I think I have a very smart fox...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by flockmaster, May 16, 2009.

  1. flockmaster

    flockmaster New Egg

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    I had about 14 hens, and now I am down to 3 and one rooster. The predator had been sneaking in to the coop at night, and took a about 10 hens and one rooster right out of it.

    We tried waiting outside the chicken coop for it (after we realized what was going on) but it never once showed itself. BUT the first time I forgot to lock the chicken door on the chicken coop, I lost a chicken before 9PM.

    We then tracked the feathers out to a hole in the back pasture (where the sheep are) smoke bombed it, and covered it in with dirt/sticks and it has remained undisturbed.

    And I thought that was it...

    But I set a live trap outside the chicken coop, just to see what would happen and caught a cat. I don't think this was the culprit, since whole chickens just disappeared.

    So, I put the live trap inside the chicken door of the chicken coop-- basically so that if the predator tries to get in the door, it jumps in the trap and sets it off. Been doing this for a a couple weeks, have not caught anything.

    Just when I thought my chickens were safe. My very last silver laced wyandotte disappeared. And, I KNOW it was there when I left for work at 7:30 because that's when I let the chickens out. I was thinking she might have wandered off to try and hatch some eggs (she was going broody and I kept taking her eggs away from her in the coop) and got eaten...but still, it's very weird that she disappeared during the day.

    So, do you think this is a fox? And if so, what is the best way to trap/kill it? My dog is completely useless, he's an American bulldog and he is pretty good at herding and excellent at 'catching' sheep (what he is bred to do) but there is no way he would stay on the farm if we let him outside during the day. If I put him outside at night he would sit by the door and bark until I let him in..

    I'm pretty much at my wits' end and the only thing I can think of to do is fence the chickens it and not allow them to free range anymore.
     
  2. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    where there is one there is more I think that although free ranging is nice you are not going to be able to do it unsupervised. You are going to have to build a secure run.

    I just moved my juviniles to a new coop with run and thought I had made it safe but something found a way in and killed at least 3 of my chooks, still trying to figure out how it did it. I think it reached through this one spot where the door is and the only place that is not harware clothed. I never had a problem with these doors before and use several of them but now I see the flaw the spaces are just too wide I guess and they can reach in and grab. Stupid hooks they had so much room why they let themselves be grabbed I will never know.
     
  3. luvanimals3

    luvanimals3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could set up a trail cam. You might get a bunch of pictures of chickens but it might work.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I'd depend more on making your coop predator-proof than on catching the fox. No way anything except perhaps a bear could get into my coops at night.
     
  5. archerobx

    archerobx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    got an english bulldog and if her snoring wouldnt scare the fox away nothing will, lol.

    May I ask what state your in?

    I live in Pa and fox and coyotes have litters, so they are looking for food and if they found your chickens they will be back.

    We have coons on the farm big enough to take a whole chicken.

    You can put a trail cam up and see what you get.

    How is the animal sneaking into coop?

    If there is a whole or a space of some sort I would use a snare or cable restraint. That way you dont have to worry about catching a chicken or hurting non target animal.

    As for live traps they are great for cat,coons, possums and skunks but I never caught a fox in one. Its done but I never have.


    hope this helps
     
  6. flockmaster

    flockmaster New Egg

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    Thanks for the replies guys....

    I am in New York (right by you guys in Pennsyltucky lol).

    The problem isn't anything getting it at night, anymore, since the chicken door leads right in to a live trap. The coop has a 'man sized door' with a chicken sized door (just a hole in the bottom of the 'man door') . The predator was just jumping in the 'chicken door' I imagine. Initially I was just putting a board in front of the chicken door at night and that worked fine. I have a trap there now to try and catch anything that was trying to jump into the chicken door to get inside. It is not possible for anything to get into the chicken door without walking in to the live trap and setting it off.

    I don't mind locking them up at night, it's just that the one Wyandotte disappeared during the day (or at least, shortly after 7:30). I didn't think foxes hunted during the day, or anything else that is prone to killing chickens (coons, oppossums, etc). I would still like to get rid of whatever has beeen killing them though, especially since I have babies that need to go out of the brooder in a few weeks.

    I don't think it's coyotes, since the farmers around here keep the population pretty thin. We do, however see a ton of foxes and you can often hear them at night.


    The trail cam is a good idea, one of the guys that hunts our property has one actually and would let me use
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    A fox or coyote will hunt during the day if it has kits to feed. I too have a chicken door in a human size door in one of the coops, but there is a barrel bolt on the inside to keep anything from pushing through it at night.
     
  8. archerobx

    archerobx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hope you were closer I would help you out.

    cant wait to see the trail cam photos
     
  9. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Trapping is the best solution to these problem preds.. Learn to trap and it will save you alot of headaches..
    You can target specific animals once you learn the art of trapping, it beats a gun because you don't have to be around to get the job done, beats poising because it doesn't kill everything that eats it or eating the poisoned carcass when it dies elsewhere.

    No fox will out smart a good trapper and if one studies there quarry one can easily capture it with leg hold traps. If using the proper leg holds for your target animals, the damage is very minimal to the animal until you dispatch it.

    CR'S are also a very affect method of capture and they don't not kill the intended predator until you dispatch it your self, also none target animals can easily be released with no damage as well, however one may need to get very familiar with using CR's before attempting to use it much like trapping with the leg hold traps.. practice and knowledge will catch your killers..

    ~Wilds~
     

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