Frequently visiting fox

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by KDOGG331, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Fox was back this morning. Not sure I ever shared that here but there was a fox outside the gate 3 weeks ago then when we were in NH for a few days maybe 2 weeks ago my brother, who was watching the pets, thought maybe it came back because he came to the house to get the dog and apparently he was all riled up and stressed and took him maybe an hour to calm down. Didn't actually see it though so we don't know if it was a fox or coyotr or simply a deer or something. Then this morning at about a quarter to 8am the dog started going BALLISTIC. Look out and see a fox running laps around the chicken pen. He would stop once or twice, look at the birds and the house/pant, then continue lapping it. I opened the door and he took off into the woods immediately. Then I went back to sleep for 15, 20 mins until the dog was begging to go out so I let him cause I figured the fox was long gone by then. He sniffed all over and pooped by where he went into the woods. He was very mad. Glad we have him though.

    The weird thing is he didn't try to get in. I know he was probably thinking of how to get those birds hence the stopping (or maybe he heard Gator) but he didn't try to dig in or anything. I'm sure maybe he will though.

    The other kind of funny thing (I know, nothing funny about this cause it's a wild animal and real threat) is how similar all canines act. Before Gator learned how to mind his manners with the birds he would take off and lap around the pen too if you weren't watching and just have a grand old time and the neighbor's dog got loose and did it once too, but only a couple laps before he went home. But it's just interesting how similar canines act, lapping the pen. The fox looked like he was having a grand time too. Though of course he was probably looking for a free meal.

    Speaking of which, there are plenty of rabbits, squirrels, etc. Around, they are literally always in our yard, no shortage of food, so why is he so interested in the chickens?

    I'm just glad we have that dog kennel because if it can contain dogs, even big dogs, surely it can keep out canines, especially little foxes.

    The chickens were of course scared though but oddly didn't fly on the roof or anything and were in fact kind of near the fence. I hope they don't become immune to canine chasing. Though they did at least look scared still.

    Anyhow, it's more just annoying than anything.

    I'm just glad I haven't been free ranging lately. I might start but certainly not in the early morning or evening. The last fox sighting was about 4:30 or 5am so almost 8am seems a little late for foxes to be hunting?

    But it's still early I guess. My brother thought it was weird it was out in the day because he thought foxes were nocturnal? I don't know their behavior pattern? But don't think it's always bad if one is out in the day especially early morning? He looked big and healthy, long body and long bushy tail, lighter brownish red color and some black, not the typical red red fox, darker face, I thought he looked pretty small or young but maybe not. Regardless, real healthy looking and ran away as soon as I opened the door so definitely not rabid. Or hungry.
     
  2. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Oh and the run isn't skirted, which is a little dumb, but we're building a new coop and run soon which will be.

    And we can't shoot the fox because A. We don't have a gun and B. We have neighbors right behind us.

    Plus Gator freaks out immediately (most of the time) so we're always aware anyways, even if it did try to dig in.

    But even with a 137 pound black Lab/Great Pyrenees mix lunging at the door, barking his head off/going ballistic, as well as frequently being outside and peeing, pooping, etc. In the backyard and just generally being out there, making the fox well aware of his presence, and even with the coop 30 feet off the back deck, it still seems that now the fox has discovered the chickens he (or she) is frequently visiting.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I've had fix sightings and attacks during the night, at 830 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 6pm... Time doesn't matter, as as there is adequate cover (crops, woods, etc) nearby.

    As to why the chickens instead of rabbits and all that, there's no hunting involved. Minimal work, maximum reward.
     
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I haven't seen it yet but that definitely sounds like a cool thread! I'll check it out, thanks!!


    There definitely is a lot of cover, behind the coop there's some overgrown grass/raspberry plants, etc. And in one area there's a strip of baby pine trees and then woods behind that. The fox ducked right into the baby pines. There is a street w/houses behind us and in front of us condos/town homes cause we're in a development. But our house was the only one they left (besides the street behind us) when they built the condos, we're not actually a part of it. And we're set back in the woods on almost 3 acres. Actually, my parents just informed me the condos were there when we moved in but the new ones in front of our house were built after. The old ones they say were built in the 80s and I'd guess the new ones were built in the early 2000s.

    And then just this year another group built more condos next to this development and behind an office. I'm actually kind of upset about that one cause that was one of the only patches of woods left.

    So I think a lot of the animals moved into our woods.

    Although there is a manmade pond down the street, part of the neighborhood, and another pond/marsh back behind that. I think our woods actually connect to the woods down there so a lot of the animals are probably down there. And across a busy road there's cranberry bogs. Coyotes there.

    So anyways, I'm waaaaayyyy rambling but only about an acre or acre and a half is yard and the rest is woods and it connects to neighbors woods. Behind us is a smaller section but the front yard is the huge part that connects to the pond.

