Newbie**Need Help with a Fox Issue

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by michelle.boyer, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. michelle.boyer

    michelle.boyer New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2010
    This is our first year raising chickens. My daughter wanted to do it as part of her 4H project. We started with 11 chickens in a 2 story coop. The bottom level is completely surrounded by a wire mesh (smaller than chicken wire), and the top level is 1/2 wire mesh, and 1/2 enclosed. There are two small doors for the top, and one of the bottom sides are hinged to open. There is no run. We would typically open the bottom up for the chickens to free range during the day. About 7:30pm, everyone would be home and we would close it up for the night. This worked great for about the first 6 weeks. Two weeks ago, a fox came by about 8:30am and disappeared with 5 of our chickens. Since then, we have kept the remaining 6 chickens in the coop with no free range. This morning, my daughter found the fox had gotten one of the top doors open and took off with 2 more chickens. Now we are down to 4. We can solve the door issue of the fox opening the door with a better enclosure. But as a newbie to the chicken world, here are a few questions:
    1. Do foxes typically prey during the day? This guy has struck about the same time both times.
    2. I desperately want my chickens to free range. Does free range mean NO protection and out in the open? Or can it also include a run?
    3. Our coop is currently locate by a row of bushes and trees. I thought that would be a good locations because they seemed to love the shade in there, and it would help to hide them from overhead predators. Am I just giving the fox a good place to hide for his sneak attack? Is it ok to put the coop in direct sun?
    Help help with suggestions. My daugher is heartbroken!!
     
  2. FF

    FF Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 9, 2010
    Tennessee
    First don't leave them in a hot place. Diret sun will hurt them in hot temperatures. Second. he knows where food is. he knows now until he dies. the only thing you can really do is kill it. Sit out there with a gun, pieces of raw chicken legs real early and shoot him. Or you can trap him either one. i personally will trap it and then kill it. Sounds mean but thats just the way it has to go. He will come back. take him at least 50-60 miles away or shoot. him. I am sorry for being to the point but I would like you to keep your chickens. I has 2 possums and a huge coon. I trapped them all and one was while slobbering so I definetly had to shoot him. But anyways that really only your choices. And no foxes don't regulary hunt at day. They are nocturnal. Good Luck with your chickens and I hope you can take care of it. If you was closer I would take care of it for you but you might be a bit too far for me. Have a good day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Fox are mostly nocturnal, but often will hunt in the evening and morning hours when it's cooler, but they are very adaptable so they -may- hunt during the daylight hours. //edited to fix because I was wrong when I said they are diurnal!!

    Free range to most of us here means they get to run around 'freely' on a large chunk of property so they can eat bugs, vegetation and get exercise. In commercial operations, it means they have some limited access to some fresh air and possibly some sunshine, not a big green field or yard. In your situation, I think a run is very much in order... that is one determined fox, though the critter that opened the door may have been a raccoon. They have very good manual dexterity and can open latches and lift things etc.

    Your daughter could go out later in the afternoon and let them roam if she's going to stay outside with them, which would almost surely keep both fox and raccoons away.

    I wouldn't move the coop to the sun, but if you must, you must. I really think that would get too hot though.

    I would investigate getting some live traps (Have a Heart is one brand but there are several) and put some meat etc in it to see what all you catch. Before you do that however, realize that in virtually all states and regions, it is illegal to trap and relocate what you trap, thus moving a problem animal to another neighborhood to become an even bigger problem. That animal is now more educated about traps, humans and ways to cause trouble for them. Decide ahead of time how you will dispose of whatever you trap, either dispatching it yourself if you have a gun or a neighbor who will do it for you, or find out in advance if the local animal control will take anything you trap and euthanize them for you.

    (in some places, it's illegal to release anything at all you catch in the same spot, even if it's not a predator on your fowl, of course, how likely it is that someone is watching is pretty debatable!)

    Hope that helps!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  4. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    I agree with the above post. Foxes hunt at night. It will keep returning until all of your chickens are gone. You are going to have to kill it. If you are uncomfortable with that you could call animal control or your sheriff's dept. and they can set up live traps. Foxes are not easy to trap though. We have always had to shoot the ones we have encountered.
     
