Oh darn, a fox just attacked one of my hens...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NHchicks, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    I think the dog scared it off before it killed her completely, but she's panting with her eyes half closed and standing on the edge of the field where we found her, there are a few piles of her feathers around, one is huge. I'm not seeing blood spots. If the fox punctured the skin, would there be blood spots?

    Also, if a fox is attacking at 1 p.m., could it be rabid? Are they noctural animals?

    My husband is out of town, I wonder if I should have my 16 yr. old shoot it. I don't want him to, but my husband said have him do it. YUCK.

    She was one of our 2 yr. old hens.

    Will she recover? I'm thinking maybe the fox did internal injuries.

    UGH. I'm sick.
  2. spiritdance

    spiritdance Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2010
    I'd be worried about the internal injuries, too, but she could just be shocky. Can you take her inside to a darkened area and get her comfortable temperature-wise for a while?Offer food and water and just let her be for a bit to see if she snaps out of it. That's a traumatic experience for her and she may just need to feel safe for a bit to calm down again. As for rabies, foxes can carry the disease, but females will also hunt in the daytime and get more brazen when they have kits. Takes a lot of protein to feed those hungry mouths. The thing is the fox now thinks of your place as a ready-made buffet, so you need to be hyper-vigilant until you can resolve the issue. I am always conflicted about shooting predators, especially during birthing season, but I have a lot invested in my chickens both emotionally and financially, so I can't really afford to tolerate a bold predator. You'll have to make that call for yourself, but be prepared for more losses if you don't remove the fox.
  3. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I'll make the call let your son shoot it as mentioned he will return. Sure there's more but that one knows where you live. Protect your live stock there's no shortage of foxes. I'd probably shoot it & have it mounted. They make a great mount.
  4. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    7L Farm, actually the shooting was for the injured hen, not the fox. Believe me, with all the woods around here, we'd never be quick enough to get a shot at that thing.

    But in the end, the 16 yr. old said nah, he didn't want to do that. I'm kind of glad because it shows he has a sensitive feather somewhere - ha.

    That's encouraging spiritdance, maybe just maybe she'll revive, but I kinda doubt it. I thought about moving her into the coop on a towel for a stretcher - I hate to move her if it's painful. She took a step (when a curious hen stepped right on her back!!!) and it looked like she limped.

    One of the amazing things is to watch the attitudes of the other hens, esp. two of them who keep coming by to check how she is doing. One of them, after it first happened, just walked over and stared at her for a couple minutes. I had heard that because chickens are so social living in flocks, they are affected when something happens to their flock mates. This particular hen was the mean and bossy hen of the group, and she often pecked the others. But it's the ones she pecked that are staying around her most.

    And yes, this fox may decide to come back for a quick bite, but my dog is now on high alert. There's no job she takes more seriously than keeping her property critter-free. She had been inside at the time the fox came, but started whining to get out when she heard the commotion, and chased the fox off.

    I have 2 mama hens with combined 9 new chicks. One mama hen sat on top of her chicks, they were in a safer area. The other hen ran away, and her chicks went ducking for cover. It took close to an hour before all of those chicks had come out of hiding and returned across the field to their mother hen.

    Better go check on her again. I talk to her. I hope she goes one way or the other before too long. I don't want her to suffer, but I just haven't gotten to the stage of being able to cull yet...
  5. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not unusual for daytime fox attacks. I shot 3 last summer all right around lunchtime and while I was in the yard.
  6. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Wow, I thought foxes were smarter than that than to stand out there in complete daylight and let you shoot them...

    My hen is in the coop - we moved her onto a towel and stretchered her into the coop so she can be safe and warm while she hopefully recuperates. Or I may go out in the morning and find she expired, and if so, then that's for the best too. I gave her some boiled egg yolk, and she seemed glad to take a bite or 2, then would fall back asleep. I imagine that sleeping for them is like pain meds for us.

    This whole thing is gut wrenching. It's the first time a critter has attacked in broad daylight like that. They're free rangers and roam all over, and usually the dog keeps everything at bay. Now I'll get to be a nervous wreck, and so will they. It just takes all the fun out of raising chickens.

    Bleh I feel like getting rid of the whole flock, it's so hard when something happens to them... This hen was like a dog, whenever you were outside she'd follow you around, complaining all the time, constant chronic complaining. In the mornings when I'd let them out of the coop at 6:30, she'd be yelling and having a fit, flinging herself up against the coop door to get out.

    Maybe the reason why she got zapped and not the others is because she was tamer than the rest... whaa.
  7. NightingaleJen

    NightingaleJen Out Of The Brooder

    I'm sorry your hen was hurt, especially since you like her so much! [​IMG] It's possible, though, as spiritdance said, that she's just experiencing a great deal of stress right now and is in shock. spiritdance gave you great advice: keep your hen warm and in a dark, comfortable, quiet place with food and water at the ready. Just keep an eye on her. She could well be fine. (I used to raise parrots, so know a little about birds.)

    I also agree with shooting the fox if you see it around again. The thief!
  8. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    Offer a bounty and I bet your son takes out the fox! Hope the gal makes it!
  9. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might want to look into electric fence for the yard perimeter. You have been found and he'll be back until you run out of birds. Don't worry about the dog, it will learn like the fox and both will simply steer clear of the fence. If the fox gets hit hard enough, he will relocate himself and save you a bullet.
  10. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    MR. FOX WAS BACK AGAIN TODAY. Everyone here was right. He came looking for another snack and this time bit the tail feathers off one of my mama hens with 5 chicks. Then the dog clued in, came out from under the cool bed indoors, and chased the fox off.

    I think I heard it is illegal to kill foxes in New Hampshire. I'll have to check up on that.

    I know there was a fox family living under a neighbor's porch last year, but they never bothered us. Now all of a sudden we're in the fox scope.

    This thing is going to keep coming back, and I can't sit here and stand guard all day. I'm considering giving the chickens away until this problem is cleared up, but I'd lose my entire flock.


    I wonder how expensive an electric fence is.

    Edit: the other hen is still recuperating. She came out of the coop this morning and drank a bunch of water. Then she went back in and I think laid an egg in the nest. She's been standing, sitting, sleeping in the nest all day so far. She doesn't look great, but maybe she'll recuperate.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011

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