Foxes

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by avian, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. avian

    avian Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    I have many fox problems with my chickens. The chickens are free range whenever we are home or on the weekends, when we are not home , we keep them in their run. Their run is about 5 feet tall , made out of chicken wire , it has plastic stakes keeping it in the ground. There is no floor to their run. We usually get attacks during the day , when they are free ranging. Is there any way to help prevent fox attacks, besides keeping them in their pen?!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi again, avian - I said hello a few minutes ago in the New Member forum. Fox problems: well, obviously keeping them penned is the best solution, many free rangers balance the benefits of ranging vs. the dangers of ranging. Below is a thread you might check out about foxes (and there a lot on BYC about it...type in a search 'fox' and you'll read a lot of threads on the topic). I guess if you continue to free range them it comes down to trying to deter them or trying to eliminate as many as you can. Trapping, hiring someone to call them in and shoot them if legal in your area are a couple of options. A dog can be a great deterrent. Whatever you decide, best of luck!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/663644/chicken-protection-from-a-fox
     
  3. avian

    avian Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    Thanks for the help , I'll check out that topic. If I do get a dog to guard the chickens, what breed would you recommend?!
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have fox problems here too. I lost 16 in two different DAYTIME attacks. Night was no problem, as I have a FortKnox type coop. The fox will totally wipe you out. What I ended up doing was buying 400' of electrified poultry netting. That took care of the problem for me. The chickens get out everyday, and I don't have to worry about them.
    Jack

    [​IMG]
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Answer will be a function of what types of predator challenges will be over horizon. For most folks, foxes and hawks will be your most consistent diurnal problems but coyotes and stray dogs often factor in. Stray dogs will usually be concern your dog must sized / numbered for. Consider where you live and what you are willing to pay for dog(s) and upkeep. Dog can easily cost more than flock it is charged to protect. For most predators with the exception of raptors in my locality, the fencing method suggested by JackE is the most cost effective.

    Questions to ask yourself before going dog route as will also help decide breed to use.

    How many acres (square feet of area to be free-range)?

    Number of birds?

    Types of birds (size included)?

    Cover available?

    Rules governing dogs in your area?

    Cost you can afford with such a long-term invesmtent which might be 10 years or more?

    Willingness to train dog and possibly loose a couple birds to dog in process?

    What will you do if dog starts off as pup and not effective guardian until a year, possibly two years old?


    To be honest I have gone the dogs route and I am increasingly employing fencing and have always used traps. Eventually I will be using the electrified poultry netting JackE suggested because dogs would be too spread out otherwise to defend all flocks at once. I also use a rifle and study predators and poultry behavior constantly in effort to optimize predator management.
     
  6. avian

    avian Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    Thank you both for the info. I'm not planning on getting a dog, but I ever did the information is useful for future reference. Also I own outdoor cats (which get along well with the birds) and I'm afraid that electric netting would harm them.
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a couple of cats myself. One of them tested the fence. He tore out of there like a missile. No lasting damage done, but he learned a healthy respect for the fence. He will still go down and prowl around the perimeter, but he won't touch it.
    Jack
     
  8. KatieBugg

    KatieBugg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 dogs that work as a team on fox, the first dog is a female wired hair Jack Russel and she is just as fast as the fox and catches them and holds them and tries to kill them, then the second dog 9 month old male Blue heeler will catch up to them and help complete the kill. SHe is also excellent all by herslelf for killing opposum and she runs coons off by biting their butt and running, they can't catch her or spin around fast enough and she keeps at it until they leave or I shoot them.

    Both dogs have taken work, the JRT has a very high prey drive and had to work on her with the chickens once she understood they were part of the pack, then no problems ever, The heeler didn't want to kill them he just wanted to herd them he still does, but only on command now. Having a dog that can bring a flock of 30-40 birds to you has been useful.

    Both hate Hawks with a passion, how they figured that one out is beyond me.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Don't worry about the fencing causing harm. I have cats and a toddler son whom are all expected to get zapped, my son if like me, will be zapped many times. Even the birds might get zapped but still no real damage to be expected.
     
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Outstanding set up!
     

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