Lately I have been told numerous stories of flock loss due to foxes.
As you all are aware foxes are the biggest pest that poultry keepers face, even in the more suburban areas.
Foxes are destructive, killing far more than they need, and are very clever hunters, often being able to avoid dogs to get to pens.
Foxes are destructive, killing far more than they need, , and are very clever hunters.
The most common problem is forgetting to lock birds up at night if they have been on the range and the fox has the whole pen dead before the squawking birds wake you from your slumber.
One way to make this locking up a habit is to give the birds a little feed to entice them back into the pen at a convenient time.
This ensures your birds are safe and you can probably do a few little chores while you are down there.
Foxes are also excellent at getting in where they are not wanted so pens have to be well maintained and designed with foxes in mind.
I have wire about 30cm wide that you can buy in a roll and place this on the ground, flat around the pen and then peg it down.
This stops foxes digging in which they do quite quickly.
I also have roofs on all the pens with the wire quite loose which they hate climbing and ensure it is well fixed to the poles as they can penetrate very small gaps.
A hungry fox is a very brave, enthusiastic hunter and you need to check all pens on a regular basis.
Other pests such as rats and mice need to be kept in check also.
Rats take eggs and young while mice eat the tail feathers, leaving birds looking shabby.
Both eat and spoil food which costs money so it is worth eradicating them with traps and baits.
I prefer traps as they give an indication of vermin numbers, especially the ones that capture many at a time.
They are costly but effective and I find them worth it.
So keeping young birds and eggs safe is also a priority in these areas.
Finally if you range birds, you will need to give them some areas for hiding as predator birds are keen on poultry too.
I have had large hawks and eagles smash into the wire roof of a pen trying to get at full grown birds.
It is to be remembered that these birds are now protected and can’t just be shot or baited so protection is paramount.
Just like people, most meat eating animals love poultry so it is down to you to protect them.
To all my readers have a fabulous Christmas.