Fox Attack

When I decided to get chickens, I did a lot of reading,  I needed to learn a lot.  One of the things I saw mentioned many times was that if you have chickens, you need to be prepared to lose some to predators mainly.  I made a very secure coop and run for my chickens, my biggest fear was from hawks when they free-range.  I wasn’t too concerned about the four legged predators because I didn’t let them out until mid to late morning and they are not allowed out unless myself or my wife were home.  We didn’t stand watch over them but would check on them periodically .

Yesterday, Saturday, I was out working in the yard, the chickens were out a scratching and a pecking, my wife, Lil, was on the back deck watching us. About 11:00 am I went in for a drink, Lil, screamed and was running off the deck. I ran out and Lil said a fox had grabbed Ini.  There were a small pile of feathers by the screen house and I followed a trail of feathers into the woods and out back to the field, where I lost them.  Fox and Ini were gone.

Lil had secured the chickens in the run and had picked up the feathers. She told me later this was for the service.

Ini's feathers  8/3/13

Ini’s feathers 8/3/13

My chickens were a lot noisier before this attack, why didn’t I put them in the run??  They sensed something was wrong.  I’ve lost my first chicken at 16 months.  My wife and I were heart-broken.

Well, it is still Saturday and I have errands to do.  Drove downtown, didn’t even turn on the radio, just kept playing the morning over and over in my head.  Told a couple of people what had happened, Laura, who also has chickens was very sad for me.  As soon as I got home I went to the run to see how everyone was and one of the chickens is out, running around the run.  The door is closed, there are chickens inside, how did you get out?????  I’m ashamed to admit, but I have a hard time telling the ladies apart, I didn’t know who was out or why.  I lured her into the run with sunflower seeds and then counted heads.  SIX!!!!  1 rooster and 5 hens, INI IS BACK!!!  the fox didn’t get her, Lil’s scream must has scared the fox.

I yelled for Lil and we checked out Ini. She had a 3 to 4 inch long slice on her left side, it looked like just the skin had been cut open but she needed to be stitched together.  Lil sews beautiful quilts but din’t feel qualified to sew a chicken back together.  Me, out of the question,  so we took her to a vet. A holistic vet in the next town.  Dr Margo Ramon of MASH (Main St. Animal Services of Hopkinton)  her phone number is 508-435-4077. I don’t know which came first the phone number or the name.

Ini is home, stitched up and living in the big house for a few days till she heals.

Ini in the big house after the fox attack 8/3/13

Ini in the big house after the fox attack 8/3/13

Earlier in the day, Lil had asked me what my plans for the day were.  This was not what I planned.

Ed

 

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10 comments
  1. Oh hooray, hooray!!! I’m so glad Ini is okay (if a bit plucked). I even forgive you for not being able to tell your girls apart (shame on you). And aren’t your girls clever for screaming and scaring that nasty fox away.

    This is a horrible warning. Day before yesterday I saw a fox in the pecan orchard in the middle of the day. The crows were making even more noise than usual. I guess I always thought the foxes were active from dusk to dawn and that in the middle of the day my girls were safe. This is a dire warning. But what to do? The chooks love free ranging.

    I’m just going to focus on the positive here – Ini is safe and well and living in the house. She probably feels like a queen for the day (or week) and that’s a nice payback for her trauma.

    • Thanks Laura, it was my wife that screamed, I bet it was heard in the next county. The screen house is about twenty-five feet from the deck, very bold fox. You are right my chickens love being out, roaming around the yard and into the woods. I think they will get less time out for a while. Ini laid an egg today, we thought with the trauma she might not. Chickens, they are just amazing creatures.
      Ed

      • I think all foxes are bold. They have learned to live near humans and thrive.

        As for the egg, poor Ini, tell her to take a break! Maybe the egg was already well progressed when the fox attacked so it had no where to go but out. It will be interesting to see if she keeps laying while she’s recuperating.

  2. Oh my goodness! So sorry to hear of the attack but so happy she survived it. Has this changed your thoughts on free ranging at all? Just wondering since we just started free ranging.

    • Thanks, I got the chickens so they could free-range and help with bug control, I will still free-range them, maybe not as much. I spent Saturday afternoon and a good portion of today cutting back brush around the yard so that the predators don’t have as much cover. The screen house where the attack happened, backs up to some dense low shrubs, I will be thinning that out in the next week.
      Ed

  3. Oh my god! I am SOOOO glad she is ok….what a relief for you. Foxes are scary. I always thought they were more active at night, but I have seen them during the day, though thankfully not at Brookwood Shire. I am glad Ini is alright. They all must be spooked though. Even Jack…..my girls get very noisy when they think something is amiss….but the day the bear visited they were VERY noisy! And I guess that is a good thing. Spoil them all for awhile, you will all feel better. Patti

    • Thanks Patti, when Ini was attacked, she was off by herself, the nearest chicken to her took off like a bullet, the others were back by the coop since they hadn’t all laid their eggs for the day. Jasmine is still broody and wasn’t out. They don’t seem spooked at all, only one of them saw the attack which was over in seconds. Ini being in the kitchen gets many treats that the others don’t. But she wants to go outside, not yet.
      Ed

  4. I’m glad everyone is okay. The kids send their well wishes from Florida.

  5. Yikes! This story ended much better than I was expecting. But keep in mind that the Fox will be back… and he’ll be smarter.

    • We figured the fox would be back, didn’t consider it would be smarter. For now the chickens are getting much less free-range time, none in the morning and I am clearing back the underbrush so the predators don’t have as much cover. Looks like my wife will get her dog, we think the dog will deter the predators. I hope the dog isn’t a predator.
      Ed

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