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jomaxsmith

Fox attacks - a list of what happened?

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Lost my trio to fox last Wednesday, my mum said that the coop was open (eglu classic) and the run was open too, they had been for 3 years, we never see a fox in this area (built up area). I was on holiday at the time. Mum told me she heard a scream (possibly willow the sablepoot as she was very vocal) but didn't think of it until the morning, she saw the fox sitting on top of the shed roof attacking neighbour's kitten who sadly didn't survive.

 

RIP to longest owned chick, Nutmeg the frizzle, and 2 younger hens, saffron the Wyandotte and willow. And the poor kitten.

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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.

 

Ah that's nice to hear elliottauk...we did the rehoming from a farm in Essex so it would have been your girls we took, there are three teams from BHWT and then all the girls are devided up between Kent, Essex and herts. So glad to hear they are doing well , it's nice to get a follow up. Well done you for giving those special ladies the chance af a peaceful retirement :clap:

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The past few hours have been horrendous! I went to lock up the chickens for the night at 4:30pm to discover that part of the Chicken Fencing had been knocked down...and then it struck me, a fox must have broken into the hen's free ranging area! I lost 2 Miss Pepperpots (bodies found) and 1 Gingernut Ranger is missing presumed dead. Thankfully, 5 hens have been found alive and are locked safely in their Eglu Cube; one of them was sitting in the middle of next door's lawn, 3 were eventually found in my own garden and 1 hen was found in the Eglu with the door closed (I have no idea how that came to be?!). I spent the past few hours searching my large garden for the missing hen but to no avail. The chickens were okay at 3:30 when I left to do my weekly shop at Tesco's; I dropped today's eggs off at my next door neighbour's doorstep before I left for the supermarket. I informed the same neighbour of the fox attack and was absolutely outraged when he advised me that he would look for the missing chicken in his back garden tomorrow morning!!!! For the past year, his family have had 6 eggs a week off me and he can't be bothered to have a quick look in his back garden (being a fit 42 year old man, his only excuse must be absolute selfishness!).

I blame myself for the hens plight this afternoon. I have a 2 metre walk in run but preferred to free range the hens in an area fenced off by Omlet chicken fencing; I thought the walk in run was too confining! I will monitor the 5 remaining hens over the next 48 hours to see if they are okay but they will be kept in the Run indefinitely. This has truly been a Black Friday!

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That's awful to hear. Also made me think because I left my girls in EXACTLY the same situation for an hour or so this afternoon. I think I'll go back to only letting them FR when I'm home.

 

That is also incredibly selfish of your neighbour. I'd have said 'if you're not going to look now you'd better let me in'.

 

At least you got to some of your girls and can keep them safe in their WIR. Make sure it's totally secure now because the fox will be back.

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Thanks mullethunter.

 

Sadly, one of the hens succumbed overnight......3 dead hens and one missing! I have let my chickens free range from dawn to dusk for the past 12 months because to me it seemed the natural thing to do! I have been lucky up to yesterday's attack. I need to rethink the free ranging strategy.

 

The next door neighbour should enjoy the eggs I gave him yesterday as they will be the last he gets from me!

 

I have absolute empathy with everyone within this thread whom have lost their chickens due to Fox attacks!

 

John D.

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I buried the 3 chickens in an area they used to free range in. I haven't located the missing chicken, though I still smell the scent of chicken death! The morning after the attack, 2 chickens had to be encouraged to leave the Eglu, thankfully all 4 remaining chickens are eating and appear to be over the ordeal. I have laid some fresh wood chippings in their walk in run to distract them. They will remain in the walk in run throughout winter; though I must admit it does not feel right to confine them in that small space. The good news is that I'm collecting 2 eggs daily; given that I was previously getting 3-4 eggs daily from 8 chickens I'm sort of pleased about that.

 

I have ordered another 3 Gingernut Rangers to bring my flock to lucky 7! I am wiser for the event.

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A sad tale indeed Chepstow John. Every time I read of a fox attack it reminds me of the three in quick succession we had a few years back. The memory of dying chickens and feathers scattered about never leaves unfortunately.

