That's IT

An area for discussion of problems with pests and predators. WARNING: People are discussing problems with predators, that includes things such as fox and bird of prey attack. Such posts may not be nice viewing, but are acceptable.

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Henwife
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That's IT

Post by Henwife » 08 Mar 2015, 15:57

I am giving up chicken. Fox had two of my speckled sussex bantams in January, another two in February, and three so far this month. I am down to a trio. There is no point in hatching fox fodder, so I shall probably sell my remaining incubators too. The guinea fowl are more savvy, but why cant the foxes deal with the rabbits - perhaps they will once they've taken the remaining bantams. A local farmer has shot 8 foxes so far - he has a dairy herd, but a neighbor has sheep and the foxes are taking the lambs. Bring back hunting - it may not do much for the fox population, but it keeps them wary.
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Re: That's IT

Post by EssexLady » 08 Mar 2015, 18:21

That's awful :( I reckon we've been lucky as I see foxes in the paddock over our fences, and (polite word needed) we heard them shagging last week but they don't come into the farm boundaries. All the fences are liberally scattered with chilli powder/tabasco/garlic salt, and all male guests are invited to relieve themselves around the boundaries (and ladies if they feel brave and own a She-we). Our chooks are not fenced in or clipped but are in a closed chicken house overnight; I reckon if threatened when they're rampaging about the farm they can fly up into the trees or run for it.

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Re: That's IT

Post by ladyplumber » 08 Mar 2015, 22:55

So very sorry to read this.

I don't think it's just the no hunting laws that's creating this monster, it's also the increase in the number of people either physically feeding them or not disposing of their waste food properly. There's not only more of them, they're also evolving into bigger, hungrier creatures because of this.
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subruss
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Re: That's IT

Post by subruss » 09 Mar 2015, 10:06

Don,t get me started :lol: this post nearly got me ranting on the side of henwife I am now counting to ten drinking a sweet cup of tea while sat in a strange yoga position trying to stay 8) .

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Re: That's IT

Post by laffinfowl » 09 Mar 2015, 10:19

Sorry to hear that Henwife,end of an era.
Early in the year i noticed a dramatic increase in the number of foxes locally,two were hanging around quite close by us here. I went to see my problem solver (local farmer with a rifle) he advised leaving them be unless they were encroaching on our ground.A week later he had eight birds taken in broad daylight in a shed next door to where himself and his dad were working.
In the ensueing three weeks he shot 9 of them and the problem seems to have been brought under control.
Incidentally he told me that the master of the local hunt had asked him to be a bit more conservative in the numbers he shoots this year as they were,nt having any sightings while out with the pack (mind you they are a pretty harmless pack of hounds,anytime i,ve followed them by car they only succeeded in scattering the locals to the four winds instead of accounting for any)
Hopefully you,ll havea change of heart in the future when the offenders are taken care of.

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Re: That's IT

Post by organic chick » 09 Mar 2015, 11:55

oh so sorry henwife, but I can understand your feelings. Don't leave us though. Keep popping in.
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Re: That's IT

Post by Moriarty » 09 Mar 2015, 14:21

Henwife, so sorry but entirely understand how you must feel. Touch wood I've never had a fox attack (*goes round and touches every piece of wooden furniture in sight*) and my lot roam around freely all day and get locked up at night, but a few weeks ago I saw a mangy old fox around our lake at sunset... for the very first time in seven years here. It was a real shock and got me paranoid about the hens going down there but of course it was late evening and they were in their bed. But I'm on the watch for foxes, I don't know what I'd do if there was an attack here but I can understand just no longer wanting the stress and grief. Like organicchick says, keep popping in here. Don't be a stranger.
my chooks: Sage&Onion, Roger the randy cockerel, Squawkbox, Bonnie 'N' Clyde, Pancakes, Custard, Omelette & EggNog. Plus four garden cats and another half dozen feral ones that I feed. And a nursery of pipistrelle bats in the verandah roof ..

