Mystery solved....maybe!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Moose23, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Moose23

    Moose23 New Egg

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    Dec 1, 2012
    About a month ago now we got home slightly later than usual, still wasn't quite dark though and while on the way to the coop to check eggs found the yard was covered in feathers. We figured 4 birds were taken, one we found it's head but everything else was mostly just feathers. Our birds had just free ranged till that point and it was our first loss to predators, we had expected it at some point but still sucks when it happens.

    At first we thought maybe our new LGD had done the deed but we had observed her for a long time before leaving her unsupervised with them and from day one she never even looked at them funny. They would be inches from her face while she slept and not a budge so it seemed unlikely, we also noticed the chickens still didn't spook when she was around after the attack. What we had noticed was a strong smell of skunk that day and it was close to the coop, we set traps out for the next week thinking it had to be the culprit but only ended up with cats..lol.

    Fast forward a couple weeks and we were packing up very early one morning to take some birds to auction and one managed to escape, in a hurry and it not being an easy one to catch we left it out for the day. You guessed it, came home to a pile of feathers again. Ever since it's been real cold so the birds have been coop bound and no chance of any more attacks.

    Well just an hour ago I was walking past the kitchen window and could swear I saw something laying on the bales at the edge of the yard, got the camera out with zoom lens and sure enough a beautiful red fox. Snuck out and got to about 30 yards, it was sound asleep and dead to the world until the sound of the camera.

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    Wasn't quite sure what to make of us at first.

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    Definitely a likely culprit me thinks. I knew I saw fox tracks in the snow right by the coop the other night and was sure this was a fox and not a yote on my game cam last week....

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    Looks like this one is living between the bales right at the yard, I asked my wife if she wanted me to shoot it....so far she's conflicted, worried about her birds but she loves wildlife.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] The fox is very likely your predator. They have a musky odor about them somewhat like that of a skunk. Given the opportunity, it will continue killing your birds. Fortify your coop and run.
     
  3. Moose23

    Moose23 New Egg

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    Dec 1, 2012
    Oh yes we know once they've found them they won't leave but my wife loves wildlife just as much as any of her birds, otherwise I would have taken care of this one today when I had the chance. Now if it was a coyote I would have taken care of it without a second thought, so would she. They are everywhere out here, I know of one local that traps them and averages 50 per year off of his 150acres. Right now we aren't too concerned as there is no chance a fox could get in at the birds as our coop is solid and built on a concrete foundation, see here.... https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...l-suggestions-and-help-welcome-image-heavy/80

    It's -20C steady now and we'll have long stretches of -30 to -50 so the birds aren't out now till spring. Soon as weather lets me I'll be putting up a 6ft tall fence around their yard with a strand of electric at top and bottom. She knows there's still the risk but certain predators are going to be tolerated, fox being one of them due to their low numbers in our area. Now of course that may change if she loses a significant number to an attack but only time will tell.

    Anyways thanks for the welcome.
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Penning the birds up safe is always the most reliable way to protect them from predators.

    I have lived where there were foxes and enjoyed hearing them and very rarely seeing one. Except the darn things would sneak into my yard and steal the dog toys.
     

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