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mad.hen1

can hens die of fright?

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Hello,

 

had a really nasty scare with my hens this morning.....

 

Throughout the summer Posh and Pecks have been allowed to come and go in the run as they please, me not wanting to get up at some stupid hour when it got light to let them out. This has worked well.

 

However this morning (7am) I was alerted by the most horrible hen shouting, raced downstairs and down to the hens (in pyjamas and wellies, so I hope the neighbours were still asleep!) to scare off what I assume must have been a fox, which bolted through a gap in the fence. I could not be sure it was a fox because I was virtually still asleep and had not put my lenses in (!) but have seen them in the garden before, so its a safe bet. Also the grub and glug containers had been knocked off so something had clearly been having a go.

 

The hens seemed to recover pretty quickly and were keen to come out and play.

 

Obviously, the ideal solution is to shut them in again now the nights are drawing in, which I will do.

 

The problem is, I am going away for half term with the kids and friends are on hen duty, and while they are happy to come once a day to check on them and feed them, twice a day is a bit much, especially early.

 

It seems realistic to expect the fox to return, but I won't be there until next Sat to scare hm away again. So can hens die of fright? I know he cannot get them physically, he's clearly tried, but is dying of fright a real possibilty?

 

Help and advice, please!!

 

Thank you.

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not sure whether they'd die of fright but it won't do them any good. I wonder if investing in a fox watch would be good for you. i don't have one but I've seen good things said about them here.

 

what happens if the food/water gets knocked off though? They'd probably still be able to eat the spilled food but what if the water gets spilled out?

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tell me more about fox watch. I'm due to go away in a few hours, unfortunately (things always happen at the wrong time) but if i could pick one up in Homebase, for example, I would. Are there any links here? Will see if I can wire their water in place somehow.

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Posh and pecks have both laid this morning so i hope this is a good sign they ae not too traumatised - what do you think? Will also nip to HB to see if FW available.

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maybe block up the gap in the fence where it got in/out as well?

 

Can't you bribe/persuade someone to come twice a day or 2 lots of people to come once in the morning and once at night?

 

Try a few other fox deterrents like human hair in a stocking hung on the run/coop or get the man of the house to wee into a jug and then sprinkle that around the garden- allegedly that acts as a warning to foxes that the territory is out of bounds as there's already a male about the house!!! :)

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I think hens (any birds) can die of shock, but that's usually after something like being rescued from the jaws of the fox ... if he can't physically get them, it may upset them but I don't think it will kill them.

 

There's another thread on here about whether foxes stop them laying - it's never bothered mine, although they obviously weren't happy about having a ginger-coated gentleman trying to break into their home, as soon as he'd gone they calmed down again.

 

I reckon they will be ok, obviously in an ideal world you would close them in every night, but holidays happen. I'd recommend getting a foxwatch when you get back, though.

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thanks all, am feeling slightly less panic stricken (although my departure has been set back a few hours!) Posh and Pecks are such lovely girls as you can all imagine, I hate to think of them scared or worse. I am on the track of fox watch and will get the old man to pee!

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I have two hens who regularly get chased by our Saluki x whippet, who runs them down after much flapping and squawking, and then pins them down with a foreleg, nudges and mouths (very gently) at them, then lets them go, to do it all over again.

 

This goes on all year round, and they lay eggs throughout this torture quite happily, so are clearly not as stressed as you may think.

 

Get the old man to pee over the hole in the fence the fox was using, mad.hen. We chuck dog poo over the back fence (it's a field) which works very well for the foxes. We have foxes, but they don't come in our garden.

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I'm no expert, but seeing as though humans can die from shock / fright, especially if they had a weak heart.

 

I would suspect the same applies to all living creatures!

 

I guess that's why cats get 9 lives, because of all the shocks and near misses they get from traffic... lol

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I had a chook die of fright, but she was actually chased round the garden by a fox. Before we got the puma, we had a fox come in and clamber on the eglu run pretty regularly. The girls flapped and squawked at the time, but were always fine a few minutes later. I think your girls will be fine.

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