Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Red Fox and Lame Lucy .........................

Farm Friend Friday ~

Last Sunday , Dh and I went to the Shakori Hills Festival to enjoy some music and dance. We came home around 10:00 p.m. and drove down to the chicken coop so I could close the door and lock it. As we came down the drive we spotted a red fox running away. When I opened the gate to the chicken run I found a guinea lying on the ground dead. The door to the coop had blown shut and I was afraid to look inside , but I opened the door and the chickens were roosting and all was well inside. I couldn't get an exact head count since it was dark , I thought Lame Lucy was inside. But the next morning when I let the chickens out I realized it was Lame Lucy that was dead. I'm not sure how she died , the fox may have grabbed her through the fence and hurt her or she may have had a heart attack , but it didn't get inside the fence. I didn't see any visible marks , but she could have had puncture wounds I couldn't see. I know the fox was trying to get her out , it had started digging at the fence. She apparently gave up on getting Lame Lucy and went after the others. I found a pile of feathers in the backyard and have another guinea missing. She didn't have a guinea in her mouth when we saw her , but she was running from that area. I think it was one of the young guineas I just released. We had 8 keets that hatched last fall and they've been in a holding pen , I sold 4 of them and decided to keep the other 4. I released them the week before , but 3 of them have been coming back to the pen at night , so each night I lock the gate after they come in. The fox probably has kits to feed because she came back Tuesday night and tried to get the guineas that were in the holding pen. There were signs of digging and a few feathers outside the pen , but she wasn't successful that night. Thankfully the 3 guineas that have been coming back to the pen at night decided it wasn't a safe home anymore and have been flying up into the tree with the others to roost the last two nights. I'm not sure what to do about the fox problem , but hopefully the guineas are on high alert and can outsmart that fox.

How do you handle fox/predator problems ?

~ Farm Friend Friday Blessings ~



Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

a great pyranees will solve your problem. it saddens me to hear of these poor little chickens and fowl succomb to foxes who are just trying to survive. it is spring and the foxes and other predators will be in full force to feed their young. good luck!

JoyceAnn said...

Hi Kritter Keeper ~ That's a great idea , but I can't afford another dog at this time. We have two large dogs , but neither are good farm dogs. I did think about putting one in the chicken run at night after I lock-up the chickens up , but I can't leave him outside because he has killed a guinea in the past too. But I'm sure he would keep the fox away.

~ Farm Friend Blessings ~

Anonymous said...

I have a guard llama (hopefully his presence alone works because he's pretty lazy about his job otherwise) and a Great Pyrenees that barks enough to let predators know they better stay away. Other than a good dog, strong fence or shooting them is the only way I know. That's also why I don't let me chickens free range even though I loved seeing them all over the barnyard. They would come in the yard and my lab mix would kill them or they'd stay out five minutes too late and a raccoon would grab them. Good luck.


Flassie's Fil'a said...

Oh, Sorry you lost the Lame Lucy!

I wonder how deep the fox would dig if you had a concret blocks around the fence line buried? I know it is a cost but just thought I'd throw the idea out there anyways. Not sure if it would work though.

God Bless You and Yours!!!

Vickie LeBlanc said...

Ah, the life of country farming... always predators lurking in the bushes waiting to make their move. Hope you had fun at the music festival.

JoyceAnn said...

Hi Teresa ~ I don't think hubby would go for the idea of a guard llama (LOL). We have a lab mix that has killed a guinea in the past , so he's not much help. I haven't had a problem with the fox getting the chickens since they're locked up at night. We have lost a few chickens to dogs and hawks though.

Hi Flassie ~ The fox gave up on digging under the fence. I'm not to worried about the chickens , it's the guinea fowl that are being stalked. But cinder blocks are a great idea.

Hi Vickie ~ Yep , it's something all the time. We did have a great time at the festival.

~ Blessings to You All ~