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Horrible holiday return
#1
Just back from a lovely holiday in Croatia completely spoilt by the fact that I had my first ever serious fox attack on the first evening my lovely neighbours were looking after my birds for me (not their fault in any way) and they have gone above and beyond in what you would expect neighbours to do.  Sadly lost 10 precious birds including a couple of really old Shetlands that I bred myself.  I am so upset both for my and my two sets of neighbours who kept the bad news from me on my holiday and cared for and saved my lovely old Shetland Fella who was really traumatised and one of his ladies also.  These are not neighbours who own chickens themselves - they just got together and sorted out what should be done (including photographing each dead bird so I knew who I had lost) and bagging them up and disposing of them for me.  They kept the birds confined in doors for the whole 10 days I was away in case the fox came back and were truly amazing.  Honestly, I am gutted but without these lovely neighbours it would have been so much worse.

I'll leave the dust to settle for a week or two before I decide about re-stocking - this will give the remaining 14 time to settle down and get used to life back out doors.  No idea how the fox got in (or out) so this makes it even more of a problem.  It doesn't appear he got away with any food so hopefully he won't return.

20 years without an attack and it happens when I'm aboard an EasyJet flight to Dubrovnik - how's your luck ??
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#2
Sorry to hear you had a sad end to your holiday April . It is good that you have good neighbours and they looked after your others well. Is it certain that this was a fox ? and not something smaller that could have got in undetected.
CHUCKLERS RULE THE ROOST - Dave. Zen Seeker of The Board. rabbit run
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#3
So sorry April. its truly gutting when it happens Cry
Patterdales..there is no doubt they are addictive,therein lies the danger.While living with lots,you will grow poorer and stranger. dog run K9
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#4
Definitely a Fox. It was still in the enclosure when my neighbours raced round after hearing all the noise from the poor birds.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#5
What sad news...and what wonderful neighbours you have! I'm sure they must have felt awful when this happened on their 'watch' - especially if they are not chickeny people. Damn Mr Fox!
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#6
I'm absolutely gutted - he came back yesterday evening and killed another 12, including 7 eight week old Pekins. We were at home and heard nothing. It wasn't until I went down to close the pop hole at about 9pm that I realised something was wrong. If you could see my enclosure, you'd wonder how on earth he could get but it appears that he has been scaling the perimeter fence and dropping down on to a smaller house within the main run. The fence is in total about 9 ft high with bend over arms all the way round, stretched with barbed wire.
I am left with just 7 birds.
The company that built the run for us when we first moved here have been round this morning to look at putting a stock fence type roof over the whole think - a massive, impossible job I thought - but rather than the usual 'tut-tutting' and sucking of teeth, they have just given the most amazingly low price to do it and will be here first thing tomorrow morning.
It was that or give up birds all together and then what do you do with a purpose built house and run that takes up nearly a 1/4 of your garden?
I can't tell you how upset I am (I know many of you have been thought this). I don't blame the fox but the loss is still terrible and I can't stop thinking how long he must have been in the run yesterday terrorising my birds and I was happily unaware sitting eating my dinner.
It's a very sad day for me.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#7
I really feel for you and your birds. Its a recurring theme that foxes manage to get in despite our efforts. As well as a roof you may want to add some anti-digging measures if not already in place - a "skirt" of weldmesh on the ground for 2-3 feet from the bottom of the enclosure is supposed to be effective, or an electric fence strand or two near the base but raised up (similar strands held out from a metal fence can be used as anti-climb too).

Don't give up!
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
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#8
The enclosure already has a 'skirt' in place and having been there 3 years it is good and sturdy. The enclosure itself also has a 'kick-board' all the way round which sits on top on the mesh skirt. The enclosure was built by a Garden Nursery but all the men who worked on it had kept poultry and put a real lot of thought in to it. It only wasn't roofed at the time because of the height and because of the trees within it not to mention the worry about sagging if we had a heavy snowfall. Unfortunately Sutty I lost all your beautiful Brahmas.

My remaining 7 birds are shut in to their house (which is the size of a double garage) so they'll be fine but I am worried that my old Shetland has just been through too much - he looks very bewildered and standing in the corner most of the time. He isn't injured but two serious attacks in as many weeks may well be too much for him to survive.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#9
April, i so wish there was something i could say but there isnt Cry
Do you have any gamekeepers around who may deal with this fox for you ?
Patterdales..there is no doubt they are addictive,therein lies the danger.While living with lots,you will grow poorer and stranger. dog run K9
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#10
Pest Control will be coming in over the next few nights to 'deal' with this particular fox. Not an easy decision for an ex-animal welfare officer but sadly necessary.

The roof is half done and should be completed tomorrow.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#11
Glad you will be secure after this. Hope the old chap recovers ok.
I'm away for a couple of weeks from this weekend, but could collect some eggs when I get back if you want to hatch some brahmas.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
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#12
Thank you Sutty - I'll take you up on that offer please. Yours birds are lovely.

The roof is coming on really well - the guys have managed to leave all the trees in place which provides enrichment as well as shade in the sunny weather. It's looking really secure and sturdy and they're working as if it were protecting their own birds. What great people.

My old Shetland is looking more perky - I think he's just calming down being in the security of the house. He tucked in to hanging cabbages this morning which was nice to see and all the remaining 5 girls laid an egg yesterday so they're obviously feeling a little more settled.

Was in my neighbours field/garden yesterday afternoon with the pest control officer to see the lay out for shooting - very sad to see 'bits' of my chickens all over the place.

Onward and Upward as they say - OH and I sat drinking wine in the garden last night to allow the ducks to free-range for an hour under close supervision - we decided that we would refuse to be beaten !! Might have been the wine talking !
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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  • zenith
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#13
Do you still have some shetland girls with the boy amongst the survivors? Would be strange to think of you without shetlands.
On that note, and if you do, how about an egg swap and I'll hatch a few shetlands too? (could be another slippery slope for me!) always fancied a few green eggs.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
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#14
Onwards and upwards April. hope this fox can be dealt with.Nature can be so cruel to us sometimes,we have to make choices we are not entirely comfortable with.
Patterdales..there is no doubt they are addictive,therein lies the danger.While living with lots,you will grow poorer and stranger. dog run K9
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#15
Sutty - my old Shetland is too closely related to the only 2 Shetland hens that have survived and I doubt he is even treading any more - certainly haven't seem him doing so.

K9 - The fox was successfully and quickly shot last evening at 9pm. An enormous dog fox. Very sad and as you say not a comfortable decision for me but a necessary one none the less. The pest control man sat for 3 hours from 6pm and at 9pm we heard just one shot. Our elderly neighbour is very sure it was the right culprit as she has seen him coming and going many times.

Lots of clearing up and tidying up of the run today and the remaining birds will be able to be let back out tomorrow.

Picking up four 14 week old Hybrids tomorrow afternoon just to start getting the numbers back up. Can't help feeling that all the new comers are going to be extra special to me.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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