Lost 7 hens inc Rooster

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Steve Ramsey, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Steve Ramsey

    Steve Ramsey New Egg

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    Jul 14, 2016
    As per normal I went out and let the girls and big rooster out of their coop this morning. Returned to the house to feed the dogs and, went out to feed the hens and rooster around 9.00am ( it is Saturday so a wee lie in was required). When I got to the run, around a fifth of an acre I didn't see the big white form of the rooster(known to us as The Major) and the run seemed really quiet. No crowing and no usual flap as I entered and the girls all come running to see if they have any treats. I noticed some feathers laying in a loose clump then, another clump. Thought the moult isn't going too well. Got to the coop; opened the door and three hens only. MMM I wondered so I started to call them, no response so I went for a quick walk round and soon found more feathers and three dead/headless chickens. More feather close to the outside fence and even more out side of it. So I now know where they have been taken. I honestly believe there are more than one fox as three have been spotted in the land behind ours and they are supposedly not scared if you approach them. Any ways like the title said Lost 7 chickens including the Rooster. and only the three, now very quiet and lonely girls left. Now is there any way of fox proofing the run cheaply. I know it is only nature at it's worst butit rips my heart out when one of the girls is found dead or has been killed by a fox.
     
  2. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry for your loss, Steve. I don't recommend any "cheap" solutions when the lives of your birds are on the line. Foxes are cunning and persistent. They WILL be back as sure as the sun rises each morning. If it were my flock in danger I would certainly shoot and trap any predators that came onto my land looking for an "easy" meal. You can spend a lot of energy and effort improving security of the pen and coop piecemeal only to find the foxes will get in a different way and more birds are dead until you have no chickens left. You either need to invest in some serious upgrades to your chicken facilities, kill the predators or accept that your chickens will all perish. None of those are great options but their lives are in your hands. Chickens have no defense against a group of foxes. Best wishes.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Need to know what comprises your run presently, before suggestions to improve can be made...
    ......can you post pics of it?
     
  4. snowflake

    snowflake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with aart, you may consider an electric wire about 1 foot off the ground, gets most climbers and animals that lead with the nose. you can put wire up rather cheaply and isn't to hard,
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I have personal experience with fox ...Buggers!
    We have a 12'' Wire skirt buried under the ground all around my run...Fox has tried to dig a bit but really not that interested...Stole my hen only 50 feet from where I was standing...I have a LGD dog that got lured to the barn as the other one then came to take my hen...Buggers!

    A wire skirt is your best option and a covered top....
     
  6. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mobile, AL
    Man that sucks, very fast to lose that many birds in a matter of minutes, had to be a group of predators to carry that many off that quickly.
    My first question is how did they get into (and out of) the run?
    How high is the fence?
    I assume there is no top cover?
    Is there a chance some of the birds flew over the fence trying to escape and are hiding out?

    Two approaches to killing the fox(es): Foothold traps/snares or call them in & shoot with a .22.
    Other Security measures:
    Backyard dog that is "chicken acclimated".
    More secure run with top.
    Or better yet, all three.
     
  7. Steve Ramsey

    Steve Ramsey New Egg

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    Jul 14, 2016
    Sadly, money is the problem at the minute so why I asked for a cheap fix. I think the fifth of an acre is to big to cover over. Also, I have had sheep fencing up to keep the birds in. And, that is where the fox/foxes got in. Through the squares of the wire. I have a couple of lengths of High grade wire that is solid and should cover the bottom third of the fence where they got in but, feel they will always get in until I can hopefully afford to do the whole run in a few months. I will keep on feeding the three remaining hens though they have stopped laying since the slaughter of their run mates. I suppose they are traumatised. One hasn't even left the coop meaning I have to put water where she can get it. I will replace the hens eventually but my head is in no condition to provide another "easy meal" for the foxes to come and get when ever they want too. So much for them being nocturnal as both attacked, (I had three ducks attacked around the same time last year and just after I had let them out in the morning) So need to plan and prepare the run before I replenish the stock. Was thinking of getting some geese and more drakes. Folks around here don't seem to like duck eggs lol.
     

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