Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MrsChickendad, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    Lennon, Michigan
    Chickendad went out this evening while the girls were free ranging and saw a young fox chasing a mouse (presumably) in the tall grass. The girls noticed it about the same time so went over to investigate (and introduce the fox to what was on the menu!). We have 2 cats and a giant golden retreiver that they are not afraid of, now we have a fox. It also suggests that there are other foxes from the litter around, plus adults.

    Does anyone know what fox habits are? Nocturnal? I assume they are fairly shy or we would have seen them more often. Do they take chickens one at a time, or try and massacre a whole flock? Are they singular hunters? I can mention the fox to the neighbor who will shoot it, but I would just as soon live and let live. Unfortunately, I don't think the fox feels the same.

    Any suggestions for keeping the girls safe? Right now they are in a chicken tractor that has an attached outside dog pen type run with an open top and 6' sides. They don't free range into the 8 acre meadow at the back (home of the fox, I presume) and tend to stay near the house and barn.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    You may be in trouble free ranging them. A fox is usually a lone hunter, but a pack of pups & Mom on the loose can take quite a few.

    They are usually very shy & mostly come out at night or dusk (at least that is when I see mine).

    I don't really know if they will take only 1 or the entire flock. The coons have taken my flock twice, but the fox can't dig under the fence.

    * He will come up close to the house if he is hungry, but your dog is a good deterrent.
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Oh dear...well foxes are nocturnal..they hunt dawn, dusk and throughout the night. They are also great diggers and will dig under to get in to the tractor.

    If you get the chance, you need to dispatch it. It is the wrong time of year to worry about them having babies to care for so get rid of it. Do not trap it and release it somewhere. Number 1 you are only putting your problem off on someone else and number 2 they will come back. Foxes have been known to return from as far as 30 miles or more.
  4. Miltonchix

    Miltonchix Taking a Break

    Jul 14, 2007
    Milton, Florida
    A fox will kill several chickens at a time and bury them to eat later. A fox usually will leave little or no sign they were there. Your birds will disappear like they never exsisted. No feathers, no trace at all.
    Unless of course the fox had to dig a tunnel to get in, which they will unless theres an easier food source handy.

    To find a fox den just look for a pile of bones and/or feathers. They may sneak in to steal your chickens but they're messy as heck at home. [​IMG]
  5. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    Lennon, Michigan
    Thanks for the information. I don't know if the giant golden retriever will be much help. She flushed out a groundhog the other day and spent 5 minutes trying to get it to play with her. So a fox might just look like a big puppy. She is a great dog but a real weenie.

    We are cutting down on freerange time and putting the girls up before dusk. If a fox can dig under the tractor, I almost think they would be safer scattered around than concentrated in one place under the tractor. 12 are bantams, so easy pickings for a fox. The roosters are also bantams, so they can talk the talk but I bet they can't walk the walk . . .
  6. jenn

    jenn Hatching

    Oct 6, 2008
    Without going into my whole Nat. Geo. story:) a fox will run into the yard in broad daylight and grab chickens.
    I live in the woods and like some nature saying:)....that or those fox taught me to see. I can now see the slightest movement in the woods.

    I will have to tell the coyote story though....we put chicken wire loosely around the garden to keep the chickens out. I was folding clothes one day and as usual watching out the screen door and window on that side, in my little cabin.
    A coyote came running in grabbed my rooster, lost him, grabbed him again, whirled around to leave and slammed himself against the chicken wire fence of the garden right there! It threw him for a complete flip! And then he took off with my rooster. I still have a tail feather. I was in shock, it was only a few feet out my door. I can still see it:)

    So, yeah they'll come in in daylight. At least I thought it must have been a coyote cause it was so big or a BIG grey fox. I don't know. It's like I was watching, but my eyes couldn't see:)
  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I'm having fox problems for the first time after 2 years of no predators. Read about it here:

    fox has been jumping up toward the perches and pulling large turkeys off at night -- I'm guessing -- by grabbing the tail with it's mouth or something. We put wire around the pasture, but I've been locking the birds up at night, and haven't lost any that have been inside a pen during the night. In my case, I think it's the only solution, but one that is making a lot of work for myself and I wouldn't want to do it year round, for sure. It's very upsetting! especially if you want free-range birds.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I've seen fox quite a few times during the day on our property. Luckily for us, our shepherd mix hates foxes and throws a total fit if she gets even a whiff of one, so I no longer see fox on the property. [​IMG]
  9. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    Lennon, Michigan
    I was wondering if a hot wire would keep them out. Maybe outside of a conventional chicken wire fence so the girls wouldn't get zapped?

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