What "tries" to dig under a fence but keeps moving to a new spot?

DianeS

Songster
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
276
7
123
Oregon
I came home yesterday to find that something had started to dig under my run fence. The "something" had started a hole, abandoned it, started another, abandoned it, etc. Each hole had successfully reached the inside of the run, but was only maybe 1-2 inches in diameter and the claw marks were fresh-looking enough that it seems the "something" hadn't even tried to get its head through the hole and into the run.

The "something" hadn't run into rocks or anything else that would have prevented the hole from being made bigger. No paw prints were left. The claws were rather close together. If it were a dog, it would have been the size of a small terrier - like a rat terrier or a Jack Russel. But dogs like that have enough determination to keep digging in one spot until they succeed, in my experience. What about a stray cat? Would a cat have given up on a hole and started another? Fox? Raccoon? (But I think a raccon would have just unlocked the gate...)

My chickens were spooked but not injured. A little more flighty than usual for the rest of the day, that's all.

Any thoughts on what it could have been? We have all the standard suburban predators here - dogs, cats, foxes, raccoon. (And yes the run is now more fortified to prevent digging along the fenceline.) Thanks in advance!
 

LadyinRed

Songster
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
303
5
121
Dog. Probably one that was too fat to get through the holes made, got frustrated and then moved to try digging a new spot. At least it would have to have been a not so bright dog.
 

darkmatter

Crowing
11 Years
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
2,173
67
279
I've had that same multiple dig testing you describe------it was a fox. I once was sitting very quietly under a cedar tree in my lawn chair (Ok, I was sipping a beer) and watched the fox check out the fencing and do test digs. The chickens apparrently had seen this often enough, they didn't seem all that disturbed by it.

36435_slyfox.jpg
 

schmije

Songster
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
609
5
139
Peoria, IL
I've had dig marks in several locations before, but ours were never as big as yours. It happened around a time when we were catching lots of raccoons, so we assumed that's what did it. I don't know if it was a single animal moving around or multiple animals digging in different places. We ended up catching 7 coons over about 2 weeks. All of our incidents occurred during the night. Did yours happen during the day or night?
 

Ema

Songster
9 Years
Jun 4, 2010
1,960
12
143
N. Ontario CANADA
I have those around my run fence too. A fox was the culprit, however my chickens are not out at night so dig as he may he will get nothing when he comes by to gain quick access. during the day day my dogs are outside in their own pen and they scare everything away with their noisy barking and jumping at the fence tactics...lol...by the way I have refilled holes around the run and the darn thing just keep coming back and digging elsewhere. Can't wait till DH gets back next week so he can take care of that.
 

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
6,026
39
263
Northeast Texas
Armadillos dig around stuff all the time, looking for bugs & such in the ground. I had one dig into a chicken pen and then left out the same hole after he scrounged in there awhile.
 

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