FOX ALERT - the time of year

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jo40

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FOX ALERT - the time of year
« on: August 04, 2009, 12:05 »
Hello

Very sadly this morning, between 7.30 -  8am we lost 4 of our lovely hens to a fox.
I let them out for a quick mooch before going to work. When I went up to put them back in the coop  :( luckily we didn't loose all of them.

This is the time of year that parent foxes are teaching their young so they are always looking for opportunities to give lessons, and the young to practice hunting.

As a novice hen keeper I am on a steep learning curve, for anyone else who is new to this like me, DO NOT UNDER-ESTIMATE THE FOX and when they are likely to be around.

Another lesson learnt the hard way :( :mad: mad with myself.
Jo

 

   

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hillfooter

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 12:30 »
Sorry to hear about your chx.  Yes you can expect to see country foxes out and about with their cubs in the daytime once the hay season starts.  It's a little late this year where we are due to the bad weather.  We are on a hill and overlook our hay field and it's quite common to see a fox with her cubs hunting among the rows of drying hay for mice and voles teaching the cubs.  It can be fastinating though not so nice when it's your hens.  An few years ago we lost two hens to a fox with cubs in broad daylight when we were just a few tens of metres away.  It could have been worse as the hens shreeking alerted us and the cubs weren't too expert and one of my large Light Sussex hens escaped with just the loss of her tail feathers!  Five years later we've still got her and she's now 10 years old and still looks in great condition.

We used to allow the chx to range over a half acre meadow but after this experience we now keep them behind electric nets and so far we've not lost another.

Be extra vigillent over the next few days as once they know there's easy pickings they'll be back.

I'd really recommend electric nets or fences for those with the space.
Regards
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 00:56 by hillfooter »
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palmcat

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 15:42 »
I feel for you... We suffered a similar attack during the early hours on Friday 31 July!!!
5 out of our 6 chickens were slaughtered, the fox dug under the run (which is 10 feet by 30 feet). Luckily the favourite chicken was spared...but is missing the others. Have just bought 3 replacements today and am keeping them in our 6x4 shed at all times and will only let them out when we are able to keep an eye on them!  As you so aptly put it - dont underestimate the fox!!!   :(

Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 22:57 »
Hello to all. We are about to get our hens - have just put together their coop this evening. How long does the fox -cub day-time training last for? I was thinking they'd be safe in a chicken-escape proof run during the daytime and fox proof it at night, but having read some posts I'm now re-thinking that strategy! although surprised that chiken wire isn't sufficient - would it be if under the run too? and I guess over too? Thank-you, my children and I are looking forward to our new adventure - don't want it to end before it's begun!!

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hillfooter

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 01:33 »
With out knowing your setup location (ie garden, field country or urban its difficult to be precise but the following may help.

Generally chicken wire is frownd on as it is horrible to use and always leaves sharp edges which can be dangerous to your birds.  Welded mesh is far better easier to work with stays flatter in use and can be cut without leaving really dangerous points. 19SWG guage is generally considered to be fox proof and about a 50mm mesh should keep in your chickens and the foxes and most vermin except rats out.  You can preferably make it into a cage avary type of run of if you are going to have it open then it needs to be high and 1.8m is generally accepted unclimbable if there's an outwards facing overhang.  Both should either be buried about 400mm or turned outwards with paving slabs holding it down.  The alternative is to have an electric wire in front of the fence and at a high level if open to prevent a fox climbing it.  Another approach given the space is an electified net and you can find lots of posts on these on this site.  105cms is generally Ok though some, and you can include me in that, would prefer a 122cm net.  Electric nets work very well are easy to move and aren't as unsightly as a large permanent fence.

Re the security of chicken wire.  Although it's regarded as non fox proof I think in a garden situation you'd have to be pretty unlucky to have a desperate fox chew through it in the daytime.  They usually look for easier pickings.

If your hens are in your garden and it has good fences and you are around during the day I don't think you shouldn 't have a problem. I know several people who let their chickens range about the garden in the day though don't leave them on their own for an extended period.  Lock them up in a secure run when you are out and secure them in the house at night and you should be ok but take greater precautions if you have a known local fox problem.
Regards

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jo40

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 08:32 »
Hello

Just wanted to add the area our chickens were in is surrounded by a 6ft fence. We are adjacent to farmland and millions of rabbits so we thought 'why would the foxes bother to climb our fence when there are so many rabbits for easy picking', we were all at home at the time and didn't hear a thing.
I most definitely under-estimated the fox :(
We can see where it took our buff orp :( it scaled the fence obviously without too much trouble.
Jo

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mad mark

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 09:00 »
Hello to all. We are about to get our hens - have just put together their coop this evening. How long does the fox -cub day-time training last for? I was thinking they'd be safe in a chicken-escape proof run during the daytime and fox proof it at night, but having read some posts I'm now re-thinking that strategy! although surprised that chiken wire isn't sufficient - would it be if under the run too? and I guess over too? Thank-you, my children and I are looking forward to our new adventure - don't want it to end before it's begun!!

