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If you have lost chickens to a fox, what time of day was it?

13 replies

ConDemNation · 19/05/2010 07:39

I am feeling a bit despondent as we were getting on so well, with our chicken area at the back of the garden - it's walled and fenced off and they are really happy scratching around there.

However as I posted the other day we had a visit from a fox at about 7.50am, the other day. This freaked me out, and I am thinking about building a covered run within the area, now - but I don't want to restrict them, the area is only about 30x40 as it is and they love the different bits of it.

I don't think electric fencing would work for us as there are trees all round the perimeter, and would have to site it on top of the wall/fence. I can't think of another way.
I've known loads of people keep hens and not had to keep them indoors all day - obviously they go in at about 5-6pm for supper and their run/ark is fox proof, I let them out after the school run now.

So just wondering if foxes do ever come in full daytime, (this is an urban area, never even saw one till we had chickens) and if so, will the chickens be able to escape? I'm thinking if they're free range they could fly over the fence into the rest of the garden and find sanctuary somehow...but is a fox faster?

Sorry, if I sound a bit naive - very new to this and just want my girls to be safe while having as much freedom as possible. Our farmer where we got them said his main problem is badgers! He doesn't use any fencing etc. just a big field. I'm

OP posts:
sarah293 · 19/05/2010 07:45

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ConDemNation · 19/05/2010 07:46

Oh.

Thanks Riven, and sorry.

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sarah293 · 19/05/2010 07:53

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BeenBeta · 19/05/2010 07:55

When foxes are hungry they come out during the day as well as at night. This is especially common when the cubs are young in March - May.

ConDemNation · 19/05/2010 08:00

I wondered if it was cub season.

Huge, beautiful fox but I love my hens more.

I feel fortunate it shook me out of complacency, but it is so sad to lock them away.

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geekgirl · 19/05/2010 08:11

I had my entire flock killed late morning once.
We live in the countryside - tbh I lost so many flocks to the fox, I've now given up and don't keep hens anymore.

nickelbabe · 19/05/2010 17:10

ours was in the evening, just before twilight. (we were in the house)

I agree with Riven - have a completely enclosed run.

with ours, they have an enclosed (all 6 sides inc roof and underfloor) wire weldmesh run, that measures about (it's in two sections) 9ft x 10ft and 12ft x 9ft
they are allowed out in the rest of the garden whenever there's someone to supervise.
and that does mean having meals outside in the summer or gardening/reading books while they run around.

chicken experts recommend at least 2sq mtrs per hen, so if you have 3 hens, you want a run that's 2mtrs by 3 mtrs. (more if you can)
it's plenty for them to roam aroundi nmost of the time, as long as they have interest - food, tables, ramps, that kind of thing.

ConDemNation · 19/05/2010 17:15

Oh gosh, so any time of day, really

why does the farmer never seem to lose any to foxes? I'm baffled.

Nickelbabe I remember now it was you with those pictures of that beautiful run you made...I will look for them when I get a moment as I loved it!

I'm not sure we can do one so large, tbh, as there are so many trees in our area and covering it will be quite tricky. I don't know how to cover the bit around the tree trunks iyswim.

OP posts:
nickelbabe · 19/05/2010 17:32

thanks!

i see around the tree trunks would be tricky.
One option would be to make a solid roof in that part- so make the run as normal, but make a tree-shaped solid roof (ie two pieces of wood each with a semi circle, which join together when you screw them together around the tree trunk.)
the hole can be expanded as the tree grows.

nickelbabe · 19/05/2010 17:32

oh, and i think the farmer does lose them - he just has so many, it doesn't matter so much to him.

Lincolnparkafterdark · 19/05/2010 19:30

Few weeks ago a fox took my lovely old girl at night-scaled a 6 ft fence and ripped the door off the Ark-I couldnt believe it.
Luckily the new girls were in a different house and it tried to get them but couldnt get in.

My DH put down concrete slabs put weld mesh about a metre wide half under the slabs and buried it .He then constructed a predator proof run on top.We got ours from Flytesofancy-excellent service.
Sad that the girls are in a run but without a doubt knew that fox would come back-prob at dusk to get the rest.

It did come back -I dusted flour around the perimeter yes a bit loopy I know! Foxy footprints the next morning -It had also tried to dig under and failed.

They seem fine and go out when we are at home

TidyBush · 19/05/2010 20:55

We were shaken out of our complacency this morning after more than a year of letting our girls free range in the garden. DH had not long let them out of their coop and run when he looked out of the kitchen window at 6:30am and saw a fox with one of our three girls in its mouth .

DH ran out and scared the fox away and luckily it appeared to have only got hold of the chooks feathers, as she escaped with no visible injuries. After being really quiet this morning she had really perked up this afternoon and seems to be back to normal (although we are keeping an eye out for delayed shock).

Its been really hard keeping them in their run all day but we let them out for couple of hours this evening whilst we were in and out of the garden.

The coop and run are set on slabs with bark chippings spread out for them to scratch at and we have always locked the girls into the coop at night. But we're worried that the run is only made from chicken wire so we're going to get some welded mesh asap and sort out a new/bigger run.

DH couldn't believe how quick it all was and if he'd been anywhere other than in the kitchen the fox would probably have had all three girls

Backinthebox · 30/05/2010 00:59

We have a breeding vixen who lives 80 metres from my front gate. I have had a hen taken at around 10am from the yard when I was in a stable in the yard and the dog was in the garden. I also had a cockerel taken from the yard while I had a workman working on the field fence only metres away. He couldn't believe his eyes. I had the whole lot (5 hens) taken early one evening. If a fox wants your hens, he will have them! Sorry.

I keep lots of hens these days - always have a few spare, and I don't name them or get sentimental about them, as they are there primarily to feed my family with their eggs. I fell very strongly about animal welfare, and keep my hens because at least I know how they lived and that their eggs were not produced under battery conditions. But they live in a run with 6ft fencing now. And I have still lost 4 to the fox this year, 2 jumped out of the run, 2 were let out by my daughter by accident and were taken on the only day of freedom outside the run they ever had.

A neighbour of mine wants to buy a couple of my spare hens, and will be keeping them free range. I have told him he will be back for more in a few weeks, and he does not believe me.

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