A fox has picked off all my chickens and I am desperate to get more. They were about as free-range as you can get. They had a coop with a small enclosed yard but it was always left open and they only used it to lay in. I want to get more, but I just don't know how I can let them forage and wander as they will with that fox around. I don't really want to do harm to the fox but she's got kits so it will be even worse as they mature and begin hunting as well. There has been predation during the day as well as at night, so I don't think locking the chickens in just at night would solve the problem. I am struggling with money, so any expensive solutions (or just continually getting new chickens) are out as well. We have dogs but they're useless when it comes to guarding against the fox. The fox has gotten so bold as to come within twenty feet of the cabin. What to do?! I NEED my "real" eggs! (PS If this is not the appropriate forum, feel free to have me move it...I just thought "trad foods" and "real eggs....")
Wife to DH from Mexico, and mother to DD (01/10); DS (09/11); and one on the way (03 or 04/14)
.. there's a "country living/off the grid" forum with lots of chicken people, just so you know ffr..
me, i don't think there is a solution for you that wouldn't involve locking up your chicks.
would you be able to make a chicken tractor out of your existing setup? if so, then they could still free range but be out of harm's way.
or you could get another dog, which might or might not work. or a donkey?
my dh would probably suggest killing the fox but her having kits and me loving foxes, that wouldn't really be an option for us at least.
we let ours free range but shut them inside the coop at night, but we have lots of other animals and our dogs are not the kind to let foxes ramble through the yard in the daytime. i can tell you that the nightguard blinking lights are cheap and have worked well for us so far.
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
After many years of having chickens, and losing a quite a few in the process, we've found that livestock guardian dogs (special breeds developed for animal protection) are the only thing that has worked. Our two Maremmas, now allow us to leave our chickens free ranging and unlocked at night. Just their presence on our property keeps predators to their own territory. I love them! There is a lot of info on the net about LGD's. Good luck!
Well, I'm sure this won't be popular, but I would find a way to get rid of the fox. Chickens are like a walking buffet for a fox, esp. a fox with kits. Either live-trap them, or kill them, but if you don't find a way to get rid of the fox, you won't be able to keep your chickens outside of an enclosure of some sort. Even having them in an enclosure isn't a guarantee that they are safe from a fox; foxes are pretty good at finding the weakest point in your fence so they can get to the meal on the other side.