There has been a fox around my Chicken run....now what?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cait8876, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. cait8876

    cait8876 Out Of The Brooder

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    We just checked our game camera and saw that there was a fox along the perimeter of the chicken run! The photo is from a week ago, and other 2 cameras else where on the property show a fox a few days before it was by the coop.

    My question is, what should we do now? Ive been letting the chickens out of the run more frequently since their run is just a mud/poop ice skating rink at the moment. Now I'm scared to let them out!

    Should we try to trap the fox?
    We have 4 dogs, they're never unattended outside but we try to have them go around where the chickens coop is and pee from time to time, not sure if that does anything though

    I'm shocked it hasn't been back in the past week since the chickens have be free ranging so much, Ive read that they come back once they know the chickens are there.

    Any words of wisdom? I hate to just cross my fingers and hope for the best everyday...

    here is the little devil at the back corner of our run. Photo was taken at 6:46am, so the automatic chicken door had actually just opened around this time as well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  2. CoopintheWoods

    CoopintheWoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At night, leave on a flashing light outside. I'm not sure about what you could do during the day. Maybe play a loud noise at a frequency only the fox can hear? Good luck!
     
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have any fencing to keep the chickens in specific area or do they free range in the yard? I get pics of coyotes, foxes and bobcats 1-2 times each a week. My chicken yard is surrounded by a 4' high electric net fence, and that has kept the predators at bay. It has a shock level of 8000+ volts (my tester only goes up to 8000, and it hits the high limit with every shock.) I also vary the time of day I let my chickens out. Usually it is the evenings during the work week, but on weekends I it will be morning or mid day etc. Predators will pick up on a strict schedule. I like to keep them guessing.

    My chickens and ducks are cooped up for the winter. They don't like snow or wind, so they wouldn't go outside if I offered it to them. That may help too - as the predators get hungrier as the winter goes on, there is no easy meal of chickens or ducks at my place.

    Here's my latest pics. I really enjoy getting the pics of animals I never see in person.

    [​IMG]
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    This fox was taken 1/1/2017. The trail camera reset the date when I changed the batteries and I did not realize it!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Throw some straw and/or hay and/or wood chips out in the run.

    Trapping a fox is pretty hard and won't keep it's relatives away.
    If you're going to trap, be ready to kill instead of relocating.
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A fox will hunt day or night. The fox that got my daughter's birds was a frequent daytime visitor. They used to see him at all hours of the day often AFTER he got them all. He kept coming back hoping for more. If you allow those birds to run around free, you can expect them to start turning up missing.

    So assuming your run is safe enough, even if the fox is standing on the outside, the short term plan needs to be fixing the mud hole so they can stay safely inside. Any water that falls or accumulates into the run area needs to drain out. If it is just wet as there is nothing that remains and is just bare ground, that is an easy fix, but no water should drain into or be allowed to stand in the run. Get it out of there. After that, it is an easy fix to throw in a deep pile of litter, consisting of coarse GRASS* hay, leaves, pine needles or something similar. Things that will build up and "float" on top of the ground. Something like 4" to 6" deep to start with and build from there as it rots down. Down deep at the ground level it will be wet, but up top where the birds are, it should be dry or only moist after a major rain or snow event.

    * I just checked craigslist and found over 50 entries for grass hay in my local market. Coarse and cheap is OK and actually preferred. You don't want legume hay like clovers or alfalfa for this. The leaves in legume hay make it good quality for livestock, but a poor choice for litter and bedding. The leaves will soak up moisture and stay wet and nasty. Coarse grass hay is mostly round stems of indigestible lignin, so drain like magic and take forever to break down. I was left with about 200 bales of the stuff that had been cut at least a month after it should have been and I can leave those out for a month or so on the ground and in the bale and they don't rot at all. It's almost like they are made of some type of synthetic.
     
  6. IttyBiddyRedHen

    IttyBiddyRedHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We toss in our run as much raked leaves as we can get into it. That was 6 huge tarps full this year. It keeps them out of the mud as well as giving them something to do. They scratch for bugs and eat a lot of the dried brown leaves.

    We get fox here too in SC. I just know to check for fox activity and their scent. We've only had fox attempt to get our birds twice in the 6 years we have had them now.
     

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