Fox in the Hen House – Literally

Tonight we had the local fox visit our chicken coop.  It is one of the backyard chicken wrangler’s worst nightmares – predators.  We had lost chickens before and each time took another step to protect them better based on what happened.    This time unfortunately the fox actually got into the coop.   It was not a case of them finding our free range chickens.

We lost five birds, one of the bigs (last year’s hen) and five of the littles (this year’s 8 week old chicks).  I am sad and mad at the same time. A fox came in and cleaned house literally.  They were taken from the coop this time.   Yes the gate to the run and coop was open.    The fox took more than he could use at one time and ended up burying carcasses for later use. I am mad because as the keeper of livestock, my job is to ensure they are fed, watered, kept healthy and safe. We failed them.   I am sad because being a victim to a predator is not a nice way to go out.

Now the battle is on.   We are looking at options to improve how we allow our hens to have outdoor time without putting them at risk. This fox hit the jackpot today and we are fairly certain that he or she will be back soon.   There are lots of options for us to explore.   We are looking for something that can be done relatively fast, easy and inexpensively.   We will keep you posted as we work through solutions to this problem.

7 comments on “Fox in the Hen House – Literally

  1. Just found this post so my comments are coming late; if you had a fox visit in mid-May, as you noted, (s)he likely returned by now. I’ve always said our chickens aren’t pets, but I’m probably wrong; something like this is terrible.

    We have three deterrents against predators: a really well-made coop (without opposable thumbs I’d need a crowbar to get in there … and even that would require opposable thumbs), an automatic timer that closes the outside door every night at a time we set, and several “red eye” strobes (Nite Guard) we placed around the coop.

    Ultimately, we’re probably just lucky but since putting those up, we’ve been OK. We had a raccoon problem once but we took care of that and we haven’t had return visitors.

    • Thanks for the post. I agree with you about the well made/design/changed coop to prevent predators. We continue to improve it and the run. We are always trying improve it to ensure that we don’t have repeat problems. Fortunately we have not seen the fox or their family of children since that time.

  2. I’m so sorry! That is the worst feeling. We lost half our flock two years ago when a raccoon or fox got into the coop and it was terrible. I felt just as you did-guilty and mad and sad (the surviving chickens were traumatized for a few days afterward.) Good luck finding a solution!

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