Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Fox  (Read 790 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Fox
« on: June 26, 2024, 11:40:37 pm »
It's many years since our free range flock was last attacked by a fox.  That time it was a town fox brought out to the countryside by someone who knew no better.  The poor thing had little idea of how to hunt and was starving, having been dumped in another fox's territory.  It killed a dozen or so hens and left most of the corpses lying where they were killed.
A couple of days ago my recent flock of only four hens was killed (during the day) and every body removed.  This was obviously not a townie release, but a breeding vixen. 
The large field which surrounds our smallholding had been harvested for silage the day before.  Rural foxes make voles, hares and other small mammals their main diet, so when the field suddenly became bare, their hunting ground was gone, but the cubs still had to be fed.  It was only a short step to find my four fat hens dust batheing.  Ah well  :'( .  The other half doesn't want to keep hens any more, but I love them so and to me home isn't home without at least a few hens around  :hughen: :hughen: :hughen: :hughen:


So be aware that silage making and baby foxes put our hens at risk at this time of year.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Fox
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2024, 08:24:24 am »
So sorry you lost your choox  :hug:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Fox
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2024, 08:25:46 am »
Really sorry to hear this news FW. Agree a home is not a home without some hens pottering about. You might have to sneak a couple in under the radar  :)

Bywaters

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Fox
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2024, 09:30:09 am »
Sorry to hear this and thinks for the warning.

I'm not sure what breed you had, but may I put a recommendation in for Derbyshire Redcaps ?
Rare(ish) breed, dual purpose, white eggs (excellent for meringues) and can fly maybe 10 yards (?)
Love to free range .

Just a thought

Hope you get some soon

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Fox
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2024, 04:39:10 pm »
Sorry to hear you lost more chickens.
You appear to have more empathy with foxes than I do.
When I lose my chickens to the foxes it makes me want to kill every last one of them but really I am only angry at myself for not protecting them enough.
I know I know but still..
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Fox
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2024, 11:54:41 pm »
Sorry to hear you lost more chickens.
You appear to have more empathy with foxes than I do.
When I lose my chickens to the foxes it makes me want to kill every last one of them but really I am only angry at myself for not protecting them enough.
I know I know but still..

The only way to protect them more would be to keep them caged in the day as well as housed at night and that's not the life I want for my hens. In the main our hens survive well being free range, most just die eventually of old age.
Yes I am angry, but as you say, with myself.  We can only see a small part of our land from any other part, but we hadn't thought about the danger being higher because the silage had been cut.  I think this fox was desperate to feed her young.  That's life and the other half of life is death. We still have four Shetland geese which are a bit stupid about predators but they tend to stay closer to their house.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Fox
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2024, 11:58:36 pm »
Really sorry to hear this news FW. Agree a home is not a home without some hens pottering about. You might have to sneak a couple in under the radar  :)

I'll try time and gentle persuasion (he has to do the mucking out now so I have to be fair)
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Fox
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2024, 11:20:29 am »
Having to eat other people's eggs may help over time... 😉💕🐓🥚🍳
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Fox
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2024, 12:34:08 pm »
Having to eat other people's eggs may help over time...

Yes!
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Fox
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2024, 10:58:16 am »
Sorry to hear you lost more chickens.
You appear to have more empathy with foxes than I do.
When I lose my chickens to the foxes it makes me want to kill every last one of them but really I am only angry at myself for not protecting them enough.
I know I know but still..

The only way to protect them more would be to keep them caged in the day as well as housed at night and that's not the life I want for my hens. In the main our hens survive well being free range, most just die eventually of old age.
Yes I am angry, but as you say, with myself.  We can only see a small part of our land from any other part, but we hadn't thought about the danger being higher because the silage had been cut.  I think this fox was desperate to feed her young.  That's life and the other half of life is death. We still have four Shetland geese which are a bit stupid about predators but they tend to stay closer to their house.
So sorry, Jules  :'( :'(

I have a compromise for mine as I live near farms.  I have a secure roofed weldmesh run for night-time (2 metres by 4 meters, 2 metres high, with a coop inside I can shut them in if need be); or if I have to be away any longer than a couple of hours. 

My dogs have free run of my half acre orchard all day when I am at home, but they would pluck the hens if they could get at them, and certainly bark at any brave fox - and come and tell me too. 

My son has built an extended run round the weldmesh run extending it to 10 metres by 3 metres, four feet high, and to be honest is plenty free ranging for my four hens.  If I got any more hens he can extend that further.  I don't take chances with foxes since I lost 11 hens and five ducks at my last house becasue their run wasn't fox proof.   :'( :'(

The combination of the scent of free running dogs and four foot fencing seems to be working so far.   :fc:
« Last Edit: June 29, 2024, 11:01:10 am by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Fox
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2024, 02:46:19 pm »
I find that a bucketful of pee poured round the boundary of the chicken pen deters foxy.
Currently there are two young foxes mooching around the woodland , seen them on the camera, extra precautions taken until they contract lead poisoning .
I have an excellent hide I have been using to discourage magpies from taking eggs and chicks , Its a Home Bargains  popup 2 person ( 1Bear ) tent just as good as the camouflaged hide I used to have, shame it has to be done but eggs ,songbird chicks and chooks come first.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Fox
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2024, 12:22:48 am »
Well, we'll see if we ever do get more hens.  If we do it will not be a large flock, just a trio, so I suppose a wire mesh pen could work (we have a 3 metre by 5 metre hooped walk-in pen which is currently protecting the brassicas, originally bought for Bird flu restrictions but never used).  I just so loved seeing my hens roaming amongst the cow parsley recently.  They were so confident and as I said, we had not had a fox attack for many years so perhaps I was over-confident.
We do have dogs which are around the smallholding for most of the day, but they were not outside when the killing took place.  The change which led to the killing was the silage being cut, leaving a suddenly bare, huge field surrounding us on three sides - no food for the fox, our hens suddenly accessible.
Thank you everyone for your sympathy.  I know we've all had this happen at some point and I really appreciate the sympathy and ideas  :love:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Fox
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2024, 11:18:37 am »
Well, we'll see if we ever do get more hens.  If we do it will not be a large flock, just a trio, so I suppose a wire mesh pen could work (we have a 3 metre by 5 metre hooped walk-in pen which is currently protecting the brassicas, originally bought for Bird flu restrictions but never used).  I just so loved seeing my hens roaming amongst the cow parsley recently.  They were so confident and as I said, we had not had a fox attack for many years so perhaps I was over-confident.
We do have dogs which are around the smallholding for most of the day, but they were not outside when the killing took place.  The change which led to the killing was the silage being cut, leaving a suddenly bare, huge field surrounding us on three sides - no food for the fox, our hens suddenly accessible.
Thank you everyone for your sympathy.  I know we've all had this happen at some point and I really appreciate the sympathy and ideas  :love:
Yes, I think that was the reason I lost my hens and ducks - building had started on teh rough ground across the lane and the bushes and trees had all been cleared away.  No small animals for baby foxes  :'( :'(
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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