Will a Grey Fox kill my hens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sweet_peeps, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. sweet_peeps

    sweet_peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I don't post often but have a question.
    In the past few weeks I have seen grey fox in my yard as though it's a path of theirs.
    I think i've seen 1 or 2 adults and 2 younger ones. I don't know if the male and female
    stay together or i'm just seeing mom with some older kits.

    I lost all but 2 of my girls to 2 roaming dogs in March.
    1 of the remaining was actually attacked and I nursed her back. I honestly didn't think
    she'd make it.
    She had a gash on her back as long, wide and deep as my index finger.
    I used watered down betadine and then triple antibiotic ointment for 10 days every evening.
    But she no longer lays to this day. I think it was a shock to her system and it shut her down.
    They are 3 years old.

    My husband doesn't think the grey fox will bother my 2 remaining girls and i've actually witnessed
    the girls standing there looking as the fox goes through the path and into the woods.
    I always lure them back into their house as I can't bear to see anymore of them torn up.

    So, are my Buff Orpington and Barred Rock too large for the grey fox to mess with?
    Or would a mother fox take that chance to feed her family?
    I say she would.
    I know a red fox would have been at them by now. But i've seen these grey ones about half a dozen times.
    They are much smaller than a red fox.
  2. jhm47

    jhm47 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2008
    We don't have grey fox here, but I'd guess they would tackle a full grown chicken without hesitation, especially if they get hungry. At this time of year there should be plenty of eggs, hatchlings, etc. to keep them satisfied, but I'd be wary of them when fall comes.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  4. sweet_peeps

    sweet_peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Quote:Yes, come fall/winter they will definitely be in lockdown.
    Last winter a red fox ran along their pen first thing in the
    morning for a few days. Then we never saw it again.
    It was truly beautiful but the girls didn't think so.

    Where do you live that there are no grey fox if you don't mind my asking?
  5. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Does a bear **** in the woods?

    He will if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, given the opportunity, almost everything will kill a chicken.
  6. sweet_peeps

    sweet_peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Quote:hahahahaha! Thanks for the laugh and so so true!
  7. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    **** stands for "live" of course!
  8. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yes, she will try, but it will be difficult for her to carry a large hen off. If no one is around, she might choose to eat it right in your yard and call the kids over to join her. If you are there and do nothing, she will carry it off. If you run at her and yell, she will most likely drop the hen (at least in my experience). You can kill her, but another one is likely to come along and make its home in the vacant niche, and you may wind up having to kill fox after fox. Providing your birds with a predator resistant space (nothing is predator proof, except for tight confinement) will help a lot, if well planned. For the past 3-4 yrs or so, ours have been fenced into a 1/3 acre yard, and we have lost no more, not even to foxes or dogs, which had been a problem when we let the birds totally free range.
  9. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    the grey foxes here have taken adult ducks, an adult guinea, adult Jersey Giant roosters and lots of hens...

    they weren't impressed with the size of my big boys.. they said they tasted like chicken and came back for more
  10. sweet_peeps

    sweet_peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Wow-Thanks for all the advice and info.
    I really appreciate it.

    They have an 8x32 ft. pen so for the 2 of them, that's plenty of room.
    They are just spoiled being allowed to roam.

    Now that the fox call the edge of our place home, I will have to keep
    the girls confined.
    I'm sure they'll be annoyed at first but I just don't have the heart to bury
    any more torn apart birds.
    We have been spoiled by the fact that we live at the end of a dirt road
    on the edge of the woods and have never had a problem in 3 years until
    March when the 2 dogs came down for a "little fun".

    They came back 2 days later and at that time I fired off a shot a few yards behind them
    into the ground to scare them and it worked.
    They've never been back.

    I don't however want to shoot anyone's pet unless they harmed my dog.
    And I certainly don't begrudge a wild animal trying to live and find food where it may.
    I realize it's my responsiblity to keep my animals safe and that's what i'll have to do.

    I was just surprised by the fact that they seemed to walk within yards of the girls without
    bothering them and so thought there was a chance they wouldn't.
    But you are all right in the fact that they will take the opportunity especially if food is scarce.

    The hen that was already attacked now just stands there when something scares her.
    She doesn't move. Like she's paralyzed with fear poor girl.

    They've been through enough trauma.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011

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