Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Foxes in sheep field  (Read 316 times)

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Foxes in sheep field
« on: January 23, 2023, 02:26:06 pm »
I have 3 adult sheep, two 3 year old herdwicks and one 13 year old mule charolais cross. They won't be having lambs. We've got a real problem with rabbits and over the last few days I've seen 2 foxes about, hopefully helping with the rabbit problem. They haven't been in the field with the sheep, but today I saw both foxes in the field with the sheep. They didn't take any notice of the sheep and the sheep just watched the foxes but weren't running about. I just wondered if the foxes were likely to attack the sheep? Just wondered about other people's thoughts. Thank you.
4 pet sheep

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2023, 04:08:23 pm »
We have foxes here and when we had sheep, they co-existed. I've seen lambs playing with fox cubs. I don't thing your adult healthy sheep are in danger from foxes.

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2023, 04:45:51 pm »
Thanks for your reply Rosemary, that's really what I thought but thought I'd just see what others thought! I'm sure they've been about a while and I've just not seen them. They are beautiful!!
4 pet sheep

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2023, 04:48:38 pm »
If you're not lambing i wouldn't worry - the only time I've know foxes to be an issue is if lambing out in the field and the ewe is distracted from protecting the 1st newborn lamb when the 2nd is coming out (or the afterbirth), and a fox might grab the lamb - otherwise the ewe's are quite good at protecting the lambs until they're big enough to hold their own.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2023, 04:51:57 pm »
Foxes have no interest in healthy adults and even sick ones have to be down and hardly moving for a fox to have a go , badgers can be much braver

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2023, 08:33:56 pm »
Thanks Mab and Shep for your replies. Glad I just checked it out.
4 pet sheep

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2023, 12:11:06 pm »
It's distressing when a fox takes a lamb, but it would have been a pretty poorly lamb - or newly born with a distracted ewe - for a fox to have it, so I think of it as it's just nature cleaning up.

Badgers are far more of an issue.  They can take down a half-grown Swaledale.  You know it's badgers when you find the skin inside out. 

So yes, let the foxes coexist with your non-lambing flock, and they'll keep the rabbits at a sensible level.  It will actually help the sheep - they will get more grass! 

One of my old country-wise 3rd generation hill farmer pals used to feed the foxes that lived around his farm at lambing time, to make sure that no parent fox had to go to extraordinary lengths to feed their cubs.  He also supported his local hunt, because he said they only caught the aging or infirm foxes, and those were the ones which caused human sheep- and bird-keepers the majority of their problems.  Fit healthy foxes didn't need to risk annoying the humans with their guns and dogs. 
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

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2023, 10:15:16 am »
Have lost lots of lambs to a fox over the years  ,always twins  either taken during the first night after being born during the day or the first night  after being put out from a shed , so at least 24 hrs old  . These have been and still are mostly hill breeds so a bit easier to separate from a second lamb , fields / farms  surrounded by hundreds of acres of forestry . Have witnessed  2 foxes tormenting a ewe to try and separate her single lamb a single fox doing the same with  twins  and one day a fox trotting by a sleeping lamb which jumped up and the fox grabbed it  and even with me shouting and running towards it the fox ran with the lamb in its mouth . Badgers will eat alive sheep if they are unable to move  , one ewe stuck in a bogey area standing up  the badger ate rear left thigh ( foot prints a plenty ) and she was alive next morning  ,  one ewe  cast on her back  a badger ate 1 side only of her udder  ( foot prints again ) and amazingly she went on to lamb and produce milk from the remaining side  .  Ewes cast and eaten while alive  ,blood every where and  inner thighs /udder only eaten  and as sally said  month old lambs  taken and only inside out skins found out side of sett ( was a single old brock badger ) .   6 badger setts on that farm

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Foxes in sheep field
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2023, 08:00:12 pm »
Thanks Sally and Shep for your replies They make very interesting reading. I'm just glad there aren't any badgers about!
4 pet sheep

 

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