Fox Can Use Head When Sneaking in For Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have birds in two settings, most are in pens grouped together in middle of pasture while four are allowed to free-range around house and part of same pasture. At night the free-ranging birds roost on front porch. Two dogs are charged with defending all but they spend most of their effort on birds in pens. The dogs move about quite a bit and almost every night except when wind is strong or rain heavy the dogs are barking at and chasing something off. A great deal of dogs activities is in response to sounds the chickens make and this time of year effort seems to be directed mostly against owls (great-horned and barred). Dogs also doing a lot based on smell and go off property to deal some of that. They have essentially eliminated raccoons and oppossums from the list of concerns. One ground dwelling critter of particular interest still persist with going after birds. That critter is Mr. Red Fox. Until recently all of fox's efforts have been expended on penned birds. Penned birds are very vulnerable when fox can rapidly run about pen and chicken can not see well. Vulnerability is greatly reduced by having pens arranged so fox cannot run about them and birds can stay away from fox side of pen. Having dogs then makes so fox cannot afford to disturb birds or have time to dig into pens. Additionally, further changes in how pens are arranged makes so dogs have increased odds of cornering fox which could result in fox kill. We came close a couple times with that outcome recently. Fox has responded by no longer going after penned birds to west of house. A new pattern is emerging where fox comes from east when wind is coming from a westerly direction. This makes so fox can smell dogs but dogs cannot smell fox. This makes so front porch birds are those on front line with fox, especially when dogs spend so much time with penned birds. Last night fox came in and attempted to take a rooster by grabbing it off roost and running with it without dispatching first. Fox cannot eat fast enough nor defeat dogs in scrap so grab and run is what is employed. The dogs have been very good at denying the grab and run because during day chickens give alarm bringing dogs over usually even before fox starts going after bird. Twice, including last night, fox managed a night run where a chicken is grabbed and fox runs to east with it. Again, this occurs when wind from westerly direction. Both instances bird was not severly damaged and was able give distress call as fox ran off with it. Load of chicken struggling seriously slows fox so dogs have had no trouble running fox down when it has chicken. First time fox got maybe one hundred yards over hill to east (off property) before dogs intercepted it. Last night fox got maybe 40 feet before dogs repeated action. In both instances bird ran back to area below roost but fox also got away although escape appears to be a barely. The fox is picking its efforts and I am getting tired of dealing with the ruckus. I am probably going to have to go the route most people take where all birds are in a much smaller area, as in not spread out so much. This will be pursued if roost site of front porch birds can not be elevated enough to make fox's job more difficult.
     
  2. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you a trapper? or know anyone who traps animals? I would set a few traps off to the west. They would be to convienient to pass up as the fox must be getting frustrated. After the fox is caught, put him down with a .17 hmr round.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am not a trapper so will manage by making fox's getting chickens more difficult. The hunting and trapping will be left to neighbors actually feeding fox. I have always had to deal with foxes; cocci and brooder operation still bigger concerns.
     
  4. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you don't hunt either? It might be worth your while to purchase a small trap for foxes if you have to always fight with them. They are cheap and easy to set up.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I do hunt raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, deer and occasionally quail. You are suggesting for me to enter a realm where cost of dealing with fox cost more than the damage fox is costing me. Traps are relatively cheap but they take time to set and run, besides they would conflict with a system I know works, namely those dogs which deal with critters anyone type of trap would be useless against. When I am opperating at full capacity I can have as many as 200 young birds free-ranging and only dogs are flexible and fast enough to head off losses. Trapping a fox first requires encurring losses then reacting which may take a few days and a lot more losses to correct. The damage caused by fox is minimal and dealing with the challenge is somewhat fun.
     
  6. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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