So, you have a raccoon (or a few) nesting in your barn.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How to identify raccoon damage
- Ways to naturally get rid of raccoons in the barn
- How to prevent raccoons from coming back
You’ll everything you need to know to catch or repel the raccoon sleeping or eating in your barn.
Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it. You can also leave a comment if you have any questions.
Let’s get that raccoon out!
Last updated: 12/30/19.
Do you have a raccoon infestation in your barn?
There are some easy ways to spot raccoon damage. If you suspect that you may have a raccoon around, here are some telltale signs:
- Racoon poop
- Foul odor from urine and feces, especially when warm
- Destroyed roofing, walls, beams, or other damaged structures
- Food or waste scattered
- Debris scattered
- Damaged or scratched surfaces
Raccoons are nasty, destructive pests and will easily tear a hole in your barn wall just to get some food. They’re also known to carry rabies, which is a serious disease.
Raccoons are disease-ridden
Because they’re so disease-ridden, you should always contact a professional if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Even if you don’t come into direct contact with the raccoon, you can get other diseases from the waste the raccoon leaves behind. They’ll poop everywhere, eat all your livestock food, and make a huge mess of your entire barn.
Females raccoons also will lay babies and start a nest. They’re typically found hiding behind hay or within haylofts. They’re also very protective of the babies and will become defensive, bite, or scratch if needed. Never attempt to remove or take down a raccoon yourself.
Always be careful
Always treat any raccoon or anything it’s touched as diseased. This means their poop, pee, saliva, and anything they chewed, touched, slept on, or otherwise came into contact with.
Use double-gloves, double-clothing, a face mask, closed-toed shoes, and a long, disposable outer layer of clothing to handle anything that the raccoon has touched.
Again, never handle a live raccoon by yourself. Always call a professional. The following tips are to help repel the raccoon and drive it out of your barn naturally- NOT for direct contact with the pest.
Raccoons may also spread diseases to your livestock, cats, dogs, and other people. They’re extremely messy, dirty, and carry all sorts of nasty diseases, like rabies, distemper, and Parvo which can kill dogs. Don’t let your pets go near them and always keep livestock away when you’re trying to get rid of it.
They’ll sleep, eat, and nest in your barn. They’ll even rip a hole in your barn roof just to enter.
Why are there so many raccoons in my barn?
There are three main reasons why they might be present:
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A barn offers all three of these, so raccoons are happy to make a home out of your barn.
They can get food from the leftover feed you feed your livestock (cows, chickens, etc.). Raccoons are scavengers and will eat whatever food is available. Whether the food comes from your food storage or is leftovers, they’ll gladly eat it.
They’re not picky. They can also be scavenging outdoors near the barn and bringing the food to eat it. If you have grains, corn, soybean, fruits, or other foods nearby, they’re prime targets for raccoons.
As for water, they can drink from watering bins, cans, fountains, and any other source. They may even compete with your animals for access to water.
Shelter is provided by the barn. This is the reason why the barn exists in the first place, right? The raccoon is just a stranger that decided to make your barn its home. It provides a safe, warm, and cozy place to nest, sleep, and eat.
Barns are very easy for raccoons to enter, especially when the owner doesn’t know that there are raccoons nearby. Once they’ve decided to make themselves comfortable, they’re not leaving soon!
Note that some states don’t allow relocation of ‘coons and other animals. They can find their way back to your house or barn within a 7-mile range.
You should never relocate it as you may be introduction the ‘coon into new territory for infestation. Always consult a professional animal control specialist.
And there’s a plentiful source of water (watering bins).
How do to get rid of raccoons in the barn naturally
These methods will go over how you can keep them out of your barn, stables, haylofts, and other storage areas.
Remember, raccoons are diseases-carrying critters. And you should always wear the proper attire to protect yourself from exposure to their waste products (poop and pee), and their saliva.
Treat anything they touch or eat as infected and always exercise caution and common sense. Never touch or provoke a raccoon directly. Always contact animal control for direct removal.
These tips are to be used only if you’re well-protected against any disease from anything the raccoon has touched- and never directly with the animal.
What is the best way to get rid of raccoons?
There is no “best” way to get rid of them. The “best” way would be the method that works for you. But here are a few of the most common DIY remedies you can easily do at home to help eliminate raccoons from your barn.
Ammonia is one scent that raccoons absolutely hate. You can pour ammonia into a bowl and then use cotton balls to soak up the liquid.
After the cotton buds are saturated, you can toss them around your barn or in strategic locations where you think the raccoons hang out. This will help keep them away from that area.
Raccoons are rather smart and may actually move or relocate the cotton balls. So be sure you check on them once in a while.
Also, watch out for any livestock you have which may be sensitive to ammonia. It’s dangerous to constantly breathe ammonia, so don’t let the scent drift to your other animals in the barn.
Use strong spices
Spices are another thing that repels raccoons. The scent of powerful spices help deter them and keep them out of certain areas. You can place spices or sprinkle the powder around your barn to keep raccoons out.
Typically, the spicer the powder, the more effective it will be. Some of the best ones you can use to keep them out are black pepper, jalapeno, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, cinnamon, Carolina reapers, or sriracha peppers. You can just place them around the area as a repellent station.
Since they use their nose for many things, the pepper messes with their scent and drives them out.
Cut up an onion
Use a fresh onion and cut it up into pieces. Then place the bits around your barn. The onion scent will be overpowering to raccoons, which will help get rid of them.
Just like onions, you can use garlic as a natural repellent also. Dice up fresh garlic cloves and place the pieces around your barn. Garlic has been reported to keep raccoons away.
Another option is to make garlic spray. Just dice up some garlic and place it into a spray bottle. Fill it up with water and combine it with other spices or onion if you want.