 

Remember that you will need to introduce the new hens slowly, so you will need to keep them separate but in sight of each other for a while. We generally do that for two weeks at least and have just introduced three to four. Problem you will have is the small run and the existing four fighting to preserve it for themselves. Ours were introduced into a large secure enclosure so they had room to run away. We also had feeders and drinkers all over the place.

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I agree, I have just introduced two new girls to three old timers, all in all it took about 5 weeks and so far I have not had any problems. Plenty of space, food and water and some distractions are essential.

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Close call for our girls this week. Mr Fox took his chances whilst we popped indoors briefly whilst the chooks were free ranging. He caught Jabba The Cluck but as thie drama unfolded in front of my husband and friend, they chased the fox whilst Jabba frantically pecked at her attacker. Jabba was dropped and Mr Fox ran for his life. The other two hens were apparently hysterical and Jabba in an almost comatosed state with shock. Having previously read up on your former posts as to how you have all coped with such terrible situations, I was able to provide my husband with suggestions to get her through the day until I was able to get home. I missed the drama! Later in the night I got her to walk out of her recovery ward box in our shed to eat but she was very wobbly on her feet and didn't wiggle when I picked her up. She was clearly in shock so she spent the night in a stateliness Fortnum and Mason picnic basket by the radiator. In the morning she was more confident on her feet and I was able to check her over. I could not for the life of me find any actual broken skin wounds, but she has certainly lost a few. She stayed indoors yesterday and last night I found her having consumed all of her food and water and left her mark (nothing wrong with her digestion!) again I check her over and could not find any puncture marks. She was vocal by this stage and clearly walking around searching for the other girls. I took a chance and put her into the eglu with the others; despite the cold weather. This morning all three screamed out of the eglu as soon as I opened the door and were happy digging about in the garden. Jabba is still not entirely herself but, I suspect that it will uptake a few more days or more for the shock of the close call to shift. No egg from her yesterday or today but I suspect this is to be expected and given everything else natural seems to be in order I shouldn't worry. The lesson from this experience is that there will be no free ranging unsupervised for our ladies from this point forward. These events happen so quickly and I am not sure that chickens have the security of three lives! I also want to thank you all for the advice shared on his forum; it is invaluable in such situations and for new chicken shepherds, such as my husband and I!

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We live in Acton, where there are plenty of urban foxes - so many they patrol in pairs! We recently started keeping chickens with a new Eglu Go and 2 chickens, the only precautions being male urine (fresh), and shutting the chickens in the coop at night. The first fox attempt was within a couple of days, when they spent the night digging under the coop. The next attempt was 2 nights later, when they actually managed to undo the latch on the back door of the coop (and I am sure I did turn that k"Ooops, word censored!") - so no more chickens.

 

So we changed the Go for a Classic, which I think is much more fox-proof as there is a locking-bar for the cover rather than a vulnerable back door. Also, I am not bothering anymore with urine, but using a cheapo version of Foxwatch. These are a pair of solar-powered ultra-sonic repellers. I think these are better than battery-powered as the batteries on those lose power, and better than mains-powered as you can still move them around when the foxes start getting used to them. So far, after a week, the foxes have been kept at bay. They certainly take notice of the repellers:

 

url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myuo7TTKPNU

Edited by Guest

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Here's a clicky link -

that's quite an impressive reaction! Opinions vary on Foxwatch, I had one and I am sure it deterred the fox, but mine are now in a walk-in run and I haven't replaced the Foxwatch. I didn't know there was a solar version, some people found battery life to be a problem so it might overcome that.

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I have to think it was the fox. 4 of our 5 chickens are missing. Found the 5th one at the neighbour's garden.

 

Got up this morning and saw no chickens roaming the garden. We've not seen any foxes around here and lack of drama made us complacent.

 

I haven't stopped crying since this morning. Ordered FoxWatch after reading the forum posts. It's a bit too late now but I don't want to lose the last one. If it was the fox, I'm sure it'll come back for the last one. I see only a few feathers..and no dead bodies. But we live in a very nice semi-rural area. So I don't think anyone would come and nick them.

 

Here's my lesson learned while I type this with tears running down:

1- Lock the Omlet coop - EVERY NIGHT, RAIN OR SNOW

2 - Secure the run - i, e. shut the wire gate!

