When I was first down because of my back injury we had a predation issue with a fox. The sneaky little so and so raided our layer flock and in one morning while we were out to breakfast, attacked and killed a dozen of our chickens. If you’ve ever had an issue like this you know how maddening it can be. I can understand having a hen or two disappear because he/she wants to feed the pups, or just like everything in the world, it likes the taste of chicken, but not one was eaten. Heads were missing, feathers were everywhere, but none appeared to be used as dinner.
We figured out that because I wasn’t able to get on the tractor to mow down the weeds, that this little shit would hide in them and then just go on a hit and run mission. Over the past year we have had a couple of opportunities to get him, but I was still moving much too slow to grab the .22 and get him. So in the last couple of weeks we lost 5 more and that took our old layer flock from over 40 last year, to 8. We have 35 new ladies that have just started laying (It takes about 22 weeks for them to get old enough to start laying eggs). We were fortunate that it wasn’t these new little girls that were out in the free range field at the time.
How we got him:
We also had a family of feral cats arrive in our shop/garage this year. We have a barn cat for mousing (affectionately named “Fluff”) who has dropped our mouse problems down considerably. However, we have to keep the people door on the garage open so she has a place to call home. We keep some cheap dry food and some water out for her and all works out swimmingly. This year, though, I happened to look out the bathroom window one evening and there were about a half a dozen kittens and the mom bouncing around by the door. Being surrounded by estrogen, this sparked a “kitty” project I don’t think we will ever recover from! Zina got in contact with a woman in the area that traps feral cats and has them fixed. She brought over some live animal traps and we spent weeks trapping kittens, taking them to the vet, having them fixed and then integrating them into the mouse brigade.
The cat lady, as luck wouldn’t have it, got into a car wreck. Because of this we still have her traps. After our most recent chicken slaughter, we figured “why not?” We baited the traps with kitty kibble, put them out where I saw him/her escape, and about 3 days later, VOILA! Fox in a cage. This little shit won’t be bothering us again. We are still keeping our eyes out in case there is another one, but it appears this year long battle is finally over. I guess having a bunch of feral cats show up wasn’t the worst thing (except the fox was also going into the garage to get the cat food – we would go in there and the things knocked off the shelf indicated that there were some skirmishes happening). Thus endeth the fox saga for the time being. This one won’t be bothering us again.