1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How do you out-fox a fox?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Blisschick, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    I am literally at the end of my rope. I have never had to deal with foxes before, and so I'm not sure what to do to keep it from killing my birds other than making sure they're locked up tighter than Ft. Knox. I set out a trap this past weekend and caught a possum, but I know it's not what has been taking off with my birds. It has literally jumped up several feet to take birds off their perch, has dug under fences, pulled birds through wire, and snatched anyone that thought they were hiding good enough. I've lost all but two of my silkies, all my adult OEGB's, all but one of my fryers, 6 muscovies, and about a dozen turkey poults, not to mention other various chicks. I suspected a raccoon at first, but there's some things that have happened that don't explain a raccoon, and I know for a fact that there is a fox in the area. I suspect it's come to view me as a buffet. [​IMG]

    Are they difficult to lure into live traps? What kind of bait should I use? How big of a trap should I use? Snap traps, snares, and poison are not an option because I have cats and dogs. I'd stake it out, but it's attack times are not consistent, and it's got a "smash and grab" tactic. It's very fast about hitting and running, and it's always at night.
     
  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Sorry I can't help out but I hope you get him. My sil just lost her geese to a coyote lastnight, [​IMG]
     
  3. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    957
    1
    151
    May 14, 2008
    I really don't know either. One evening about 5pm i came home and sat in my car a while to look at my peafowl right beside me and a fox walked right by me in my car and stood right beside it eyeing the birds too! I yelled at it and it still did not want to move at first. Same with a racoon in my front yard. I stood there looking at it and it didn't even move.

    I too have a live trap set but no luck yet. Good luck with yours!
    dixy
    :aww
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    4,511
    177
    291
    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    Tough set of circumstances. I've been using havaharts for over a decade, now. In that time only one kit and one scroungy old vixen have been boxed. I watched one fox step into a havahart, carefully remove the plastic container with the bait inside (screw top lid with holes punched through it - can smell it but can't make a mess with it) back out and take off with it.

    Are you far enough out in the boonies that you can place legholds/poison out of the range of your domestics? Barring your locking up the cats and dogs somewhere, the only choice is lockdown for the flock(s) at night. However, if the night time snacking falls off, the fox will simply change its reservation (ours usually strike from two hours before until two hours after sundown (a lot of them get shot following that schedule).

    The bait should be chicken or turkey, if you're going to experiment with the havahart. You could try the following set-up to lure the fox into the trap (suspend bait from top of trap and use line to trigger arm, so the fox pulling at the bait will shut the trap without the fox touching the trigger plate). The below link is from old thread (pics on page 10/11) plus other ideas. I'd just add: cover trap with dark material (looks/smells like a hole something good smelling might be in - think rotted tree stump).

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=18496&p=10

    Hate to say it but lockdown is the only real alternative to legholds/snares/lead.

    Good luck!
     
  5. lewisfarmgurl

    lewisfarmgurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    119
    May 6, 2008
    south carolina
    I am surronded by a Hunt Club on three sides of my property and they cleared out about 150 acres around me this season. I had Foxes (3) tree my cat about 3 weeks after and fight with my Collies through the fence on our 5 acres. I called the game warden and asked for help locating someone to come out and trap the foxes for me as there wasn't a listing in our area for someone. It turned out the Hunt club had disturbed where they were holed up and they were looking for a easy find meal because it scared away what they were hunting to eat.

    If you can't trap them yourself you could do what I did and ask your local Game Warden or wildlife office to find someone to trap and relocate the problem fox. They caught 4 on my property and relocated them to the Natural Preseve forest 30 miles from us.

