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jomaxsmith

Fox attacks - a list of what happened?

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Close call Lorax. I've seen a big fox jump a 5' 9" wall with a good foot to clear, so you need something more secure than a 6' wall. We ran an electric strand 9" above ours with an earth line against the top surface of the wall. You said there are places it can climb outside to get an easier jump and these must be improved substantially. There is a distinct possibility this is an illegal urban fox release. In which case it will be back at any time of the day and won't be scared off.

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Ditto beantree, a fox jumps over next doors six foot fence like it's not even there! They are easily as agile as a cat with the strength of a wild dog, scary combination.

I have seen the electric fence topper on flyte so fancy so maybe that's what you'll have to do.

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Thanks both, so much, for your replies. Will look at that electric fencing. What's an illegal urban fox release? I mean I understand the words but what is that practically?

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People have been know to call a humane fox catcher who catches a fox from an urban environment and releases it in the county side. I think it is a cruel practice, no consideration is given to to the fact the fox may have a litter to feed! urban foxes and country foxes are totally different! I am not a fan of foxes and would want to kill anything that tries to get to my girls but I think it is a totally inhuman practice!!! Rant over!!!

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Interesting. It sooo didn't look like a country fox. I do live rurally but very close to a town so maybe, also, it found its way over? Lots of people near me have chickens and next door's totally free range and hers were fine. I have to say the whole thing was ODD.

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I live 10 miles from Central London and saw my first day time fox last week....bowling down a main road at 8-30am...couldn't believe it! Was terrified in case he was making his way to my garden as I'm the only one who has chickens in the vicinity:((

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Morning - Not seen a fox for over a year, then found the clear rain cover shredded to ribbons by their small house on both sides and full of small round teeth holes (photo available but not sure how to upload to the site). Girls seemed perfectly normal. A neighbour was not so lucky - lost both of theirs while out unsupervised over the weekend.

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Ach. Wake up call! I'm glad your girls got away but sorry for your neighbour. No more fox sightings here so far but am far from complacent..

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My first post...reading this thread has given me a little solace over recent events.

 

We've had hens for 4 years. The first two, Bella and Cheryl, arrived with us at the same time as the Eglu and had lovely lives. They looked after me when I had a torrid time with depression and even thinking about them brings a tear to my eye. Bella went first, peacefully in her sleep we think and we were so worried that Cheryl's loneliness would be too much so we recruited another two the family, Martha and Rosa. Rosa had a sad short life, we still don't know what took her, leaving Cheryl and Martha alone. Then Cheryl succumbed to old age, and we had a solo chicken again. So off I went and recruited another 3, Persephone, Hermione and Laura Trott (she was on her bike if you went near her...which is a dumb reason for a name, I know!) Beautiful birds who have been thriving over the past 6 months.

 

In all 4 years we've never had a fox incident. Our garden has fences that are 6 feet or higher and concrete at the base. The hens were in a run, and then had the Eglu run and the Eglu within that. We felt safe. We relaxed. At around 5am on Tuesday my wife heard what with hindsight was a mercifully short scuffle. Instinct told her something was wrong. She looked out and shouted, and the fox dropped Persephone and ran off. She didn't catch sight of where the fox exited the garden. I still can't really understand how it got in or out, unless it got in via a long jump from a neighbouring shed and got out on sheer adrenaline. I went out to survey the damage. Putting the story together, it looks like Laura Trott was killed first at the back of the garden. We think she'd elected to free range, as she sometimes did. We kept meaning to raise the fences to stop her, but it was also kind of nice that she did this. I initially thought she'd been taken for food, but I found her after a more careful search last night. There had obviously been an attack in the henhouse, as there was evidence, but Hermione was on the patio and Martha and Persephone were in the flower bed, all sadly (or perhaps for the best) dead. So that means the fox had got over the 4 foot fence, which I guess is no stress if it can get over an 8ft plus fence. Why the bodies were dispersed in the way we found them, I don't know.

 

We have a dog. I "mark" the garden. But this was a determined fox and it wasn't enough. We'd got lazy about closing the Eglu run up at night, so the birds could roam freer in the light mornings. That could have saved us.

 

I will never relax again. There is so much sadness in the lives of chickens in this world, I feel it's my duty to look after any hens who are part of my family as if they were my children. I failed them this time, and I am incredibly sorry, but I gave those ladies all the love I have and I will learn my lesson and, when the pain diminishes enough for new hens to join the team, I will defend them with everything I have and I will spend the weeks ahead, while I come to terms with things, building defences that give me more confidence. When we lose a bird I write them a letter, explaining how much they meant to me. Soppy, I know. I also know I don't want to write any more letters.

 

All I can say really is that as chicken keepers, we must always be vigilant. I think this is a lesson we all learn once.

 

Sorry for the long ramble...but it helps.

