Fox killed my chicken, rooster did nothing?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 2 many chickens, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

    Jan 14, 2017
    So I was a little late locking the birds up tonight, about 30 minutes. When I got home, I heard all the birds screaming together and one standing by my other car. I knew something was wrong so I run over there and one of my barred rock girls was laying in a pool of blood and dying. I lost it. I tried to comfort her while she took her last breath.. I guided the stray into the coop and both my roos were perched on the roost like nothing happened. She was only like 8 feet from the coop. Why didn't they help? I thought roos were suppose to protect the hens and fight until the death for them? Was it because it was too dark to see outside? They have a little lamp in their coop. They were just sitting there while the hens were squaking.. I think they knew their sister was being killed. I wish I could have gotten back just 5 mins before because I could have stopped this. He literally had just grabbed her then dropped her and ran when I came up. Dunno what to do. Going to keep them on lockdown for now.
    Losing a chicken is the worst.
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    A good rooster will help. Despite the hype, a lot of roosters are bad roosters, which is why so many people here put so much emphasis on selecting a good rooster for their flock.

    Studies have shown that a rooster, while more watchful than the hens, is likely to hide and give his warning from under a bush. Cherish the good ones.

    Sorry for your loss. Losing a hen is the worst.
    khind, RodNTN and ChickNanny13 like this.
  3. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

    Jan 14, 2017
    Thank you. She was a sweet girl. These two aren't good roosters. They did nothing. At all. I'm at my wits end with them. They act like I'm a threat, watching me half the time or charging at my feet.. but a real threat comes by and they do nothing. Just sit there.
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  4. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    A good flock roo is worth his weight in gold. I hope you find a good one--maybe you could get rid of those two and see if anyone near you has a well-behaved game rooster? A well-mannered game rooster is an awesome boy.

    EDT: Usually, foot attackers charge at your feet because they don't believe you're an actual threat and they want to assert their dominance.
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    No rooster of any breed will be reliable against a fox. The reputation spread for rooster valor has failed to take into account factors like rooster age, rooster breed, season, and relationship with other flock members. Roosters are not defending the hens, they are defending their offspring.
    khind, bobbi-j, Cindy in PA and 13 others like this.
  6. The stories about roosters fighting off Grizzly Bears, Killer Whales or other predators are similar to the fairy tales about DE fighting mites. They are just old wives and husbands tails. That is why the LOVELY, AMAZING ,or AWESOME, (I chose to use a different adjective) Great Horned Owl is such a fearsome predator of tree roosting free range chickens because after the Sun goes down chickens are totally at the mercy of every chicken killing varmint known to man.
    aart, khind, Cindy in PA and 8 others like this.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    So sorry for your loss, it's hard, especially when you were so close to preventing it.
    Do keep your birds in for a good amount of time, because that fox will be returning.
    Chickens aren't going to be able to fight off a fox! In darkness, all chickens are helpless anyway. Your roosters (how old?) were living to be there another day.
    Is this a group of young birds? First experience with any predator? The survivors will be smarter, if that helps, and getting out there sooner to lock them in is good too.
    Free ranging is a risk everywhere, and we do it because it seems like a good trade-off between quality of life, and safety. Sometimes things won't go right.
    Foxes are difficult to trap, but it might be worth trying to get this one.
    Again, so sorry.
  8. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    If a rooster attacks an owner for acting like a predator, he's a "bad rooster." And a rooster that doesn't go charging out into the darkness in a suicidal counter-attack on a predator is also a "bad rooster?" Poor guys can't catch a break!

    I'm sorry you lost your hen, but under the circumstances, perhaps you should be glad that she was the only one you lost. Before I finally stopped free-ranging, I had several massacres of up to 23 birds at a go; foxes often kill much more than they can eat, and cache the rest for later. If you had come home just a few minutes later, you might be mourning the death of a lot more birds - including the roosters you are so frustrated with.

    Roosters are beautiful, and indispensable in a breeding program, but I fear that anyone who expects them to be effective against predators that have them hopelessly outclassed is in for disappointment.

    I hope you manage to find more effective means of protecting your birds, and a way to make your peace with your roosters, too.
    khind, lclark, Folly's place and 5 others like this.
  9. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    A rooster can only help in the daytime, they're blind at night or even in low light. Your fellas weren't up for a suicide mission. As awful as this is going to sound you were late in your routine so the roosters can't be the scapegoat here. I'm sorry about the loss of your hen but don't get cross with your boys once its dusk the entire flocks safety is in your hands alone. All you can do is use this as a learning experience. :)
    khind, Hen Pen Jem and Hopperkiller like this.
  10. JedJackson

    JedJackson Free Ranging

    Jul 6, 2016
    NW Washington state
    Roosters are good at warning the flock of danger but they aren't going to go after a fox or coyote or dog. I have had roosters that attack marauding hawks. I think the roosters see the hawks as competitors for their hens and that is why they attack them and not ground predators.

    That said, if your roosters are attacking you then you might want to get rid of them as that is a behavior that is difficult to correct.
    Hopperkiller likes this.

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