Foxes = death

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by coopobot, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. coopobot

    coopobot Just Hatched

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    Went away for a few days for Christmas, left the neighbour in charge of the chickens. He said he would feed them, make sure the water is topped up etc. Not sure if he didn't secure the run correctly or if a fox got in by forcing itself through a gap between the fence and the side of the run.

    Either way, Christmas morning he phones me to tell me that two chickens are missing altogether, and one is dead missing its head.

    Had to clean up all the feathers today, dismantle the run and clean out the coop.

    Not sure whether I will get anymore or if I will just call I quits. Totally gutted about what's happened.


    Main question though, what am I supposed to do with the body of the chicken that the fox left behind?
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    How do you know it was a fox?

    Losing birds is hard. It gets easier the longer you keep chickens as it will happen from time to time. An inevitable part of keeping livestock that is low on the food chain. You'll get better at protecting them from the types of predators in your area too. Predator proof runs are difficult to achieve. Predator proofing coops and locking the door every night is much easier. I lost two birds this year. One to a hawk which was unavoidable and one after moving the birds to winter digs. They did not like the change of location one bit and kept escaping the run. After spending the entire afternoon and evening putting birds back in thought they were finally all in the coop when locking it up. Not the case and one was probably roosting in lilacs when a raccoon took it just past night fall. I know this as I went out with flashlight when hearing the noise. Saw the eyes down in field and when walked up to it saw the bird was too far gone to save so let it finish dragging away.

    If you are in a rural area just put the carcass near wood line and it will be gone by morning. That's what I did with carcass from hawk and where all parts after butchering go too. We are surrounded by predators but with some planning loose very few to predators. Acceptable losses I should say. If your in town just put it in garbage, when I lived in town I'd plan butchering for day before trash day so it didn't fester in sun.
     
  3. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't give up! We just lost two here too. It's a constant battle to secure your chickens, especially like we do, free ranging in a rural area. You said you dismantled the run, I would take this opportunity to put it back together and really examine it for weak spots. Same with the coop. Comb over it and think about spots a fox or a coon or whatever could get in there. My folks keep theirs in a run and they poured concrete for a footing all the way around their run, about a foot deep to deter any digging under. That's a lot of work. Another option I see people out here do is use hog panels with the smallest openings your can find. The people I've seen use this method will find a 24-30 inch wide panel and then run them along the perimeter of their run. They stick about a foot inside the wall and a foot to 2 feet outside the wall so anything that comes up to the run that starts to dig will immediately find hog panel and not be able to dig under the wall of the run. I know some people that even do the entire floor of their run with these panels a few inches below the soil.

    As far as the chicken goes....it really depends. Depending on the Fish and Game rules in your area, you could set a trap with the chicken or the bait and the perpetrator would hopefully be the one who comes back for it. Or, you can double bag it and just throw it away and place something heavy on the lid of your trashcan as raccoons are sure to pick up on it. I wouldn't bury it though, unless you go way way way deep, which is silly, it would just attract more scavengers.

    Anyway, hang in there! It happens. Even with electric fences, dog patrols, motion sprinklers, etc it happens. You have to be successful 100% of the time to not lose any chickens, predators only have to be successful once. It's a challenge but worth it IMO.
     
  4. coopobot

    coopobot Just Hatched

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    Nov 23, 2016
    Live in the outskirts of a city in the UK. So as far as im aware, not many preditors around other than foxes.

    No large birds, definately no racoons or anything similar. No snakes. Have seen a fox around before so just presumed it was one that got in and did the damage.

    I only had 3 and to loose all 3 in one go is pretty annoying.
     
  5. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah to lose the whole flock, no matter the size, is rough.
     
  6. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry you lost your hens. It's so hard to raise them and take care of them, then suddenly they are gone. It does soundike a fox/dog because it killed all of them, but thats just a guess. My 2 losses to hawks were on days when I had not gone out to check as often as normal. So i wonder if that predator noticed no one was around. I swear they watch and wait.

    It's also very possible the coopsitter left something open overnight, not understanding the importance. My first reaction is always "thats it! I'm done keeping hens. I'll let someone deal with this and buy my eggs" but then I rethink and keep going. No other way to make sure how hens are fed and treated than to do it yourself.

    I get extra hatchlings to account for mortality. This year its a good thing because i lost 3-- one to egg yolk peritonitis and 2 to hawks. Down from 10 to 7. So sorry that you have to start completely over. I hope you feel better and can continue to enjoy these delightful birds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Loosing a whole bunch of birds at one time does not sound like a fox. They will get them all, but usually one at a time.

    Multiple kills all at one time sounds like the work of raccoons, weasels or one of the weasel cousins, or dogs.

    What to do next depends on how much you liked the birds. If a little and it's not loss, they you have your answer. If a lot and you really want to keep birds, you can, but you may have to dig down deep and get more determined to keep them alive than the predators are to kill them. They can be defeated. It is not impossible, nor all that difficult if that is what you really want.
     
  8. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so so sorry for your loss :hugs

    I live in the UK too- although we don't have bears, raccoons and coyotes, the foxes here are VERY crafty, particularly in the cities and towns. It does sound like Mr Fox was the culprit :(

    Don't give up! Rebuild the run and coop, and make it more sequre (add more bolts on the doors and cover up any gaps with wood or Welded mesh).

    For the body, I would just bury it.
     
  9. coopobot

    coopobot Just Hatched

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    Thank you for the replies and advise. I think i will give it a few months and then get some new ones from the same place as last time.

    Will give me the chance to build the fort knox of chicken coops / runs.
     
  10. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :woot I'm glad that you are not giving up!
     

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