3 - Install fox repellent devices

 

The irony is I have another large 7 ft high 10ft wide x 14ft deep completely surrounded by chicken wire enclosure on top of the Omlet coop, in case we have to go away so I could leave the inner run open and let the chickens run in the bigger run without worrying about foxes... Guess what, I didn't lock that either...

 

I'm angry at myself... Fox is going to do what fox is going to do.. But I failed my girls. For that I am guilty.

 

Now wondering whether to give the last one away so it's not lonely on her own, or get some more hens after FoxWatch arrives and installed...

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Got 3 more chickens the day after the event. They all seem to get along well. My brave little chicken seems to appreciate the company.

 

I went all high (and low) tech.

 

Installed FoxWatch.

 

Installed PIR sensor light and camera.

 

Moved an old PC to shed and have a constant video link using Skype (see how to set up a baby monitor using Skype).

 

Secured all the chicken wires and now put a heavy concrete block at the back of coop's back door, after reading about fox sometimes managing to unlock the backdoor on Eglu Go's. So now locking the outer walk-in run, as well as the inner run and Eglu's front door.

 

Lesson well learned...

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At some point past midnight last night. I have a cube and walk in run. As I live in a rural area, with a large garden and stream backing into woods - I was extra cautious when building my chicken home this summer. A 3 x 3m hole was dug by mini digger and lined with galvanised wire that overlapped the edge by over a metre. This metre deep hole was then lined and filled with 4 tons of sand. My cube has a skirt and both the cube and the 3m square Omlet walk in run was firmly pegged down, through the buried larger wire skirt. I have foxes and badgers come to the garden every night so I knew I had to be careful. The girls have access to a larger Omlet string fenced area around the run when I'm in the garden.

 

I shut the girls in last night and failed to notice that one of my Auracanas, Peggy, had not gone inside. This morning there is a trail of her beautiful feathers down the garden. The fox cleanly jumped over the Omlet string fence and got her. I only got my girls in September, and nursed Peggy back to health from a bad respiratory disease. I thought I had everything covered but a lack of care on my part has resulted in the loss of my favourite girl. My other Auracana, Biddy, is wandering around lost today; they were devoted to each other. I'm devastated and I'm responsible. I'm unsure whether to get a couple more ( I carefully chose 4 different breeds for different colour eggs) or try to get used to seeing one less wander around and let Biddy try and settle.

 

I'm now reconsidering my plan. I was going to fence off the bottom of the garden, so the girls had the full run of the whole garden. My garden is that large that I can't afford to install 6 foot high fencing all the way around. I'm now thinking that I may just add on some more run extensions and keep my girls securely locked in. This is so sad as they enjoy free ranging so much. It's a hard lesson to learn.

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I'm really sorry to hear of your loss.

 

However, it sounds like your set up is as secure as it could possibly be, so as long as all the girls are shut in they'll be safe. Unfortunately you've learnt the hard way about this but you'll probably always count them in from now on, so as long as you can supervise them whilst free ranging I'd carry on as you were before.

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Thanks for your kind words mullethunter. I have had an eagle eye on them today and have triple checked they are all in. The weather has been bad but the girls do appreciate the chance to stretch their legs. I'll continue to make sure I account for every one of my girls before closing the door. Upon reflection, I want to give them a quality of life, and with that choice comes a small risk. But I've learnt from my stupidity!!!

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Alerted by Our other hen alarming and the magpies ran outside to fond the fox with Gert in his mouth. Threw the nearest object (a jug) at it and it dropped her and ran off.

 

She is blinking her eyes and breathing, but pretty floppy. I have laid her by the boiler on some newspaper. Is there anything else I can do? She doesn't appear distressed or in pain.

 

Thanks for any advice.

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If she doesn't seem in pain I'd say you're doing all you should be. Keep her warm and make sure she has water if she needs it. Fingers crossed :pray:

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Sadly after a couple of hours it was clear sh wasn't coming round. We took her to the vets and he said she was badly injured so he euthanised her for us. A sad end for our lovely girl. Plans afoot for fox-proof Walk-in run.

