Fox Habits (warning - pictures)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ivan3, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    Re:Fox behavior
    This post is intended for those who are making preemptive efforts to reduce the population of this chicken eating vermin. Here in Central Missouri the foxes started breeding during the last wk. of January. We could hear their vigorous yipping, over the coop baby monitor, out in the woods. The only good thing about the snow is that it makes it very easy to track them. This evening I followed the tracks into a half-acre of cedars (usually a nesting area for wild turkeys). Sure enough, I found one of their food caches. Red Fox will stash their killed prey and come back for it later. If you arrive home and find only feathers (several chickens/ducks/etc.) and know you have foxes in the neighborhood, it is almost a certainty your dead flock isn't too far away and can be tracked down (at least retire the fox from the target pool).

    I'm posting five shots: The first was taken 08/06. Our neighbor had let her thirteen Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets out on the lawn for the first time, and had gone inside to get them some treats. Approx. fifteen minutes later she walked out to discover nothing but a very few feathers and a fox taking off into the woods. She called us up and I went looking the following afternoon. Those `bright' patches under the cedar are the remains of seven of the pullets. Two days later I found the other six piles of feathers about 50yds away under another cedar. The SLW's were rubbed out by a pair of foxes (we found the den and that was that).
    The second set of shots are from this afternoon. The ground is frozen and the fox stashed the rabbit and attempted to bury it (snack later).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What I find interesting is that the raccoon population crashed last year (only trapped/shot 8 - usually - over a ten yr. period the avg. is ~30). The raccoons normally start mating in the middle of January, but we've yet to hear any `yowling' at all. The fox population has skyrocketed (between our neighbors and I last summer/early fall harvested 18).

    Well, the sets are out again.
    For more trapping info see this link : http://backyardchickens.yuku.com/topic/3887/t/prepping-and-using-steel-traps-a-tutorial.html

    Around
    here all free ranging is conducted under armed supervision. If our preds are expecting chicken, they'll have to wait until I bring `em a bucket from KFC.

    (ed: corrected date)
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  2. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Catawba County, NC
    Not sure why you'd free range your chickens in an area with natural predators....[​IMG]
     
  3. Dodgegal79

    Dodgegal79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2007
    Princeton BC Canada
    We don't really have a fox problem here but I loved your pics. I've never seen a food cache like that before. We do have foxes here, but more coyotes, so they can't compete with them very well. Thanks for the pics.
     
  4. jeaucamom

    jeaucamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2007
    Ophir, CA
    I imagine this is going to be a hot topic around here. But excellent trapping and hunting skills!! I'm all for defending our flock and families with whatever means necessary.
     
  5. jab91864

    jab91864 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    I think it would be hard to find an area that didn't have predators...natural or otherwise. Whether it is the neighbors pet or wildlife in your yard. A lot of folks feel it's safer during the daylight...not always the case.

    Very informative fox info !!!! Had one dart across the road in front of me last week on my way to work.

    Julie [​IMG]
     
  6. lacyloo

    lacyloo Cooped Up

    May 26, 2007
    north florida
    great info, on fox's hunting stratigies on hiding the food.I dint know that they did that.
     
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Not sure why you'd free range your chickens in an area with natural predators....

    Had a neighbor, up the road, who asked me something similar, when we asked him to keep his Chow pack (5 dogs) on his property. This was long before we had poultry. I had photos of his dogs surrounding the base of a White Oak in our backyard, with our daughter's cats about fifteen ft. up it. `Why don't you keep your cats inside?' Chows are long gone. Hit by cars and done in by old age. we are indifferent about whether the predators are domestic or wild, if they're not here they are off the radar.

    Did I mention armed supervision? They don't get out a lot, but they do like to pick around and preemptive suppression reduces the overall frequency of predation.

    [​IMG]
    Guess, I figure, for this brief time, this is our backyard.

    Ed:link update​
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Every area has it's own natural predators. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they are not there. And there are the other predators, the loose animals of irresponsible owners, that you do see more often, like the aforementioned chows. Although I had a fox's den 200 ft from my coop(unknown to me till I saw the kit outside the mouth of the den), no fence (at the time), and was freeranging my chickens daily, I never lost a bird to the fox, probably because I was outside quite alot with my birds. It can be done and its completely worth it, IMO. You just have to supervise them to some extent. My day is coming, I'm sure, but I'll still do it for the egg quality and the happy hens.

    **BTW, beautiful birds, ivan!
     
  9. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    Cynthia, yes, definitely worth it. And I keep `draining the pond' (so to speak) to keep `em happy. I consider the backyard, the flock and life itself as a slow sculpture that we are continually carving from the block of time allotted to us. And, every so often, if one gets lucky and wields the hammer and chisel with care one gets a glimpse of the shape of what one has been struggling for (of course others who don't see it won't agree with how one arrived at that vantage, but that's purely all right).
    [​IMG]
    You keep that Hawkeye on patrol, O.K.?

    Take care,

    John
     
  10. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I would NEVER EVER leave my girls outside, if I was not going to be home...with the hawks, foxes, coons and dogs and cats they'd both be gone if I didn't keep my eyeballs peeled.
     

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