Henwife
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Re: That's IT

Post by Henwife » 10 Mar 2015, 10:31

I shan't fall off the world - just cease to keep chicken. I have always listed losses as they happen, with the reason (if known), so I know it's now a lost cause. The birds are completely free range, have unclipped wings so can fly, the two remaining hens sleep in the holly tree and the cock goes into one of the high level houses and is shut in at dusk. The most recent victim was taken from outside the front door whilst I was having breakfast & husband was out with the dogs. Seven in six weeks is unsustainable and will only get worse. Since a vixen may well have a litter of 10 and rear them all, has no natural predators, and an ally in the RSPCA, they're on a winning streak.
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Re: That's IT

Post by MrsMopp » 10 Mar 2015, 12:09

Its gutting isn't it? The last time it happened to me I managed to startle the fox in broad daylight with my best layer in his mouth by yelling and screaming. He dropped her, and more by luck than judgement she and everybody else survived. I could tell by the amount of feather in the the pen that he'd already had a go at the large orps, although as far as I can tell the tiny polands were beneath his notice, they seemed untouched. And this was inside an electric netting pen - I watched him go back out through it (and yes it was switched on, and no there wasn't a hole) - I guess the battery was failing and the shock was weak. Nevertheless he fitted his body through the regular 'stock fence' type space.

The first time it happened I lost my 4 best birds and I felt dreadful and vowed to get even. Which I did. We were clear for a few years until it started again which I kind of tolerated, but the last episode made me feel so guilty, the layer was a trusty broody, an old girl who had done a brilliant job of laying and raising over 6 years, she'd managed to avoid mareks which her sister died of, and didn't deserve an ending like that. So I also stopped keeping chooks. I miss them like anything, and will probably start again at some point. But a neighbour lost a bird just last week, so perhaps not yet.

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Re: That's IT

Post by drfish » 10 Mar 2015, 15:04

Sorry for your loss, HW. Still, we can only blame humans for this, not the fox. The fox is doing what foxes do (as mercenary as that may be at times), but it is without a shadow of a doubt the morons who are in the 'little fluffy doggie woggie' brigade that don't see the fox for what it is, a hardcore killing machine. People invite them into their gardens, even into their homes, feed them up, make them realise that man isn't a threat after all. That then becomes second nature, taught into the young pups, and will eventually become instinct. Then, until one of these do-gooder idiots suddenly has a pet cat, dog, or perish the thought, a small human badly injured by said 'killing machine', they'll never understand the damage they are doing.

I'm all for hunts, maybe not so much in method, but certainly in principle. Put the fear of god in them, push them back to where they rightly belong, and where they used to be doing a good job of pest control. Now, they are the pest!

Either that or lets start re-introducing Wolves again. See how brazen they are then :angryfire:
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Re: That's IT

Post by Lily » 11 Mar 2015, 21:30

Sorry to hear this Henwife, If you leave you'll be very much missed.

We didn't have any trouble with foxes for years, then someone killed the old fox that only came out during the nightime.
We were soon visited by a shedfull of young foxes that were not afraid to come out during the daylight hours. I'm thinking of giving up too. We just bought 3 lovely young hybrids. I'd hate to let them go but I'm sick of worrying about them.
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CP
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Re: That's IT

Post by CP » 13 Mar 2015, 10:57

Really sad to hear this news Henwife. I understand only too well the loss of birds from foxes.
If it were me, I would be gutted to think they won't be around the garden any more though. :(

Shame you made this decision now as we were thinking of buying some Speckled Sussex bantams off you this year!
Typical for us, we always manage to choose the wrong thing at the wrong time.... :roll:
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Re: That's IT

Post by Henwife » 15 Mar 2015, 12:57

At the present rate I shall have none at all by the end of the month. I suspect the warm corpse I have just retrieved was dropped by a buzzard rather than a fox. Injuries to her back were not enough to kill her - dropping from a height would have done that. Down now to a pair.
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Re: That's IT

Post by CP » 15 Mar 2015, 17:07

:( :cry:
Happy in Hampshire!

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"Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts" - Nikki Giovanni

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Re: That's IT

Post by NannyP » 15 Mar 2015, 21:52

I am sorry to read this.....I lost a lot of my flock last year and am down to 7 with no plans to increase.

I know you'll stay on the forum, but you'll have to change your name! NoHenwife!

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