Advice needed due to fox. :-(

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obayshelties
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Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by obayshelties » 15 Jan 2014, 19:03

HI,
So we had our first chicken deaths most likely due to fox. (first chicken "lost" yesterday but no signs, second lost today with scattered feathers). Daytime....

Our chickens have a very secure chicken run which houses their coop. It is 8 feet tall and covered and has strong mesh sides with mesh aprons to prevent digging under. Hopefully this is 99.9% fox proof. They are in this at night and when we are away. But we like to let them out during the day in a larger area. This area is fenced but it is not fox proof. How can we make this more secure. I have never used electric fencing so am unsure how to put it up or if it would work for this area? Any advice would be helpful.
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Also how would we go about finding out who could trap/dispose of foxes and how do they catch them? ( you can pm me if this is not allowed) I am in West sussex nr Petworth.

Thanks,
Bernadette

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Henwife » 15 Jan 2014, 21:57

Phone your local hunt kennels to find out about trapping & shooting foxes if you don't know an obliging farmer. Electric fencing comes in 50m lengths with poles. I see you have outdoor electrics which means mains power is a definite option. So long as the bottom, non electrified string, is kept taut it doesn't matter too much if the top electric one is slack. Initial outlay for fence & energiser (and possibly battery) is high, but it works.
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by laffinfowl » 15 Jan 2014, 22:26

Sorry to hear about you losing birds to the Red fella,they are a bloody nuisance when they strike and you can be guaranteed it,ll be back for more,by coincidence i used to live in the area that you,re in.
You need to contact maybe the secretary of the Chiddingfold and Leconfield hunt,he/she should be able to put you in touch with someone who can take care of your problem fox,there are a couple of local gamekeepers in the surrounding area and hopefully one of them should oblige(a bottle of scotch would not be refused if they are successful ;) )
Best of luck with it and let us know how you get on.

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Lindsay
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Lindsay » 15 Jan 2014, 23:17

Lovely autumn colours :)

Sorry to hear of your loss. I only use electric netting - no solid runs. It is off the mains, and (so far) has done a great job. The only fox victims I've had this year have been two of my ducks. I had a senior moment and thought I'd shut them up, and I hadn't ... Now they are all safely behind the fence. One of the good things about using electricity as a barrier is that even if you have lots of power cuts, the foxes learn from experience, and you can get away with a couple of nights without the wires being live. Also, if you are getting on a bit (as I am) swinging your legs up and over the fence is really good exercise - I can't be bothered fiddling around with untying bits to get in and out. I spray underneath with glyphosate every few weeks to keep the fence clear of the ground.

If you do run it off the mains, be sure to warn people - especially young children.

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by brooksidepoultry » 16 Jan 2014, 08:35

Lovely set up - & there's loads of flipping foxes by us at present (fortunatley no kills yet) x
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obayshelties
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by obayshelties » 16 Jan 2014, 11:33

So should I use electric netting to make an extra area around the main pen? Does the netting keep the chickens in the area or just the fox out? Sorry to be dense about it! I just want to give them more area than the secure pen if I can. Thanks for the info so far. It really helps. Any more suggestions welcome!

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drfish
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by drfish » 16 Jan 2014, 11:57

In all honesty, that's not a bad sized run from the look of what's in it. I wouldn't be too fussed about leaving them in there all day. Especially this time of year, when Mr Fox is looking for anything he can find, and young foxes are taking chances.

As said above though, if he's been once with success, you can guarantee he'll come again and again until he's finished what he started.

Are you sure it's a fox though? Foxes usually go for full wanton destruction, and come back for the bodies. It's unusual for a fox to only kill one and make off with it when there's loads of others to kill as well. :-k

I'd be more inclined to suspect an aerial threat.
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Lindsay
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Lindsay » 16 Jan 2014, 13:04

obayshelties wrote: Does the netting keep the chickens in the area or just the fox out?
That depends on the breed, and the individual hens. Large fowl like Brahmas are almost certainly going to stay penned, whereas smaller flightier ones could hop over (or Leghorns ](*,) ). And a determined broody might escape.

From the look of your hens, I'd guess they'd stay inside, as they seem to be quite large. Mine don't seem to be too affected by getting a shock - feathers insulate, I suppose. If you go down that route, get the tallest fence you can find. I've also found that clipping wings makes no difference to my escapees.

As DrF says, it could be an aerial attack, but it could be a fox that was disturbed. I've yet to find a defence from buzzards, but they are quite easy to spot if they are hanging around.

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by drfish » 16 Jan 2014, 13:45

A full sized golden eagle model might just about deter a buzzard. And the chances of attracting golden eagles is somewhat slim unless you're in the highlands of Scotland. Other than that though, CD's, mirrors etc. Anything that can affect their vision or focus.

I had a couple of hens go missing over a few days without trace last year, and have put that down to buzzards or other BOP. We usually get a few early on in the year circling above the hill I live on, waiting for unsuspecting young rabbits and such I'd imagine. The odd Kestrel and Goshawk (I think) also grace us. I didn't have any overhead cover at the time, and it certainly wasn't a ground attack unless it managed to carry them off in a carrier bag or something.
Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy - P. J. O'Rourke (thanks Jessie)

It's amazing that people can believe everything is predestined but they still look both ways when crossing the road - Stephen Hawking

1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

And a lot of Ibuprofen.

