DEVASTATED - Printable Version

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DEVASTATED - april - 01-05-2018

I am completely done in.  I just don't know what to do next.  I suffered another fox attack yesterday and again, lost nearly all my birds.  We had installed a security camera only on Saturday and have been able to see the whole thing on the tape.  It is horrific - the fox was in the run for 8 minutes and killed 14 lovely birds, including all but 3 of my young Shetlands.  Watching them running for their lives, being caught and ripped apart his heart breaking.  Believe it or not, it got in by dropping down through the roof - a gap of no more than about 4 in square.  I feel numb this morning.  All I can do today is try to clear up the terrible mess, keep the remaining birds on shut-down and nurse poor Kellogs (who has survived but injured AGAIN).  I have Shetland eggs in the incubator but honestly, I feel like switching it off.  I can't keep going through this.  I am back to square 1.

RE: DEVASTATED - zenith - 01-05-2018

Oh NO ! Sorry you have had this happen again. It is heart breaking to see the devastation a fox attack can cause. It will keep returning until it's been dealt with sadly.  Sad

RE: DEVASTATED - scotsfran - 01-05-2018

Oh no - how devastating!!! I would never have thought that a fox would come in through the roof - I thought they only went somewhere if they could be sure of getting out again in a hurry? Can I ask, did it go out through the roof again? It must have been horrific to see. I do hope that you can keep going with the ones in the inccy - at least you know where to reinforce the run now? Blasted Mr Fox!!

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 01-05-2018

Yes it went out (thought the roof) as soon as there was nothing left moving in the run. It stopped briefly and looked in the pop hole but thankfully left well alone. I'm shattered today. Clearing up the mess and taking all the dead birds away - just horrible. The inccy is still ticking over. OH wouldn't hear of me switching it off despite the fact this is my hobby not his. I feel sorry for him as well - it has affected him as badly as me. The lovely builders came over this evening to see what we can do - we have a plan but it will depend on cost (although they are usually very good to us) and can see how upset we are. But, this really will have to be the last time. I can never go through this again, I really can't.

RE: DEVASTATED - k9crystal - 02-05-2018

Im so sorry April. Sad
Can you get a local gamekeeper to deal with foxy??

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 02-05-2018

Not going to have it shot this time K9 as it would have to be in the run to be sure we had the right one and they won't be able to shoot it in there as it will be too close out neighbours. Have been trying to borrow a trap but without luck and buying one will take too long. The fox will have seen all the birds have gone and we'll miss our window of opportunity. The remaining birds will be in doors now for the next 3 - 4 weeks whilst we look at taking the roof off and starting again with a better design. Got some good guys on the case trying to figure it out.

RE: DEVASTATED - zenith - 02-05-2018

Glad you have some help it's is not easy to make things fox proof , unless you go to a lot of expense. Didn't you have a tree within the run ? or is my memory fading. This would be the most difficult area to secure without double meshing everything,plus giving room for said tree to grow. Really heavy grade mesh would do the job but it isn't cheap to buy. Fox traps are expensive too, is there anyone you know that has one ? or is there anywhere near by that hires them ?

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 02-05-2018

You are right about the trees Zenith, they are going to be cut down if and when we have the new roof (which is, as you say, going to be expensive). Tried everywhere for a trap........Fox Project were amazingly unhelpful and very unrealistic and yet they could easily have hired me out a trap. Really hate it when all they can say is.....you need better deterents !! What, like a live-in Tiger ?

RE: DEVASTATED - Sutty - 02-05-2018

Oh I'm so sorry April, this is horrible! Must be dreadful clearing up the carnage, let alone seeing it on CCTV.
How big is the run? Could you roof it over with weldmesh, or even make it meshed on all surfaces?
I make temporary runs with weldmesh panels with four 8x4 foot, cable tied together and a 4 foot square of plywood with at each end (staples or small holes around the edge allow cable tying), a door cut in one end and securely fastened allows access. Very fox-proof as fully enclosed on all sides including the bottom. It would be possible to produce bigger structures too.
Unpleasant to contemplate but is it worth keeping one or more of the dead birds as bait if you can lay your hands on a trap (as long as you can get someone to shoot it once trapped).
Don't give up! Don't forget I have Brahma eggs if and when you want them.

Just a thought - can you use a shortened tree to support a roof?