You need to put a roof, wire mesh or some thing on the top or the foxes will get over and in and yum,yum goodbye chickens. I have a trellis with mesh on and because we have had so much rain I have just bought some expensive pvc sheeting to put on top of that so the run is not a swamp. You will need a small mortgage or a good skip hunt..... Have fun, the eggs are nice though..... 8)
Mad Mark

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nzdunn

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 09:41 »
do you generally think its the absence of fox hunting now that has seen a rise in foxes or where they always there.      Nickyx

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archiesgems

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 09:49 »
I am sure that the absance of fox hunting has a great deal to do with it, I have shot 26 upto now this year and trapped numerous others for people, another thing that is happening is fox releases, not in the big way that you might read about in some of the magazines but people have urban foxes in their gardens and buy these humane traps from ebay, then take them out to the country and let them go, their intentions are good but these foxes don't know how to hunt, we have had them walk up within 10 yards of us and they are a sorry state.


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joyfull

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 09:52 »
Hi Nicky, don't think so as fox hunting still goes on - legally if they have a bird of prey with them - the hounds are only there just to finish the job. Most foxes though are not killed by hunting or game keepers but by cars. The population has exploded especially in urban areas because of rubbish left lying around and also because of stupid people like my father in law who thinks they are lovely and cute and buys dog food and bread for them and every night makes them dog food sandwiches (1 for each of them!!)  >:( >:(.
Sorry Jay but we will have to disagree on the hunting point as round here it still goes on  :)
Joyfullxx
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joyfull

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 09:55 »
Forgot to say when I say fox hunting around here the closest hunt is about 10 miles from me, only ever seen 2 foxes near me about 5 miles away and both were dead on the road. Lamping still goes on in these parts as well!! 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 10:02 by joyfull »

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archiesgems

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 10:05 »
Hi Nicky, don't think so as fox hunting still goes on - legally if they have a bird of prey with them - the hounds are only there just to finish the job. Most foxes though are not killed by hunting or game keepers but by cars. The population has exploded especially in urban areas because of rubbish left lying around and also because of stupid people like my father in law who thinks they are lovely and cute and buys dog food and bread for them and every night makes them dog food sandwiches (1 for each of them!!)  >:( >:(.
Sorry Jay but we will have to disagree on the hunting point as round here it still goes on  :)
Joyfullxx

hehe dogfood sandwiches sounds yummy might bring some to ferry meadows  :tongue2:

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joyfull

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 10:08 »
If thats what you're bringing I think I might turn veggie  :lol: :lol: Lettuce sandwich anybody  :lol:

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anton3181

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Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 10:41 »
Re Fox Alert,

We live in a semi rural area but we have a long garden with houses to only one side and a road to the other with housing ajacent.

Never underestimate the fox. I have seen one sitting in the middle of the lawn at the bottom end of the garden at 10.30 in the morning on a sunday. I suppose its a bit quieter on a sunday but also 8pm in the evning in the summer.

Always try to keep an eye out when you let them out as he's just waiting for his oppotunity. We have 6 foot fences which he clears no problem my run is 10x10x 6 feet high for 4 chickens we have mesh on the roof and corrigated plastic (from wicks about 9) and the run sides is on a bed of 18'' slabs so no burrowing underneath. Always use welded mesh as before we had chickens we lost rabbits in a chicken wire run when we forgot to lock them up for the night it bit straight through the wire.

May i also take this opportunity to thank every one on the forum as i have gathered all the information for chicken keeping from here from housing to runs to pecking order. Whenever i need to find out anything i just look here.

Re: FOX ALERT - the time of year
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 23:15 »
Thank -you everyone. I guess I need to build something pretty sturdy! - shame today someone decided to run straight into me as I was crossing a cross roads on a green light (me that is) and now my car is a gonna!! had the kids in with me but fortunately we are all OK! makes transport to DIY a bit difficult though! the local shop in the village only does small sections of the welded metal type. Does anyone know where I could get big sections of it? - prefeably if they could deliver!!  :) we're in Sussex also thanks for other tips - wickes duely noted.



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