    Good Luck and I'm sorry for all the hardship you have been dealing with over your flock.[​IMG]
     
  6. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Funny you should ask this question when I hear this whine every single day at work from the computer geek in the next office. He lives IN TOWN and has a gray fox problem. Found one enormous fox in hi yard last week and said he scared it back over the fence when he went out and it scaled the fence like a cat, no problem at all. He has set the have a heart trap about ten times with dog food, cat food, raw chicken, everything but an engraved invitation for the fox and caught a rabbit and two possums and never the fox. The county officials told him they would charge $50.00 to come and set a leg trap and then kill it after they snapped it's leg in the trap. The fox has done no damage around his place, he has no chickens, and has been around enough weeks to see it is not rabid at the moment but he said no to the cruel leg trap, thank you god. That made me sick. He is at his wits end to see the fox outside his fence and in his yard several times a week. The fox is too smart for his trap. I think he has given up worrying about the trap and plans to shoot it if it appears rabid and take his chances on the citation that will follow for discharging a firearm in the city. Guess they really earned their "sly" reputation. He had a rabbit in the garage at the beginning of the fox visits and I suspect that is what brought it around, he has been aggravated enough at both to talk about baiting the have a heart trap with the rabbit, lol! Didin't do it though but did take the "stupid" as he says, rabbit inside!! Good luck with your fox Bliss, hope it isn't as smart as this one or it will be around a while. [​IMG]
     
  7. lewisfarmgurl

    lewisfarmgurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    119
    May 6, 2008
    south carolina
    Scrambled , I can't believe they were gonna kill a healthy fox that is just horrible. I 'm glad he didn't let them trap it either. I know they can wipe out a flock but I just hate to see a animal killed for doing what they naturally do in their own habitat. ( I'm not in town)

    Even when my coop is finished and I've done everything I can to keep them safe I know it's a possibility I'll lose some hens along the way. That's just what happens sometimes. It will hurt but that is nature in action.
     
  8. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    Quote:If the animal is just passing through without doing any harm, I'd probably let it go. That's what I did with the possum I caught. They're dumb as bricks and I didn't see where it was doing more harm than eating my cats' food and a few eggs that rolled through the wire. He got relocated several miles from my house in the woods off some hiking trails. I doubt it'll be back.

    I told my daughter that if I caught a raccoon, I'd shoot it. They're too smart to release at the house, too ingrained in their habits, too destructive, and can be vicious creatures that can potentially carry rabies. I would not be picking up the cage with it still alive in it. Sorry if anyone is offended by that, but that's just the way it would be. Anyone who has had to deal with them will understand what I'm talking about.

    I've taken some measures to protect my turkeys. I've added a layer of chicken wire to the inside of the kennel I'm now using to house the hen and her poults, and added boards around the perimeter to offset digging under the sides. I keep one silkie in a carrier at night, while the other is in a brooder bin with chicks in my house. All my pens were built with the wire buried. All the other loose chickens roost high, and all the turkeys roost along the top rails of my pens. Short of owls or daytime attacks, everyone is good at night for now.

    I'll try to find the number for the game warden and see if they can help. Animal control in my county consists of one man who is scarce, so there's no point in me trying to contact him. I have a lot of cats (16) and no place to keep them, so poison, snares, and leg traps aren't an option. Maybe the game warden has a solution.
     
  9. lewisfarmgurl

    lewisfarmgurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    119
    May 6, 2008
    south carolina
    I hope he can help you out. I agree about the raccoon situation totally. I worry about rabies too and get help trapping because I'm just not good at it. I hope you don't lose anymore of your flock in the mean-time.

    I have no problem with the killing of animals to protect your flock just the other issue Scrambled was talking about upset me. If the wild animal isn't being a danger thats just mean to kill it when it could be relocated you know.

    Good luck and again let us know if you get help with this. [​IMG]
     
  10. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Scrambled , I can't believe they were gonna kill a healthy fox that is just horrible. I 'm glad he didn't let them trap it either. I know they can wipe out a flock but I just hate to see a animal killed for doing what they naturally do in their own habitat. ( I'm not in town)

    Killing is better than that leg trap, how inhuman..and from the county too!!! It's hard to hate predators too badly when you realize they have no where else to go. I feel badly for some of them squeezed out of their habitats. Course I guess that doesn't mean not to look after your own, but in all honesty it is still sad.​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by