Major ongoing fox problems

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shmccarthy, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    114
    173
    Mar 27, 2013
    Michigan
    At the beginning of June, a fox came in the middle of the day and took 7 of my chickens. Since then, I have had the girls on lock down. I have had no more losses but the fox still hangs around. She went after my outdoor cat and will not leave. I have tried baiting and hunting her, live trapping and calling her in with no luck. About 2 weeks ago I dumped my brooder in a new compost pile and buried it. The fox dug it up looking for the chickens and I found that evidence about a week ago. I there has been numerous sightings of her hanging around as well. She seems to be a daytime fox and is not afraid to come out where humans are. She seems to also be pretty trap smart.

    Today, a neighbor came over and have me all her egg cartons. She said a fox came and killed all but one of her chickens. I really feel like I need to stop this fox. I want to try and bait her in somehow and shoot her but I don't know how to go by it properly. I do not want to try live traps because I have 3 dogs and an outdoor cat that will get into it and I don't want to keep messing with it or removing it to keep them from going near it daily. I have been baiting my live trap for 3 weeks now with no luck so I do not think she will go in it unless I change something.
    Now I need to know how to kill this fox. She is going after other people's chickens and a lot more of my neighbors have chickens and I really don't want them to lose any either. She is not extremely wary of humans or houses and attacks in broad daylight. I also know she has kits, they are old enough to be on their own but we have seen them with her on a couple occasions. I don't want to use leg hold traps because of my dogs unless there's a way to completely make sure they won't get caught in it. I can bait her to the compost pile where she has been digging but I don't know what to use. Are there scents I can buy? Should I use a live animal? And are there any calls I should use/buy? I've spent probably 15 separate days trying to call her in with a cotton tail distress call and a live chicken but had 0 luck. I really need help with this!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,707
    2,336
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Are you using a live chicken as bait for the live trap? If no, then I suggest you do so.

    I am guessing you have a reason for not keep dog out with chickens to deal with fox?
     
  3. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    114
    173
    Mar 27, 2013
    Michigan
    I was using a live chicken as bait in a separate smaller trap and I covered them so the chicken was only visible through the larger one. I tried that everyday for a week with no results. Should I try that again?

    My 3 dogs aren't very helpful when it comes to these sorts of things. The oldest is a Great Dane and she is in her senior years. She is protective when need be but is starting to get arthritis in her hips and can't get around like she used to. She gets walked on a leash when she is out because she likes to roam still, even with her beginning hip issues.
    The second is my lab and he's afraid of his own shadow. I have worked with him with the chickens so he doesn't go after them but only when I'm around. I'm still working with him daily to not chase them. I still don't trust him with them yet because he gets excited and wants to chase them. He stays on our property and is usually outside hanging around for a few hours daily. He can't stay outside when no one is home (which is usually between 10am and 5pm depending on the day) because he goes onto the road and has gotten hit before. If someone is home he does not wander. He also seems to be extremely anxious and gets nervous really easily. I have worked quite a bit with him as a water retriever for ducks and he does well retrieving and bringing back. He isn't gun shy but needs to learn to focus on the task at hand. I have worked a bit with him and tracking and he did exceptionally well one time, being his first time. I had him track a doe with an arrow in her and he followed and pointed to the spotted blood trail. He did very well with that but after it started raining and we went 3 miles, he lost the trail. After the fox attacked the chickens I tried using the feathers of one of them as a scent to follow and he followed it for about 100 feet and just was too unfocused to do much more. Basically I do not know necessarily how he would react with the fox if he came across it but I think he may be scared of it.
    The third dog is a lab/whippet cross and she is very small. She is 7 or 8 years and is pretty small. I don't think she has any experience with really anything. She is my moms boyfriends dog and honestly I don't like the dog very much because she isn't completely house trained and she is other dog aggressive. I don't really know how much use my dogs would be to help get rid of or deter the fox. The Great Dane seems to just ignore the chickens but I wouldn't let her out with them by herself. The lab/whippet is afraid of the chickens and runs away if they get near her.
     
  4. hrhta812

    hrhta812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    215
    13
    123
    Jul 27, 2009
    Lebanon, IN
    We managed to trap one in a live box trap from TSC, coon size, but the second one was very hard to catch. We ended up using foot traps from Gander Mtn., set inside a 4 x 4 outdoor dog kennel, using the most recently killed chicken hanging inside the kennel as a lure. It stepped over the first foot trap, but the second one got it. I spent around $25 for the two traps total; one was slightly bigger than the other.