    And hmmm, I hadn't thought about that. That makes sense. Although, they're inside a dog kennel and haven't been free ranging so isn't it risky to go after them? Or at least hard to get in the pen? I know he knows we have a dog too. I just don't see why risk coming in the day time, or at all, with a huge dog, and humans who run out when we see him? Maybe he's brazen? Or young and learning? I don't see why he hasn't tried to dig into the pen yet either.

    Do you think if I was letting them free range he'd come and take one? I probably shouldn't for a while
     
  6. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you are right about the animals being pushed into the woods near you. That may have made prey harder to get, if there is a lot of competition.

    Are you sure its the same one every time? My bet is that it's a young one not crafty enough to get to them. Are they out and running around in the pen when he is pacing around them, or do they hide in the coop? I'm really shocked he hasn't tried to dig in; if not during the day then at night. I keep a game camera aimed at mine just so I can know what is going on. From what I understand, they are creatures of habit with their hunting behavior. My guess is he will keep checking back, just in case one day you happen to leave it unlatched. I wouldn't free range unless under supervision (can your dog be trusted to watch over them?) or unless you get rid of him or perhaps get electric wire.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would he take ONE? No.....

    Would he take them ALL? Yes!!!! (maybe just one at a time, but he would keep coming back until there were no more to be found)
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    It's rather unfortunate for the animals, and for us.

    I am not sure if it's the same one or not since my dad saw the first one and I saw this one but we haven't seen foxes around here in a while (though I'm sure we still have them) and it seems rather coincidental 2 foxes wpuld find the chickens around the same time. But it could be an older kit. I too am thinking it might be a young one. Oddly enough, the chickens were outside and somewhat near the fence. They usually jump on the roof at danger or get together so I found it a little odd. I'm also really surprised he hasn't tried to dig in. And I know he hasn't because I haven't seen any signs of digging and also the dog would be acutely aware of any attempts. I think I might start locking the run so it can't accidentally swing open. I put a stick in the latch for now. I used to let them free range all afternoon but now they rarely go out and lately when I do let them out, it's the last few hours before they go to bed. They've been sleeping on the roof but I might start putting them inside again. Although the peak is 2 feet from the fence and the fence is 6 feet high with bird netting over the top and plywood in some parts so he'd have to climb up the fence to get in (the coop is inside it). But I don't like risking it so might put them inside for now. We're building a new coop and run so hopefully that will be bigger and more secure. I think if I do let them free range I won't do it on a regular schedule where he can figure it out. Supposedly when we went to NH my brother let them out with the dog and he was fine but I still don't trust him with them and we have a lot of training to do. My brother didn't even tell me he did it ha that said, even if he is fine with us there, he still sometimes has issues when we aren't watching, even in the run, so I don't trust him to be left alone with them. So in that case it's basically the same as us sitting out there without him. I don't know the laws on trapping him but I might have to look into that or call animal control, although they will probably say that he's a wild animal, not rabid, and hasn't attacked yet so there's nothing we can do. I thought about electric wire or fencing in the yard but haven't looked into it much. He runs every time I go out there. Maybe I could set up a game cam? Or get a paint ball gun or BB gun? I'd like to be able to tell if it's the same one coming back or not but he runs when I go out there so spray paint or livestock paint or tagging won't work so I thought maybe paint ball, aiming from an open window, might work. Though of course if I hit him with a paint ball or BB he may never come back. Though that might be a good thing.
     
  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Hmmm, good point. I'll have to avoid free ranging then or at least be outside with them when I do
     
  10. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Technically, trapping or shooting foxes requires a permit. Where I live, it is easier to get away with assisting in fox population control, but it doesn't sound like it would be so easy where you are. The paintball idea sounds good but I don't know if you would get in trouble. Then again, how would "they" know you weren't just using a nonlethal approach on an animal that was attacking your flock and that is what you had handy?

    I keep two game cameras aimed at my coop 24/7 and regularly check the pictures just to make sure nothing is lurking around, particularly at night. That is how I found out I had a raccoon coming around at night, even though there were no signs of it in the morning. I trapped it and gave it to a neighbor. I also keep a radio on in my garage, which is right by the coop.

    One thing I'll suggest is if you don't have a rooster but are somewhere they are allowed, get one. My rooster is very, very good at watching out for danger and warning the girls so they can hide. I lost my very large barred rock rooster to a fox a few months back and I kept pondering how a fox would get him. I mean, he was HUGE! Then it dawned on me. The reason he was caught and not one of the more manageable sized hens was because he did his job. Of course, he set himself up for failure because he used to like to take the girls into the woods. My Japanese bantam rooster seems to know better, though.
     

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