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Really worried and fed up !
#1
Went to shut the birds in last night at around 7.30 to find 3 dead and 1 cockerel with a bite injury.  Nothing in the run or the house and as you all know I had extensive work done on the run in the Summer to roof it following loosing nearly all my birds in  two fox attack.  Despite scouring the enclosure for a way in or out - I have no idea what happened.  The dead birds had their throats ripped open but no missing heads and it appears no birds actually taken away.  I am at a loss and really worried.  The cockerel with the bite injury is very traumatised but I think he will be ok and everyone else seems fine -  I think they were all already perched in the house for the night.  I can see no definite way that a fox got in but we have spent the day shoring up any areas that looked even remotely dodgy (they really don't though).  I managed to coax all the birds in to the house really early tonight with the promise of a corn feed and they have been safely away since 5pm.  Just wish I knew what had happened and who had done it.  Thank god I did not loose any of my beloved Shetlands this time (not that I want to loose any).  Crappy Easter 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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#2
Sorry to hear you have lost more birds April  Sad are you sure this is another fox attack ? It could be something a lot smaller  escaped ferret ,mink or other predator .
CHUCKLERS RULE THE ROOST - Dave. Zen Seeker of The Board. rabbit run
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#3
No I'm really not sure it was a fox because there really is no conceivable way it could have got in and even less likely to have escaped back out. I think the attack had literally just happened as I arrived down at the run as the birds in the house were very calm. The dead ones were still warm (and bleeding) The only way a fox could have got out was if it ran past me as I opened the gate but by then I was already aware something was wrong as one of my White leghorns was sitting up high on one of the horizontals so I was flashing my torch round the run and feel sure I would have felt, heard, seen or sensed a fox running past me (considering it would probably have been in a mad panic to escape. The only very slight weak point was a space of around 5 in deep at the top of the gate (between the top of the gate and the first strands of barbed wire that run along the edge of the roof. I am sure that had a fox managed to scale the gate and push through this space there would have been significant amounts of fur caught on the barbed wire. Despite this being unlikely we have secured that area with more twisted barbed wire. I was also thinking (and hoping) it was a mink or similar. I know I couldn't stop anything that small getting in through the stock fence roof but I guess it's far less likely to repeat the performance. Do you think this sort of predator would kill a few birds at one time but be unable to actually get any out of the run ? My last thought was perhaps a feral cat going over the gate (that could have snuck out past me as I went in I suppose) and would explain why nothing was actually eaten, just fatally injured in 3 cases. Kellogs (the cockerel) is still very traumatised - very quiet and still but hopefully he'll make a full recovery - the bite wounds are healing pretty well.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#4
Most small predators will kill for the sake of killing and not take any for food. Where by the fox will kill for the sake of killing but generally take one for a meal. I hope Kellogs  makes a full recovery .

Small predators have the ability to get through the smallest of gaps too. I would suggest you set traps along boundary walls or fences, but I know you have dogs about the place so maybe not a good idea. Cage type traps might be the answer to the problem, but you would then need to deal with what ever is caught .
CHUCKLERS RULE THE ROOST - Dave. Zen Seeker of The Board. rabbit run
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#5
Awww no April - how awful for you Hope you get to find out what it might have been - without any more losses! Love your name for your boy - also hope he makes a full recovery....
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#6
Have ordered a mink trap this afternoon as I am now convinced a fox couldn't have got in. This makes it better in one way as I have spent so much money, time and effort making the whole area fox proof I am not sure where I would have gone from here (other than selling my stock and giving up). On the downside, I know there is no way of stopping a mink or similar getting in BUT equally, I do realise that he is likely to have moved on already. All the birds complied with the new regime of coming in before dark for a corn feed again tonight so very pleased with that and makes enjoying a roast dinner much more relaxing knowing everyone is safe in doors. Shame they can't enjoy the longer evenings but that is just the way it will have to be for the short term. Once a trap is in place and if I catch a mink, I will take to a friend of mine and have it shot. A ferret will be advertised as found and then any forthcoming owner will get a piece of my mind. Anything smaller like a stoat will be driven to the other side of the A2 and let go. My poor birds have gone through such a lot in the past 12 months - one of the ones that was killed in the latest attack, had survived the previous two which is really sad. I'd quite like to move to Shetland and take my Shetland hens with me.................no predators on the Shetland Islands................Bliss !
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
Really sorry April - it is not easy keeping poultry.  When I think back on all the upset we have gone through over the years and we have seen it all .... stoats, ferrets, pine martins, mink and of course, Mrs. Fox.  I looked out of the window last night at about 9.00 pm, put the outside light on to see if it was snowing, and there was a young badger picking up the crumbs under the bird feeders.  There is a protected den quite close to us and fortunately, for one reason or another, they have never been near the poultry.

By the way April, I was born on Shetland and I often go back there for visits.  It is absolute heaven Heart

Hope you get things sorted and have no more problems
COCKADOODLEDOO


De-stress with Poultry - and have the patience of a Broody


++++++++++++++++

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#8
Sorry to hear about your birds April but I would go with the mink theory from your initial post.
You've only got one life - live it!
squizzers
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#9
Im also thinking it could be mink,Im so sorry April.I know full well how it feels Sad
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
So sorry to hear that April. I remember when we lost so many to the fox, it is really heartbreaking. I dont know what it could be, presumably a rat couldnt inflict that amount of damage. I know mink often go for the throat, they can kill dogs that way. Hope you manage to catch it if it is a mink. Hope Kelloggs makes a full recovery. xx
It never worries me when I get a little lost, all I do is change where I'm going
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#11
(03-04-2018, 11:00 PM)Teazel Wrote: So sorry to hear that April.  I remember when we lost so many to the fox, it is really heartbreaking.   I dont know what it could be,  presumably a rat couldnt inflict that amount of damage.  I know mink often go for the throat, they can kill dogs that way.   Hope you manage to catch it if it is a mink.   Hope Kelloggs makes a full recovery.    xx

Rats can and do Teasel,horrid things.
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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#12
Hows it going April. Horrible thing to happen. xx
If they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.
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#13
Didn't catch anything in the mink trap and nothing has returned - crossing everything I own ! Kellogs, my lovely young Shetland Cockerel appears to making a good recovery and has started crowing again. Just seems to have been one of those things - no clearer idea as to what did it but have satisfied myself that it really couldn't have been a fox. My money is on Mink, escaped Ferret or a very unpleasant cat.

Should have added, the flock are now trained to go to bed on cue.  This means I am shutting them in long before dark.  They have a big enough house to spend an hour or two scratching around inside and I am feeling a lot more relaxed knowing they are in.  I leave the light on and then go back down to turn it off once it is dark (same time as the ducks get shut in to their sleeping box.  This is working out well and means I can shut them in whenever I want to and get them in (if necessary) before I go out for an evening rather than the pop hole being open late into the evening.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#14
I had a cat prowling around the fencing the other day,Harry was giving his alarm shout so i went to look,luckily i had just collected up the dogs steel dinner bowls, they didnt half make a racket as they hit the fence one after the other. The cat beat a hasty retreat rabbit run
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
Had to laugh just visualising it  Big Grin
COCKADOODLEDOO


De-stress with Poultry - and have the patience of a Broody


++++++++++++++++

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