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by laffinfowl » 16 Jan 2014, 16:55

And conversly i,ve had single birds taken just like yours by Charlie and the rest of the flock left untouched...........one was snatched from under my nose literally but i managed to persuade him to drop the bird(who survived after some home surgery) courtesy of a large piece of 2x4 that happened to be close to hand ,that fox was trapped a couple of nights later,was very hungry and mangy and thats why it was so daring.
Don,t convince yourself it was an aerial attack is all i,m saying really as fox habits don,t follow any strict guidelines especially where opportunists are concerned,they will grab and run have no doubt. Keep all options open .Local gamekeepers will know whats giving trouble in the area so they are well worth consulting.

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Woodland Hen » 17 Jan 2014, 10:35

I had used electric fence successfully for about 4 years, but just before Christmas I had a fox get through it and kill loads. As laffinfowl says they will take just one bird, particularly if it's day time or the birds are free range as yours were. When they are confined you are more likely to get the mad killing spree.
You could put up the electric fence a few foot inside your existing fence and beech hedge giving the chooks plentry of room, but it will cost a lot for the purchase of the fence and the energiser you need to run it. If you have mains electric it's much easier to use a mains energiser rather than battery, you will get more power which you would need for a large fence and of course you don't need to look out batteries going flat. Remember to situate the energiser somewhere you can switch it off outside the pen so you don't need to climb the live fence!
The fence needs to be sited away from things a fix could climb up into and jump over. A fox could easily jump the elec fence but the idea is the sniff round it first, get the shock and that scares them away. Once they know they can't get in theyvwill probably try less.

Easiest solution would be to keep them in the run and only let them out when you are out there with them.

And finally as the fox now knows where they are make double double sure your run is secure, check for signs of digging. You could even run a strand of electric wire around the base.
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obayshelties
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by obayshelties » 17 Jan 2014, 13:58

Thanks guys... that gives me a lot to think about. I am pretty sure it was a fox because I saw feathers close to the front fence, along the middle of the chicken enclosure and then near the back fence. I guess he come in one way, grabbed it and carried it over the other fence. In many ways it was lucky he could get that chicken out or the others would have been killed as well. :-( He could also have been disturbed as the dogs and I were only out there 1/2 hour before and then out again 1/2 hour later! It was such a quick period of time.
That is why it is so disturbing because I would say I was "around". My house is only 20 yards or so away! If I only let them out when I was physically next to them I would never get anything done and they wouldn't be quick to want to go back in after only 1/2 hour out! They are stubborn things now that they love free ranging. :-)
Such a dilemma especially just when I thought we had it all figured out! LOL

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Lindsay
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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Lindsay » 17 Jan 2014, 17:10

Woodland Hen wrote:I had used electric fence successfully for about 4 years, but just before Christmas I had a fox get through it and kill loads.
Yikes! How did it get in? Maybe I have been too relaxed, but it's been wonderful not having that worry about the birds' safety.

I've just been round the fence checking - 6000 volts. And I take back what I said in my earlier post about hens being insulated. I put one of my 'feral' pullets in with the flock, and she tried to push through the holes in the netting :o I don't think she'll be trying that again, poor thing.

We've had a big dog fox coming round through the night for a couple of weeks, and having a look. Luckily two of our terriers can fit through the cat flap, and even luckier, we have no close neighbours to be disturbed by the barking.

I read that Wildybeest says that most people have problems in the summer - presumably when the cubs need feeding - but with us, it is always in winter. Perhaps there are more small animals to be caught in France in the hot weather :-k

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Woodland Hen » 17 Jan 2014, 20:31

Hi Lindsay, it's a mystery. The fence was on, but on a battery not mains, it was late afternoon, he must have pushed under it or possibily jumped it although nothing to climb on close by. He didn't get out again, he killed 11 birds, about half in the pen and half in the house, they had probably just started going to bed. In all the madness in the house the pop hole must have got knocked down and shut the fox in there, so at least we caught it. It was a healthy reasonable sized fox, didn't, look hungry or desperate, but I had had a couple of the free rangers disappear the week before so guess it just learned chickens were worth a bit of effort.

I will go back to using the elec fence this year as it had worked so well in the past, but I know know it's not 100 percent, but it still think a really good option for making large and moveable pens.
Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Pencilled and Partridge Wyandottes, 24 cows, 10 sheep, 3 horses, a cat, a dog..........always knackered!

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Re: Advice needed due to fox. :-(

Post by Lindsay » 17 Jan 2014, 23:57

As you say, at least you caught it, but an awful sight to find :(

You probably do this anyway, but have you checked if the fence is working properly? We have a testing thingy, and regularly go round to measure the current. I've been surprised a couple of times, and found that someone has been through the gateway, and not connected the wires properly and/or has not told me that they switched the fence off :roll:

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