Fox problem...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PlatzPav19, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. PlatzPav19

    PlatzPav19 Hatching

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    Oct 14, 2019
    We have had our 5 chickens for about a year now. No issues with predators up to this point - this weekend one of our girls passed naturally. The next day one was snatched up by a fox and it ran off into the woods with her. I think our coop is very secure - hence not having an issue with this before but as of last spring we started free ranging the girls in the evening when we get off of work - so around 4pm until dark when they go in then we lock them up.
    I am thinking maybe because of the time of year? it was evening yesterday and the fox came up and grabbed the one - we only knew and ran out to see because they all started making noises. Should we maybe not free range durinfg fall and winter? Like i said, only had chickens a year so we're still learning.

    SIDENOTE: when I finally got the other 3 girls back into the coop and clsoed up for the night...my husband looked out the window and saw our fourth girl BACK - tryin to get into the coop in the dark - he ran out and get her in safely. I have NO idea how she got away from that fox but she did and i'm so thankfully- I felt so bad because now I feel like I shouldn't be letting them free range.
     
  2. 4pm to dark is predator time. They generally hunt as the light gets dimmer. So glad you got your hen back!
     
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  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    :welcome :frow When you free range that is the risk you take. Sooner or later the flock will be discovered and the fox will be back. Can you make a predator proof run for your birds? Several months ago I lost my favorite bird to a fox. She didn't get away. I knew it was a risk but had no problems prior. I was preoccupied and should have put her in her pen and am still angry with myself that I didn't. I have let some of the birds out but if they do come out of their pens they don't stay out long and go back in. I think they feel safer in their pens. I do have electric wire around my coops and pens, concrete under the gates and heavy duty netting covering all of the pens, all because of losses in the past. There are some vulnerable places along the fencing where I dug a trench and buried some wire down a foot that I hog ringed to the bottom of the fence. My losses this year was the first in several years. Here most of the predators roam at night. I have several game cameras up on my property and hardly a night goes by when I don't see a predator on at least one of the cameras. I did catch and disposed of the fox. It kept coming back for more. Here we have mostly coyotes but I have also seen bobcat, fox, coon, possums, skunks, dogs, cats, hawks, owls, and an eagle. Everything likes chicken and will kill one if they get the opportunity. Good luck and have fun with your flock and keep them safe...
     
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  4. Trish1974

    Trish1974 Araucana enthusiast

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    Anytime is fox time. I personally have seen the most fox activity spring through summer, from dawn until about noon. I agree a covered run is the best protection, but if you insist on free-ranging maybe you could put up a few strands of electric fence around the area they forage in. Good luck! In my opinion foxes are the worst predators!
     
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  5. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    I've had chickens outside for 41 months. They are kept in pens.
    About 2.5 years ago, I started to let them Freerange for 2 hours before sunset daily, then because my first Flock started to cross the road, I cut back to an hour before sunset, after confining them for a couple weeks.
    I've had Game Cameras for over 3 years, 2 the first year and now have several on my property.
    Until July of this year, I've only caught on camera Raccoons, Opossum, Deer and other small critters, between sunset and sunrise.
    In July and August this year my Cams caught Fox, Bobcat, and Coyote. Coyote 1 night. Bobcat night and day, and Fox dozens of nights and a Bobcat a Foxtail and a neighbors dogs early morning.
    I've never seen a wild 4 legged predator late afternoon.
    I don't know why I haven't seen them on camera till this year.
    Click on pics to enlarge. GC STC_0014 (2019-07-27T19_28_23.529).jpg STC_0012 (2019-08-01T14_14_40.483).jpg IMAG0015.JPG STC_0007 (2019-08-12T15_34_58.784) (1).jpg STC_0013 (1) (1).JPG STC_0014 (1).JPG STC_0015 (1).JPG
     
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  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I rarely see a predator during the day on my cameras. Maybe because it's still around 90ºF during the day so the predators roam at night when it's cooler out in the 60's.
     
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  7. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    Yeah, it's cooled off substantially here. Highs 50s/60s, lows 30s/40s Fahrenheit.
    I haven't seen predators, mostly Raccoons till an hour after sunset at the earliest.
    I hope the bigger Predators don't come out afternoons, early evenings, because its cooler. GC
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Very surprised that I haven't gotten anything on any of the cameras the past couple of nights. I feed the crows and sometimes predators go to the spot where I feed the crows. I haven't seen as many crows lately either. Soon the snow-birds will be down.
     
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  9. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    I've already seen them headed your way.
    Pics of crows flying above my coops. GC 20190827_141412.jpg 20190827_141410.jpg
     
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  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I free-range a lot. It may be wise to only free-range if you have enough birds to absorb losses by stopping losses shortly after they start and have ability to replace birds easily.
     

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