Waiting out a fox?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by joneus, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    I did a search but didnt find quite what I was looking for-

    Anyhow, the local fox has finally discovered my yard. [​IMG] I was out planting tulip bulbs in my front yard this afternoon while my girls were exterminating bugs & spiders from the side of the house. Next thing I knew, they were cackling & scattering like mad. I looked up in time to see a fox barreling into the back yard chasing two of my hens. I dont remember getting to my feet, but I covered the 50' or so faster than I'd ever thought possible, screaming for my dog, Daisy, to "get it!" Bless her labrador heart- she came FLYING by me barking her head off and chasing the [email protected] thing over the fence and into the neighbors yard.

    Everyone survived- shaken, but unscathed. Daisy kept checking both yards while I herded the girls into their run. She even kept trotting back & forth between me and the coop while I finished planting my flowers. I lost a hen- a bantam cochin frizzle named Shizzle, last week to an unknown predator attack. While I was out searching for her, I saw a large orange-ish thing streak across the clearing on the other side of my yard. I couldnt get a good look at it, but now I'm convinced it was a fox, probably the same one I saw today.

    While I dont *like* keeping them penned up all the time, I know they're safest there. I built my coop and run to be everything-I-could-think-of proof, right down to the reinforced hardware cloth, multiple latches on every entry point, a sliding chicken door that only opens from the inside, and the fact that the whole thing is sitting on a 24" thick concrete pad. Between the two structures, there is enough room for the 7 EE's and 4 bantams to be comfortable, even if they're not terribly happy about it. So I CAN conceivably keep them penned up for awhile if I have to.

    That said- is it possible to wait out a fox? How long does that take, do you reckon? Or should I just bite the bullet and call the critter-remover-guy? I live in a residential area, and I've got houses on all four sides, so shooting it really isnt an option and from what I've read, trapping it is unlikely at best.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have red foxes and grey foxes with former visiting almost every night. Most of time they are simply passing thru but occasionally a red fox will attempt to take a chicken roosting at periphery of property. I have dogs as well which is why these are attempts. I managed to observe to recent attempts and saw a consistent pattern indicating the dogs figure highly into strategy the fox uses. This time of year most of my birds are penned up so fox has to pick thru pens to find loose bird. During this process fox watches our centrally located (relative to birds and pens) house for dogs because usually but not always that is where dogs are located during visits. The fox invest effort in areas farthest from house. It tries to grab a bird by feathers then runs quickly away from house looking back over its shoulders at house. The chicken then squawks alerting dogs. It sometimes takes dogs a couple seconds to determine direction of disturbance before quickly running over. If dogs slow to approach, especially because they are on far side of property, then fox may make second attempt. It usually does not take too long for dogs to come barrelling in and more than once they over ran fox with latest incident the fox was actually ran over by dog. That may have been too much of scare for fox since it has not returned for nearly a week.

    Take home point is foxes patrol their range relatively consistently but do not always go for your birds. A dog can greatly impact how and success rate fox has going after chickens. Even when dog is present, so are foxes. Also, seldom is there only on fox patrolling a given area. Another thing is the fox sometimes has its interest in hunting a particular type of critter and may ignore chickens when going after that critter and not all foxes in a given area at a given time are after the same eats,
     

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