    [​IMG]


    I've got another trap on order, that's a bigger size live trap, big enough for coyote. Just in case. :)
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,707
    2,336
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Keep trying the trap adjusting it location.


    In my experience your average red fox is very consistent in the timing of the route it takes each day, at least when it comes visiting locations it expects to find eats. If it has not gotten any of your birds for a while, then it is likely visiting for something else like rodents or rabbits.

    Regardless of reason for visits, your dogs are your best bet. Speed and aggression combined is best but even a close call from simply a happy dog will give fox a good scare. Killing fox is not required if dog gets it going. If you know about time it visits then wait in house for it and listen to birds. When birds get rile loose dog and hopefully dog will at least check out chickens and may come across fox in process. That is how I started my dog on fox.
     
  6. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    114
    173
    Mar 27, 2013
    Michigan

    You are very correct. I have had a few sparse encounters lately. I have been trying different baits in my trap, and have only caught quite a few raccoons, possums and even a squirrel. Someone told me to use partridge as bait? I'm not sure I want to use money on that if another pest will eat it. I may alternate back to live bait again. Both attacks at my house were at 3pm. I saw the fox while driving home two nights ago at 9:12 pm and she barely got out of the road in time.. That next morning, a neighbor came over and have me all his egg cartons. He said that all his chickens have been killed. They don't know what did it but I suspect the fox. Out of the 4 people that live on my street that raises chickens (including myself), 3 have been attacked, two were pretty much wiped out completely. I am planning on going over tomorrow or Saturday and talking to both neighbors to see if they want to help me try and get the fox. Both neighbors have kids and I know some of the chickens were pets to them. I'll ask what time it happened and I want to see more evidence of the last attack to try and determine if it was fox or not. We are keeping the cat indoors for as much as she will tolerate. She disappeared for a month, which is completely out of the ordinary, and I suspect the fox may have frightened her off. This is beginning to be such a hassle but the fox is obviously sticking around and finding new ways to get to other nearby coops. I have two days off work next week and I plan on using the time to try some live bait and calling her in, around 3pm. I am optimistic, hopefully she'll show up. At least I am a good marks (wo)man. :D

    On another note, I am working on coon training my lab. Come to find out, he really has a thing for coons, and not a good thing either. The ones I have trapped, he had lunged at the cage growling and barking aggressively. He doesn't care for possums or squirrels. I have been reading techniques on teaching dogs to tree raccoons and it seems fairly straightforward. Another dog is soon on the horizon and I am looking into strictly hunting dogs, or a guard type dog. Mainly coon hounds, pointers or possibly a shepherd.
     
  7. ghostwolf211

    ghostwolf211 Chillin' With My Peeps

    120
    7
    73
    Aug 21, 2013
    Ringtown, Pennsylvania
    Believe it or not....When I notice a predator hanging around I put my Beagle in my run...My coop and run are completely enclosed.....He sleeps outside of the coop in the run and if anything comes near he's howling to beat the band....Chases everything off
     
  8. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    114
    173
    Mar 27, 2013
    Michigan

    I wish I could do that :) I do not trust my lab as far as I can throw him with the chickens. Not that he would intend on hurting them, he just likes to play "chase the chicken, now the chicken chases me" game and it just terrified the chickens.. He always seems so disappointed they don't chase back though.. I love beagles, I would get one if the rest of the family were as find of them as I am. They make such good hunting dogs too. A friend of mine has one and she howls when she sees coyotes and they then have time to get a gun to shoot it or scare it off.
     
  9. ghostwolf211

    ghostwolf211 Chillin' With My Peeps

    120
    7
    73
    Aug 21, 2013
    Ringtown, Pennsylvania
    Yeah I use mine for hunting....I think its a little strange he doesn't chase the chickens around or try anything because he loves to chase pheasants and grouse....But he really could care less about the chickens when they are out together
     
  10. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    114
    173
    Mar 27, 2013
    Michigan
    Well I reset the trap this morning. I have two traps and I picked an able and willing volunteer from the audience (the first cockerel I could catch) and put him in the smaller trap. I went to the north part of my property where the fox was digging and set the trap there. The fox was digging there because that was my brooder compost pile. I found the biggest, thickest bush and set the trap in there. I placed it so that the only way you can see the cock in the small trap, is by looking through the big one. I covered both traps in branches and leaves. I am going to dump out the brooder there too so it really stinks up the place. I am going to check after work today.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by