If you've read some of my other posts, you have heard that we think we have a fox problem.
While I was away last week we lost one of our darling little ducklings - gone without a trace. Then it was one of the hens we got from a lady in my church. Then it was the white Silkie rooster, also from the same lady. Now the silkie left behind a field of white feathers. Some in the yard behind the coop, some going up the hillside to the railroad tracks behind the coop.
|The one lonesome remaining duckling|
Then the next day, I came home from church to find this Barred Rock feathers right next to the door to the coop. That's at least four birds in a week. I counted that night when everyone was in the henhouse and I only counted 94. That means we have lost others too. Probably close to 10.
|Barred Rock feathers|
My husband was out of town for a long weekend and I was getting quite worked up with finding all these piles of feathers. So I decided to keep the birds penned in their coop/run until he got home and could try to do something about this predator.
I read a lot online and talked to our neighbor Frank, who grew up raising chickens. From the time of day of the kills - usually middle of the afternoon - and from what remained and where the feathers seemed to lead, we guessed it was probably a fox coming for a chicken supper each day.
Frank said a big dog on a line behind the coop might solve the issue. It would bark if anything came into the yard and scare off most animals. Problem is we don't have such a dog.
Frank also suggested I walk the tracks to see if I could find any more evidence of the birds or possibly even find a den. I went up the hill to the tracks yesterday morning.
The only thing I found was some more white feathers from the Silkie. You could see where there was a somewhat cleared route for an animal to come down from the tracks right behind the coop. This might be the place to stakeout for our bird killer.
I walked further down the tracks and then circled back through the woods at the back of the property. I came across this animal trail, but I think this is used more by coyotes, who routinely kill deer in that back field. Coyotes usually hunt at night though, so I don't think that's what is getting our birds.
I hate seeing the birds cooped up but I also can't stand to find anymore carried off. Last night Doodle and I stood guard for an hour and a half before bed so the birds could free range a little. They were so happy to get outside after being locked in for a couple days. They came streaming out when I opened the door. Doodle did a good job wandering around but not being aggressive towards any of the birds.
Now my husband is home and a plan is being formulated. I'll let you know what happens.