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We used to let our chooks free-range in a quarter acre orchard, in two Cubes. Over the winter of 2014/2015 we knew we had a fox visiting over nights to eat low-hanging apples, on and off, but it disappeared again in the spring, and we thought we were safe. We couldn't have been more wrong. Apparently late spring/early summer is the worst as they have mouths to feed and get desperate. It came back in broad daylight, through the hedge and sheepwire fencing (I saw it slip through a hole about 12cm x 10cm when it left - I couldn't believe my eyes). It attacked and killed our prize cock, who put up an amazing fight as the poor thing left feathers in three separate places, and he obviously saved our girls. They were so dazed by the shock, and we locked them away in the runs as I was certain it would come back to finish them off. Sure enough, 6pm that evening he showed up again, slipped through the livestock fence, and went straight for the Eglus. I was watching, waiting about 100ft away, and it just bounced up and down outside the runs, the poor chooks were distraught, but I shooed it away as fast as I could. I mentioned it to a farmer (we live rural) and he said there were quite a few around at the time, and over the following weeks, sad as it is, we heard of a few being shot by farmers. However, we didn't want to take chances and invested in electric netting straight away - the stuff that looks like Omlet's netting but you can attach a leisure battery to. We've essentially enclosed the orchard in electric netting, and *touch wood* have had no problems since, but it's a lot more mowing to keep the grass short enough for it. Our geese are behind strand electric fencing, as they can get their heads caught in the smaller guage netting and die from the constant shocks - we heard of one horror story from someone and decided we'd learn from their poor goose's fate.

 

I'd be loath to keep chickens not behind some sort of electric fencing now, or the really high stuff, but our layout doesn't lend itself to that.

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Forgot to shut my chickens into their run last night after letting them out to free range following a few days of total lock down. They had been laying eggs in the bushes, so I shut them in to get them back in the habit of laying in the nest boxes. Then it was such a lovely day yesterday I thought I'd let them free range again. We have a large garden in the town and the back quarter is fenced off for the chickens and they have a secure run in there that should be fox proof.

Unfortunately, I forgot to shut them in to it. I woke up this morning and checked my phone to find a message from my neighbour. Sent at half past midnight letting me know my chickens were going nuts. I never really thought there was a fox around here, but I went straight out to check and found all the birds dead. Lobelia in the coop, Matilda the duck and Poinsettia in the run. Splash, Mrs King and Petunia out in the garden and Jemima the duck a bit further out. Nothing left of Imelda and Pompom but feathers.

I'm so depressed by this it's unreal. Just can't believe how violent an end they met. Can't bear to look at all the clumps of feathers lying about in the garden.

We will build a bigger run and keep the next lot of girls in it permanently, but how sad! I lived watching them scratch about amongst the plants, and I bought the ducks specifically to deal with the slug problem. That won't be much good in a run.

My heart goes out to all those of you who have been through this. Worse things have happened at sea, but I am feeling VERY low about it.

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I am so sorry to read this. Your poor girls and I know exactly how you feel. I didn't comment on here, my post is entitled Fox attack All Gone in the chicken section

 

The complete shock is unbelievable I can still read what I wrote and not believe it's about me and my girls

 

Are you definitely going to have more and what are your plans to keep them safe?

 

I still haven't completely made up my mind. I am still traumatised by the whole fox thing. I hate foxes so much

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We have had an awful two days.

 

To cut a long story short we didn't shut the door to our (very secure) WIR and a fox has killed all three of our chickens. We are gutted. Came down the first morning to find feathers all over, and two decapitated bodies. We assumed the fox took the third body (Florence) to eat. We woke up the day after burying the two that we found, to find Florence 'displayed' rather menacingly in the middle of the garden, partially eaten. So we had another funeral, only to then find little piles of soil around the garden where the fox had buried different parts of the chickens. It's been a little traumatic to say the least and we feel so, so guilty that our ladies have suffered. I wish the fox had eaten them all at least to have a decent meal - it's such a waste of life.

 

The devastation and feathers around the garden was unbelievable. I am guessing Mr Fox will be back again tonight to check his stores but they are empty...I am now paranoid about getting more chickens as I know the fox will remember our garden now. We are thinking about getting the Hentronix to have a double lock system on our coop/WIR to make sure this doesn't happen again :(

Edited by Guest

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