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Jul 14 / Michael

Fox in the hen house

We’ve had a bit of a fox problem ever since moving out to the farm more than 4 years ago.  We’ve ended up losing quite a few chickens, turkeys and even some of the waterfowl (though they’re normally pretty safe if they can get to the pond).  We’ve chalked it up to the cost of doing business, because we free range our poultry.  Surprisingly, it’s just the fox that’s been bothering us.  We’ve never had any trouble with hawks or eagles eating our chickens.

Feathers

This year got really bad.  We eventually lost our entire flock.  A couple months ago, we started a new batch of 15 baby chicks and we’ve been raising them int he coop since then.  We got bold the last several days and let them out, but we lost 3 chickens on 2 separate occasions — so the fox is getting bolder (and possibly hungrier, since our free-roaming chickens were all eaten)*.

I think for the time-being, we’ve resigned ourselves to not being able to free-range our chickens, but I don’t want them to stay cooped up (so to speak) with no access to fresh air, grass and bugs. We need to build them a run.

Using some scrap fencing, posts and wood, I fashioned a prototype off the back of the coop. There’s a door on the side and this will give them a small area for exercise and fresh air. I definitely win some points for building something out of scraps.

Our new recycled chicken run

Eventually, if this works (i.e., the chickens don’t all die), I think it would be good to buy some new materials and make the run 2-3 times bigger. Oh the ever changing challenges to raising small farm animals.

New chicken run

*We used to see wild rabbits running around, but I haven’t seen a wild rabbit on our property for a couple years now. It’s not just our chickens that the fox is eating. I think the fox lives somewhere in the field, too.

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  1. 1
    Maggie B / Jul 16 2013

    🙁 So sorry about your chickens, that’s horrible. We have lost some of our geese in the past. I don’t know what the rules are in your state but here in Wisconsin it is leagal to shoot a fox on your property. When we saw one traying to take off with one of our girls you be we did somehting about it. They are such beautiful creatures, but can reek such havok on your flock. Once they figure out there is easy food in your yard they will be back untill it’s gone.

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