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Urban foxes killing backyard chickens in Canberra

By svg - 16 September 2011 26

Seems to be quite a spate recently of foxes killing chickens.

We lost two chickens (in the middle of the day) after a few weeks of constant effort by the fox after an unsuccessful attempt.

Neighbours also lost 5 of their chickens (here in Hackett) and others in Ainslie have also mentioned losses.

Sounds like TAMS cannot do much because urban rather than rural.

Would be interested to see who else has had problems.

Apart from the benefits of eggs, scrap eating and garden scratching from chickens they are wonderful (and loved) pets for kids.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Urban foxes killing backyard chickens in Canberra
markconley 3:18 pm 16 Sep 11

I have 4 birds (poultry) locked up for 24/7 on deep litter. No smell as the birds continuously turn the litter / droppings over, in 6 to 12 months you’ve got great garden fertiliser, Mark

Bells 3:17 pm 16 Sep 11

EvanJames said :

If geese can be murdered by foxes, chooks would have no chance. It’s a shame. Was a time when neighbours’ dogs were the main thing we had to worry about with our free-ranging ducks and chooks. Provided their shed door was latched at night, they were fine.

the fact that our three neighbours all have dogs is something we’ve hoped was in our favour. The big alsation next door is particularly loud – we continue to hope that scares off any visiting foxes. But like I said, ours never free range unsupervised. It’s just not worth the risk, but neither are they tightly locked up all day.

EvanJames 3:11 pm 16 Sep 11

The people down the hill from me have geese. When they first moved in, they had craploads of them. They get locked into a little run every night. but over the months, the flock dwindled til just one remained. They have a few more now, but the geese get to wander during the day (they visit my place from time to time), and evidently something’s been picking them off.

If geese can be murdered by foxes, chooks would have no chance. It’s a shame. Was a time when neighbours’ dogs were the main thing we had to worry about with our free-ranging ducks and chooks. Provided their shed door was latched at night, they were fine.

Postalgeek 3:08 pm 16 Sep 11

puggle said :

The ranger did mention that there a lot of foxes around, and that some people feed them…..

Chook owners, for a start.

G-Fresh 3:03 pm 16 Sep 11

Egads. This is nothing new. I remember foxes killing my families chickens more than 15 years ago in a canberra backyard.

Bells 2:29 pm 16 Sep 11

Ours are locked into a commercially made coop (just a bunnings variety) at night and have a 1.8m wire enclosure during the day. Sure, it’s bare, but we keep them well fed in grass, vegetables and other chicken food with plenty to scratch around in during the day.

They get 30-45 mins of free ranging time every evening (now that the days are getting longer) and they’re supervised for this time. We let them out for longer on the weekends, always supervised.

It does worry me that chickens have been taken during the day. Our enclosure is relatively sucure but it doesn’t have wire on the top. But at 1.8m a fox couldn’t scale it. The gate is probably the weakest point.

I’m just not prepared to have them locked in the coop all day – there’s no chance for them to dust bathe and I’m sure it’s not hygenic. I take the risk – the enclosure is a reasonable compromise.

troll-sniffer 2:04 pm 16 Sep 11

EvanJames said :

I woudln’t like to have them locked in a pen all the time… it’d get pretty smelly and bare.

Country chook runs have always been like that in my experience, unless there are other factors to keep foxes away.

I’ve seen some very nice chook pens in suburban yards where it was normal for the birds to be locked in almost 24/7. Most were of a reasonable size, as in the whole back fence by 1 1/2 to 2m wide, with substantial wire dug in to 50cm and across the top. A few had two halves, where chooks were given one half to scratch around in during the day then moved to the roosting half at night. Another one had two fully functional halves and the birds were rotated between them at varying intervals.

You can’t scrimp and cut corners if you want safe chooks, particularly in an urban environment. A relly of mine decided he wanted fresh eggs so he spent an entire weekend buying materials and constructing a rudimentary chook pen, not dug in properly, open to the sky, and if I remember rightly it took just 48 hours for all five newly-purchased birds to meet their fate.

Ben_Dover 1:50 pm 16 Sep 11
Thumper 1:50 pm 16 Sep 11

He isn’t even scary, as a spoodle he looks more like a cast member of the muppets. However, he seems to do the trick.

My dog is old, I mean, really old, deaf, blind and was a cast member of the muppets.

No foxes at my place.

Then again, there’s not many elephants or tigers either.

But seriously, make them a huge, completely enclosed cage. That’s what I have and i’ve never had a problem with foxes.

EvanJames 1:19 pm 16 Sep 11

A dog woudl sure help. Back a few decades back, you could have poultry roaming in the day, and just lock them up at night. Now, broad daylight sees foxes come and help themselves which buggers up the whole point of having the birds. I woudln’t like to have them locked in a pen all the time… it’d get pretty smelly and bare.

I saw a fox at my place, midday, a month or so back, at first I thought it was a big cat, like a cougar, the way it was moving and the size of it… but it was a brownish coloured fox. Saw me and slowly wandered off.

You see a lot squashed on the road around the airport and on that road to Qbn.

gumby34 12:45 pm 16 Sep 11

Friends of mine lost there 3 ducks in Hackett. My chicken’s have been ok (again in Hackett) but I have a dog and they are locked up in a coop that is off the ground at night. We also have put in a snake proof (?) 6 foot fence. Can you tell that Mr Gumby grew up on land.

Apparently the dog makes a difference but it is purely an observation. All my friends that have lost their poultry don’t have a dog. He isn’t even scary, as a spoodle he looks more like a cast member of the muppets. However, he seems to do the trick.

puggle 12:28 pm 16 Sep 11

Sorry, I meant to say this was in Fadden.

puggle 12:28 pm 16 Sep 11

We had a fox kill one of our chooks a few months ago, but managed to capture the fox and the rangers killed it. http://pugglelogic.blogspot.com/2011/04/rude-awakening.html
No fox troubles since, and we do take the risk of letting the chooks roam freely through the day.

The ranger did mention that there a lot of foxes around, and that some people feed them…..

00davist 12:27 pm 16 Sep 11

EvanJames said :

I think foxes (both urban and rural) have been getting more numerous in recent years. I’ve seen some bloody big ones, too.

I was going to get chooks, but it seems you basically can’t have them roaming free unless you’re there in the yard wtih them, as foxes are active throughout the day.

We lost a small dog to a fox some years ago.

I have been in the same position, both out where I am now (near braidwood) and before that when I lived in canberra (I was actually in hackett myself in 09)

I was keen to get chooks, as I had grown up with them, but I just cant see the point, at least not until I leave the rental market, then I can try and set up something safe for them.

Back when I was a kid in Mittagong we lost a few chooks, as did our neighbor, who in the end managed to create a huge enclosure, that nothing could get in or out of, without opposable digits.

Worked well, but took him a few years of trial and error to get it right!

EvanJames 11:55 am 16 Sep 11

I think foxes (both urban and rural) have been getting more numerous in recent years. I’ve seen some bloody big ones, too. I was going to get chooks, but it seems you basically can’t have them roaming free unless you’re there in the yard wtih them, as foxes are active throughout the day.

We lost a small dog to a fox some years ago.

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