 100% effective in stopping damage. However, last year our pumpkin growth wasn’t as expected and we ended up with almost 100% loss. This year we are concerned because it seems our raccoon population has dramatically increased and our pumpkin coverage is leaving too many gaps.

    We are going to try the hot pepper trick that my dad used with pretty good success – he “painted” each year with the hottest pepper sauce / tobasco sauce that he could find. We are also thinking of using that orange plastic snow fence stuff with a very loose pole system so that the raccoons can’t get leverage to climb (but I don’t think it will be too successful as I have watched them climb just about anything – steady or not). I just read on critter-control websites that using heavy tap on the ears can work (I am assuming a duct-tape type system).

    Unfortunately I cannot comment on the nail polish mood indicator. Sounds ingenious.

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