Opinion - Fox or Raccoon?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Candymom, May 1, 2008.

  1. Candymom

    Candymom In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    Yesterday morning I found my escape artist hen up by my house. As I carried her back to the coop I noticed feathers from my Rhode Island Red scattered about. When I got to the chicken pen I found my Auracana dead on the ground with some bleeding and bruising on her back. The Rhode Island Red was nowhere to be found, but her feathers were everywhere. There was blood and smeared mud on the 5 ft vinyl fence that makes one side of the pen. There were feathers scattered several feet across the pasture on the other side of the pen. So, based on the following - One chicken totally gone with feathers plucked, one chicken dead but not mutilated, several eggs sitting in the nesting boxes untouched - do you think this was more likely to be raccoon or fox? I've got a humane trap out there now, but can't decide what the predator is.
  2. im guessing fox.. how big was the hole taht they got in? was teher any kind of tracks in the mud?
  3. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Songster

    Jan 9, 2008
    Washburn, MO
    Since it looks like one of the birds was carried off, and then eaten nearby, maybe fox? Probably was planning to come back to get the other one. No prints or fur mixed in with the feathers?
  4. Candymom

    Candymom In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    No prints at all. I think the only mud came from stepping in the water dish. There was no hole at all, whatever it was came over the fence and there is no top on the pen. I've had chickens out here for 5 years with no losses, I'm right in suburbia (except for the 3 acre pasture) and got complacent about security with such a long hassle free time. I'm just sick about it and am going to fence and top the area with chain link now.
    By the way, the single surviving chicken has a gash on the top of her head. Don't know if it is from the predator or from her frantic escape out of the pen.
  5. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    If it came over the fence I doubt it was a fox they are not climbers.But it could be coon,opposum or even a owl that flew in.
  6. how high of a fence is it? i knew someone up here that had a fox clear a 6 foot fence.. and got stuck inside and they shot it.. it could also be a owl or hawk?
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    When I had a fox attack my birds, they would kill one at a time and carry it off and then come back. They did this all through the night until they had taken 4 hens. They had come back the next morning to grab that 4th hen and got her, but as it was carrying her off, we got him.

    It was just my experience, I haven't dealt with coons.

  8. Candymom

    Candymom In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    Well, the fence comes up to about my shoulder, maybe a little higher, and I'm 5'4", so I guess the fence is a little over 4 feet - ish.
    I'm thinking not an owl or hawk. There were down feathers stuck on the top edge of the fence in a couple of places, looked like they had been wet when the got stuck. There were mud smears on both sides of the fence. They could have been paw prints if you squint, but not even clear enough to say how big of an animal or what it's feet were like. I wouldn't say they were wing marks though.
    Raccoons wouldn't have left the eggs alone would they? And would they have taken the chicken? At first I was really leaning towards it being a raccoon, but the more I read, the more I think it was a fox. That makes me even more nervous. A fox might come back during the day, right? Do you think a fox would kill the birds without mutilating it? Maybe planning on coming back later to get the other dead one? The lone survivor spent yesterday and today in the same pen, but I've been locking her up at night.
    I just hope I catch whatever it was soon and I hope I can keep Prudence safe. My kids just wailed when I told them about their own chickens. It just about broke my heart to hear them. I don't know what I'd do if Prudence got killed too. We've lost too many beloved pets in the last year, I don't think my kids can take any more loss!
    Thanks for letting me vent! I'm so angry and upset and trying to not burden the kids any more with this.
  9. I don't think it was a fox either- they usually remove the kill, bury it nearby and come back the next night to repeat the process. They like their meat aged underground and will create caches on a scent trail, especially when feeding young.
  10. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Fox hunt day and night and they carry their prey off. And they will take as many as they can get. I lost 30 hens while I was on vacation last year and a neighbor was taking care of them. Mine were free ranging at the time so I really don't know about the fence climbing. Do you hear fox barking at night? Or see them about in the day? Fox are very adaptive and dwell in urban areas quite often so it could be a fox.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: