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Fox in my yard!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DianeS, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Oregon
    So the neighborhood fox has finally discovered my chickens. (The addition of five rabbits had something to do with that, I think!)
    I'm satisfied that my coop is secure, but I'm not so sure about my run.

    I can't bury wire right now, the ground is frozen. And I can't use electric fence, I don't have an outside electrical socket. So I have run wood from the base of the run (which is a dog run) out for about 18 inches. It's secure to the ground, can't be lifted up or slid around. So digging under is unlikely.

    But the roof isn't so secure. How determined will a fox be in climbing a 7-foot chain link fence, and then trying to get through the roof? The roof is wire, but loose wire. It's certainly not human proof, and not racoon proof, but I'm not sure what a fox would do.

    I saw the fox last night. A beautiful creature. On the small side, but a beautiful glossy coat and long thick tail. We stared at each other from about 20 feet apart before he turned and loped away across the street. I live in the city, so shooting him is out. Can't fire a gun in the city limits. Not so sure I'd want to, anyway. The fox is pretty necessary to the ecology around here. Without him, the local feral cat population (thanks to neighbors who don't spay! GRRR!) would probably be out of control. 5 or 6 ferals is plenty, I don't want 20 or 30 or more! So my chickens may have to remain at risk in order to avoid feral cat problems. A difficult dilemna to solve.

    But in the meantime, what about the loose wire criss-crossing my pen roof? If he got up there, his legs would fall through, but not his body. He'd have to intentionally wiggle through, but he could do it if foxes think that way. (Not sure how he'd get out, afterward, that would be interesting.) I wish I had a photo of the roof, but it doesn't show well in pictures. Imagine a cherry pie lattice crust and you have the basic idea. Or those construction paper placemats they have you weave in elementary school - same idea.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Well how about taking care of the feral cats and the fox the same way.

    Trap and dispatch both.

    That way your chickens are safer and the feral cat population has been reduced.
     
  3. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Oregon
    Quote:Trap and dispatch the four (or more) litters of kittens that are born every year? HA! It's been tried. The adults are trap saavy and don't even come near the traps. Nobody has ever caught them. Once in a blue moon someone catches a kitten, but it seems the adults teach their offspring to avoid traps too. The fox eats the young cats, and only one or two make it to adult hood each year. And the cats eat the mice that are attracted by everyone's bird feeders.

    We have a nice little ecological circle going on here and I'm not really trying to throw it out of whack... but I need to keep my chickens safe. Any thoughts on the roof of my coop and a fox's choice of how to handle it once he sees it (or gets tangled in it)?
     
  4. Roy

    Roy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2007
    Central Illinois
    A Fox can easily climb a fence, and certainly will to get to your chickens. I have welded wire roof on my run, my girls and I sleep well at night now...
     
  5. wsmoak

    wsmoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Solar fence charger? That's what I use for my garden fence. I think mine was about $100 at Tractor Supply. It's enough to keep small animals out.

    --
    Wendy
     
  6. Q9

    Q9 General Headache

    Quote:Trap and dispatch the four (or more) litters of kittens that are born every year? HA! It's been tried. The adults are trap saavy and don't even come near the traps. Nobody has ever caught them. Once in a blue moon someone catches a kitten, but it seems the adults teach their offspring to avoid traps too. The fox eats the young cats, and only one or two make it to adult hood each year. And the cats eat the mice that are attracted by everyone's bird feeders.

    We have a nice little ecological circle going on here and I'm not really trying to throw it out of whack... but I need to keep my chickens safe. Any thoughts on the roof of my coop and a fox's choice of how to handle it once he sees it (or gets tangled in it)?

    Two words: .22 Short. It's extremely quiet - enough so that you can probably give a baffled expression and say "What noise?" if anybody hears it, and get away with it. [​IMG] Of course, you could also try a pellet gun. Not sure how effective it would be on a fox, though. If it's aimed properly, it'll silently eliminate a cat fairly easily. I haven't done it myself, but friends and relatives have. Heck, you could probably mortally wound a cat with a BB gun, but that seems a little cruel even to my overly-militant self. If you shoot at a non-critical area, the fox would probably learn quickly NEVER to approach your birds, or he'll get a pellet/BB in his fluffy hindquarters.

    Like the person above suggested, there's always the solar fence charger, but I'll go ahead and tell you, .22 ammo or pellets are a LOT cheaper. And more fun. THAT I can say from experience. [​IMG] Pop the haunches of a canine with a BB, and you get a very gratifying YELP! followed by a blur of whatever color the critter in question is. Best part being it's AWAY from you. [​IMG] Tried-and-true strategy learned when an over-eager male dog tried to, um, make friends with our female dog, despite the fence. After a few pops he never showed up again. [​IMG]
     
  7. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Oregon
    Quote:Solar fence charger? That's what I use for my garden fence. I think mine was about $100 at Tractor Supply. It's enough to keep small animals out.

    --
    Wendy

    I don't think I've ever even seen one of those, but of course I immediately Googled it. Do you mean something like this? http://www.safehomeproducts.com/shp2/sc/shopexd.aspx?id=269690&PLC=1&GFM=41 If you do, then that just might work...
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  8. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you put a tarp over the run temporarily until you can get better wire fence up there?

    Jim
     
  9. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 23, 2010
    CA
    Do you have an outdoor light? They have a thing that converts a lightbulb socket into a power outlet. They are only a dollar or two at Lowe's. [​IMG]
     
  10. Patricia Jane

    Patricia Jane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2010
    Petaluma CA
    Quote:Trap and dispatch the four (or more) litters of kittens that are born every year? HA! It's been tried. The adults are trap saavy and don't even come near the traps. Nobody has ever caught them. Once in a blue moon someone catches a kitten, but it seems the adults teach their offspring to avoid traps too. The fox eats the young cats, and only one or two make it to adult hood each year. And the cats eat the mice that are attracted by everyone's bird feeders.

    We have a nice little ecological circle going on here and I'm not really trying to throw it out of whack... but I need to keep my chickens safe. Any thoughts on the roof of my coop and a fox's choice of how to handle it once he sees it (or gets tangled in it)?

    I live in northern CA. Where I am at I have the same problem. I take care of apporx 12 feral cats. We have an organization here that will come, trap, spay and return the cats. Problem solved on multipyling. Is there something around your area that may do that?
     

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