  5. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    michelle.boyer :

    This is our first year raising chickens. My daughter wanted to do it as part of her 4H project. We started with 11 chickens in a 2 story coop. The bottom level is completely surrounded by a wire mesh (smaller than chicken wire), and the top level is 1/2 wire mesh, and 1/2 enclosed. There are two small doors for the top, and one of the bottom sides are hinged to open. There is no run. We would typically open the bottom up for the chickens to free range during the day. About 7:30pm, everyone would be home and we would close it up for the night. This worked great for about the first 6 weeks. Two weeks ago, a fox came by about 8:30am and disappeared with 5 of our chickens. Since then, we have kept the remaining 6 chickens in the coop with no free range. This morning, my daughter found the fox had gotten one of the top doors open and took off with 2 more chickens. Now we are down to 4. We can solve the door issue of the fox opening the door with a better enclosure. But as a newbie to the chicken world, here are a few questions:
    1. Do foxes typically prey during the day? This guy has struck about the same time both times.
    2. I desperately want my chickens to free range. Does free range mean NO protection and out in the open? Or can it also include a run?
    3. Our coop is currently locate by a row of bushes and trees. I thought that would be a good locations because they seemed to love the shade in there, and it would help to hide them from overhead predators. Am I just giving the fox a good place to hide for his sneak attack? Is it ok to put the coop in direct sun?
    Help help with suggestions. My daugher is heartbroken!!

    I have watched fox hunt during the day and at night they are like most animals just real opportunistic .
    animal control is mostly for domestic or companion animals . wildlife is usually taken care of whoever what your dnr is or fish and game etc . I put my birds under a coupla pine trees for the same reason you did .​
     
  6. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    I live outside city limits, and our sherrif department will come take of wild and domestic animal issues you have.
     
  7. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Durham, NC
    I have a friend who's had a large flock on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for about two years. The birds free ranged every day and the door to the coop was never closed. Imagine my surprise when I visited her and saw several foxes running across nearby fields. I asked her if she'd ever lost any birds. She hadn't lost a single one.

    A couple of weeks ago she rehomed her only roo and a good number of the hens. I think she was down to about ten chickens and a few peeps. Well, guess who showed up.

    Mr. Fox has been coming daily - sometimes twice a day - and absconding with one bird after another. I agree with the poster who referred to foxes as opportunistic hunters. They may be nocturnal creatures, but certainly not exclusively. They will and do hunt by day. And I've read that they're smart enough to learn your daily routine if you've got one. My friend will rehome the remaining birds in her flock because she's not able to build a secure enclosure, and short of killing this fox and creating a predator proof enclosure, there's just not much that could be done to protect them.

    It appears that the single roo (he was big and aggressive) was a fantastic protector. I'm not sure if you're allowed to have roosters where you live, but if so, it's something to think about.

    Good luck. I hope you're able to solve the problem.
     
  8. jjparke

    jjparke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Boise
    I would move the coop away from anything. I pretty much clear cut my backyard because I realized I was just giving predators cover. The animal control people around here told me I didn't have a fox problem I had a human problem and I should protect my chickens better. So I took away the cover and means of safe travel for the little varmints and they haven't been back since.
     
  9. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    Quote:If by this they mean I should trap and dispatch the fox to protect my chickens better, I would tend to agree with them [​IMG]
     
  10. Keara

    Keara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2009
    Vermont
    Love my Critters! :

    I agree with the above post. Foxes hunt at night. It will keep returning until all of your chickens are gone. You are going to have to kill it. If you are uncomfortable with that you could call animal control or your sheriff's dept. and they can set up live traps. Foxes are not easy to trap though. We have always had to shoot the ones we have encountered.

    I lost 9 chickens to a fox at 4pm. Found him still near the barn when I got home from work. Nieghbors call me each time they see him cross thier field to my house, morning , noon, evening, he is out all times of the day. I've had no luck trying to shoot him. Will be putting out a baited trap this week.​
     

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