Fox In the Hen House

From 50+ hens to 18 in one summer/fall season is not a good thing on the farm.

This is few of my hens.
Young chicks added to flock in 2020.

Each spring I add days old chicks to the farm livestock. This year we added five each of ISA browns, Rhode Island reds, black Australorps and Americaunas. They grew out beautiful and very healthy. My spring chicks grow out in five to six months and start laying when my older hens get the time off for molting and recharging.

After the brooder box they’re moved to the Little Red Barn where they can interact with the older chickens for a few weeks and then they’re moved into the big house.

Brooder box begins as a small tote for first week and then moved into a huge galvanized that is also 24 inches tall.
Little Red Barn is the next living quarters for the young.
Then the girls move in with their elders.

This summer after all of the ladies and rooster were together and free ranging the farm an unwelcome beast invaded the territory. He seemed to come on rainy overcast days when we weren’t somewhere out of doors and his first visit took out nine hens in one day. Our dogs tend to stay in their houses when it rains and they were not aware of what was going on. I found the dead hens laying in several places from the barnyard to the cemetery on the hill. The next day he got four more and so on and so on. We caught him out on several occasions but only got some shots off and no kills. We’re convinced that she was probably feeding her young and that’s why she got so many at one time. The following photo I pulled from the internet will give you an idea of the family she must feed . . .

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Vixen with five cubs Stock Photo - Alamy

BUT not my hens!!!!

We’ve not had a visit from her lately but my hens (only 18 remain, nine old and nine pullets) have learned to stay near cover that she can’t get into.

My young girls have started laying, two per day so far, and I only had to buy eggs from the local grocer three times. Store bought eggs are definitely different from my free range eggs.

Spring 2021 will be filled with around 25-30 young chicks, five Pekin ducks and 3-5 turkeys. I bake so much and love those duck eggs to make my bread, cakes, pies and cookies. My egg customers are begging for eggs and I hope to fill those orders by January 2021, when all nine of the young hens will be rolling out those perfect eggs.

6 thoughts on “Fox In the Hen House

  1. Carol Trutt

    I can’t believe from all your chicken’s running around 18 was left. I want to cry!!! I guess it goes with the territory. I’ll be in touch so we can get together and have our Rita/Carol fix💜💜🤗🤗

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  2. Colin

    Bloody pests aren’t they?
    I can’t recall when we lived on the property (ranch) of any foxes or dingoes taking any of the
    poultry. Crows were a problem but my grandparents were excellent shots – The Sundance Kid and Annie Oakley genes must have been in their blood.
    Most poultry farms here – free range – I refuse to touch cage eggs – disgusts me how cruel that must be – the hens are ISA Browns or Whites. They are laying machines!
    That red pen is impressive and looks quite fox proof to me.
    Cheers
    Colin

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  3. Jane Fritz

    Oh, wow. We actually had a loose dog from up the road take out 9-10 young chickens when they were free-ranging quite bear our house. I think I was lucky that I saw him come into the yard and ran out or he probably would have killed all 25. Another year a rat got in with our new chicks and took more than half of them. Our neighbor said that when the rats came for our baby pigs he was moving! Never a dull moment. What you say about the difference between store-bought eggs and “real” eggs is so true. We can conjure up those amazing dark orange yolks, often double yolks, and the real flavor of them just by thinking about it. Sigh. Good luck with your fox!

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  4. Seasonsgirl

    It’s so hard when you loose your girls after putting in the work to raise them and get so excited to have them. We got Isa browns and more Rhode islands this year as well as a couple golden comets. Unfortunately a hawk got one of the golden comet babies when they were about 2 1/2 months old and it was awful so I am sorry for you loosing so many. I hope you get the fox. We had a fox issue a few years back and were able to trap one of the babies and release it a long ways away across some water and then the mom never came back so we were lucky they only got 2 at the time. Good luck.

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