 

Andrew

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I'm very sorry to hear of your experience, and hope you will feel able to get some more hens in due course. This can happen to anyone, so don't blame yourself - we've all taken risks and sometimes we get away with it. The golden rule is that if a cat could get in, then a fox can - they can climb and jump with agility.

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A fox has taken my favourite rescue girl...we only had her a month and last week she went down the woods that back onto the garden...but today at 4 o'clock in the afternoon with 8 noisy children in the garden with the girls as they free ranged it sneaked in and took Orinoco...the children just heard one squark and then we found the feathers...

 

With all that noise I thought they were pretty safe....but when I took the dog down the woods there was a fox (with half a tail ) just standing looking at me and didn't even move until we got really close....I saw it in the garden in the middle of the day at the start of the week but as it is quite small for a cat and lacking most of its tail I thought it was a cat.....

 

At least she had a month of freedom...... :(

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Male urine and male hair acts as a deterrent as foxes are territorial and they tend to keep away. ( only male urine and hair topped up regular though) using females will encourage them as they can smell pheromones and will inspect the smell.

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We regularly laid a trail of male urine along the boundary of our garden Firescorpion. Stopped doing it after the third fox strike!

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I'm sorry to hear that? We used to have a fox regularly visit the garden until I tried the hair and urine trick now I only see it go a few doors down and it leaves us alone? Must just be lucky? Thank God I would Hate one of my girls to go. We had next doors cat jump in the garden the other day when the girls were out roaming, it won't make that mistake again, they went for the cat!!! Never seen a cat run so fast. Lol. Chickens ain't so Chicken.

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I'm afraid that you have probably just been lucky, Firescorpion. Hair/urine may deter the fox, opinions differ on that, but if he or she sees the chance to get a chicken nothing short of weld mesh or electric fencing will stop them.

 

My guess would be that the fox still visits your garden but it's after dark and you don't see him.

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Don't mind foxes visiting after dark as girls safely locked away then. Does urine and hair work for anyone else???? Or am I the only weird one peeing in the garden? Lol ;-)

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I'm sorry for your loss too Andrew. I think that, whenever something like this happens, by its very nature we think "what else could we have done". My friend's mum has 8ft fences with electric wire over the top. She's lost a dozen hens in the last few months.

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I can scarcely believe it but as I was writing that post, it's almost certain all our chickens were lying dead.

 

This morning at about 4am, I heard one solitary 'cluck' which I thought was odd as it was a bit early for them. I did think about getting up to check, but in that half asleep hazy way that crosses your mind for a moment and then you forget about it. Clearly or I'd have checked when I got up at 5am and I didn't. Bizarrely, I posted on here (isn't that weird?) replying to Andrew.

 

My husband usually feeds the chickens so I had no idea they'd been killed til later as I was doing the school run. Amazingly he kept it from the children and me until I came home from work this lunch time and told me.

 

I am so upset. I feel like I should have got up at 4am. We had started locking them in their Eglu Cube after we spotted a fox a few months ago, but they make SUCH a noise at 5am to be let out and given that we'd spotted the fox at 7am anyway (i.e. when they would usually be let out into their WIR). Anyway, we feel completely like we didn't protect them because WE DIDN'T.

 

So: what happened? WIR, concrete under the boundaries, six foot high sides (higher in parts). But, crucially, a bit of garden trellis that had been behind it blew against the run, basically making a ladder for the fox.

 

Devastated. Not sure whether to get some more immediately, or wait, or what. You just don't realise how much part of your lives they are until they're gone.

 

:cry:

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That is incredibly bad luck Lorax. Clearly you did your best to give them a secure environment but the opportunist fox took immediate advantage of a gust of wind.

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Oh Lorax you poor thing. When I had a fox attack a few years ago I got more straight away. I couldn't be without them :(

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It's sad to hear of more stories of lost hens. To update my tale after a couple of months, we've built a fully enclosed galvanised mesh walk in run, which contains a second hand cube. Last weekend we collected our 6 ex-batts from BHWT and they are settling in nicely. The featherless and fearful condition they're in makes me sad, but after only a few days we can already see the difference in them as they start to become chickens rather than egg producers, and it's wonderful to see. So I take this opportunity to welcome Ariadne, Delilah, Gloria, Madison, Sienna and Taylor to the family.

 

The previous classic Eglu is being passed to my in-laws so they can start to keep chickens, and they are planning on rehoming some commercial layers too.

 

I try to think that as a result of 4 lost and sadly missed lives, 6 birds will have a new start with us, and 3 with my in-laws, and I'm more motivated than ever to spread the word about ex-batts. So I like to think or Laura Trott, Martha, Persephone and Hermione as my little martyrs in that sense.

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Not at all - we got them from the BHWT rehoming day in Bishop's Stortford (on the Hertfordshire/Essex border). It was great to see so many being rehomed and lots of children getting involved too.

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