This any use? https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/232551455993?chn=ps&var=531909077309&adgroupid=49511180526&rlsatarget=pla-399467228094&abcId=1130086&adtype=pla&merchantid=114957346&googleloc=1006864&device=c&campaignid=1029032630&crdt=0

Or this? https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CQ3015S/ref=psdc_4224903031_t3_B000BX1H76

When the bird flu was happening I couldn't put one of my flocks under cover. I did buy a Very large piece of netting 15m x 20m with small enough mesh to keep out all birds and suspended it over a tensioned cable between trees, closing off all the gaps (cable ties again). It worked but a major problem when it snows if you are not there. Something similar with much more support might work though. I could look up where I bought the netting (I looked around a lot for the best price).

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 03-05-2018

Thank you Sutty but all of the above is what we already have. An 11mtr x 7mtr enclosure attached to a double garage size house. All sides are small gauge mesh and two sides are bordered by very thick prickly hedgerow. It is 9ft high with bend over arms and barbed wire. There are 6 4x4in posts supporting the current roof which is 4 x4 in stock fencing - this is what he managed to push himself through. If we continue, this will all be removed and replaced with weldmesh but we do have to be careful of the weight - not least in case we got heavy snow which could settle on it. We will not be doing this job ourselves - the location of the run makes it a professional job only. The run itself has been skirted on all sides with the mesh coming out around 12in and pegged down. It has been in place long enough now that it has properly bedded into the ground and is un-movable and I would say impossible to find it to dig under. Have kept a dead bird back but I think we have missed the window of opportunity. I was going to resort to buying a fox trap but couldn't get one delivered fast enough. Thank you for the egg offer - will come back to you on that once we have decided what we are going to do.

RE: DEVASTATED - Sutty - 03-05-2018

Sounds like a great run, very unlucky to have such a determined fox!
Another option would be to electrify the bend over arms (do they bend inwards or outwards) and perhaps a bit of the walls with alternating strands of "live" and "earth" wires/tapes (once off the ground you need something for fox to earth to)

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 03-05-2018

Yes, we are looking in to electrifying the top. That bit the OH could do. It's all complicated because our garden (well the area where the birds are) juts in to the neighbours field and has then bordered by hedgerow. What actually happened was the previous occupants bought part of the neighbours field - this just makes everything more difficult. I almost wish they'd sell the rest for housing (can't believe I'm thinking that) - that'd get rid of the damned foxes. Not convinced the cockerel is going to pull through - he won't eat or drink anything. I have him on Metacam to help with internal bruising and inflammation and Nutri-drops, which can and often do, work like magic. All very depressing at the moment. We've just been out putting even bigger bolts on the front doors of the house because I'm so worried. I seem to be spending a ridiculous amount of time in the house with the birds just trying to reassure them. Apart from Kellogs, everyone else seems ok and they're all laying which is always a good sign. Can't wait for Saturday to be able to candle the Shetland eggs and see if there is going to be any chance of starting again.

RE: DEVASTATED - Sutty - 03-05-2018

Fingers crossed for lots of fertile eggs!
I wouldn't give up on the fox trap too soon, if you think of this as hunting behavior (even if they end up taking no birds away), and think how a fox would respond to an area that attracted large numbers of wild birds, then they are likely to check back on it for an extended period, even if no birds are present for some days.
That said I would have few qualms about shooting a fox in the immediate vicinity even if not actually in the run in your situation, though I wouldn't assume that solved the problem.
I think converting the roof to 2" mesh would be enough for foxes and most other predators, though wild birds could still get in (not sure about mink, and stoats would but unlikely that high up) 1" would exclude anything I can think of except mice, and is what I use for temporary runs, but of course is heavier. Bigger mesh also means less snow weight of course.

RE: DEVASTATED - april - 04-05-2018

OH says he really wants some more of your lovely Brahma eggs - just give us a few weeks to sort this problem out and to get an empty inccy. I have Call ducks cooking in the other one and they take ages ! I'm surprised anyone wants us to have their precious eggs with our luck, BUT, this time it must be sorted - OH is going to project manage even though the work does need to be done by professionals. Weldmesh as recommended by the very helpful Mesh Direct has been ordered so life does go on............apparently. Will have news from the Shetland incubator tomorrow - all of you cross everything pleeeease.

RE: DEVASTATED - scotsfran - 04-05-2018

Crossing everything here for you April!! You deserve a big pile of good news for a change....