Then spray it around the barn. The smell will stink, but it keeps them out. If you know where they eat or nest, spray plenty there.
This could also be safe for most livestock. But then again, be sure that your animals are safe. Some pets like dogs can’t eat garlic as this can be fatal for them.
You can use a variety of essential oils as a raccoon repellent. Since there are so many on the market, I can’t possibly go into details about each one here.
The ones you can try against raccoons, in general, are peppermint, lavender, orange, citrus, lemon, lime, tea tree, and thyme oils.
To make the spray, just add a few drops of the oil into a spray bottle with 1 cup of water.
You can adjust the number of drops to get it just right. You should be able to smell the oil after you spray it, but it shouldn’t be overpowering. Think of it like air freshener.
Be warned that you should never directly breathe essential oils because they can irritate your body. And the same goes for your livestock.
Some essential oils may also be dangerous to specific animals, so do your research before you use it. I don’t know what animals you have and what oil you’re using. And there are too many combinations to list. So please do your own research once you decide on an oil.
They hate constant sound. If you have a radio, white noise machine, or even a stereo boombox, just place it in the barn and blast some music. They’ll be unable to sleep or eat peacefully since humans are around, so they’ll keep out.
Of course, if you have sensitive animals, you’ll have to see how they react to the constant noise.
That’s the hardest part- finding something to keep the pests out while not disturbing your livestock. Some have said that loud rock music will get them out of anywhere.
You can place motion-activated sprinklers to spray the raccoons with water when they walk by. This wild startle them and is a very efficient and effective solution to scare them off. All you’ll need is a motion sprinkler and a water source.
You should have both of those available if you’re on a farm. At least for the most part. Place the sprinkler where you think the raccoons are hiding and when they walk by next time, it’ll hose them down and scare them off.
Do this enough times to scare them off permanently. Set up multiple sprinklers for the best effect and place them strategically around your barn.
The same goes for detector lights. You can set up a security spotlight around the areas in your barn where animals aren’t present. The raccoons shouldn’t be hanging out with the animals anyway, as they typically hide in safe areas to avoid predators.
You can set up spotlights there to scare them when they trip the motion detector. This can help keep raccoons out of your barn and is a natural deterrent to them because of the startling effect it has. The brighter the light, the better.
What plants do raccoons hate?
There are a few plants that will repel raccoons.
They don’t like anything that’s prickly, thorny, or sharp. You can use cactus, cucumber, squash, rose bushes, and any other prickly plant. Use them to block off holes or other gaps where they’re coming into your barn.
Will coffee grounds keep raccoons away?
Yes, coffee grounds have been known to be a DIY solution for them. The problem is that you need to constantly replenish the grounds over and over to keep them effective. If you don’t, the repellent nature of them will diminish and they’ll no longer be effective.
You can sprinkle cheap coffee grounds around the barn, stables, hay bales, storage areas, and feeding areas.
The scent of the grounds will deter raccoons, but just be sure to reapply weekly to keep them effective.
Does apple cider vinegar repel raccoons?
Just like vinegar, apple cider vinegar has been reported to help get rid of raccoons. The scent overpowers their sensitive noses and raccoons hate it.
And it’s also very easy to DIY. You can make your own vinegar spray by doing the following.
Homemade raccoon repellent
What you’ll need:
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- Spray bottle
- Any spice
How to make it:
- Mix the ACV, water, and spice together into a spray bottle.
- Add additional spices, garlic, or onion to make it stronger and more effective.
How to use it:
- Spray it where you suspect the raccoons.
- Reapply as needed.
You can use this homemade raccoon repellent as many times as you want until you finally get rid of them. It’s natural and safe for most animals.
Does mint keep raccoons away?
Mint is another DIY remedy reported to keep raccoons away. You can use mint essential oil or actual mint to repel them.
Mint plants also work and you can pot them around your barn. The essential oil version of mint is very powerful. You just need a few drops and a cup of water. Then spray it around the area.
Be careful of your animals and livestock. The scent will burn and raccoons will absolutely hate it. You can reapply as needed. Any version of mint should be sufficient.
Will vinegar keep raccoons away?
Yes, vinegar has been shown to be effective against raccoons. The smell of vinegar happens to be overpowering to raccoon noses and disturb their sense of smell. You can use any plain pure vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle.
Dilute it with water in equal parts. Then spray it around the barn where you think the raccoons are hiding or nesting. The vinegar helps deter them from the area where you spray the solution.
You can also soak cotton balls using vinegar and then place them around as natural deterrent stations. That’s also a solution that may work for you.
Remember to try different combos. Every raccoon is different! And therefore what you use to repel them will also be different.
Check out this video for some other helpful tips:
Does human urine keep raccoons away?
The reason why human urine can keep raccoons out is because of the ammonia content. You can use pure ammonia, which is a lot more effective and cleaner than using urine.
You can also buy coyote, wolf, and mountain lion urine. These are natural predators of raccoons and may help deter them from entering the farm in the first place. All of this can be bought frozen.
Follow the directions on the label and apply responsibly. Remember that raccoons are usually scavenging for food. You want to apply the urine or any other repellent near food sources.
Not only will they eat your livestock feed, but they’ll also eat food waste bins, compost heaps, hay bales, and other food storage areas. Whether the food is spoiled or fresh, that doesn’t matter. So always apply the repellent near these areas for the best effect.
This will help scare raccoons from your farm and hopefully, they don’t come back. Natural predators are a major threat to them.
Did you get rid of the ‘coons from your barn?
By now, you should everything you need to know to eliminate and repel them from your barn.
Be patient, persistent, and safe. Eventually, the raccoon may recognize your barn as a place to stay away from. Wouldn’t that be the best?
If you have any questions, leave a comment and let me know. Or if you’ve found this helpful, post something to tell me!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.