Bad news at the coop

Warning – contains yucky stuff….

When I went to feed the chooks this morning, there was only 3 in the pen.  2 were missing.  The broodie one and one of the old red girls.  I thought they might be in the coop.    But it was empty.
After a quick search of the yard, I found them.  It was not good.  Both were dead.   One was headless and the other had a piece ripped out of her.
Fox or Dog?  What ever it was found a small piece of fence that was lifted and managed to get inside the coop  – the wire is all buried, but one spot must have been dug up during earthworks.

Despite living just 5 minutes from the city centre, we do live opposite a parkland that runs through several suburbs.  The parkland ends with thick scrub, before climbing up to the other side of town to even more scrub.  (for the locals it is the top end of Black Gully) 
Hubby thinks it was a fox, that has made its way up from the gully.

street map

What ever it was, the front gates are now shut and the coop is in serious lockdown.  Sadly this has solved what to do with the Broodie hen and the one of the 2 older girls that only lays occasionally. 

I will be sleeping lightly tonight and hope ‘it’ doesn’t revisit tonight!


5 thoughts on “Bad news at the coop

  1. Sorry to hear about your chooks. I can tell you there are quite a few foxes on Gowrie Creek, in the rail yards and further back toward town.

    They range a long way when hunting: up to 2km in radius from their earth, so your henhouse would be a candidate, unfortunately.

    Love your blog, by the way.

  2. Hi Emily, it could have been a fox. I can’t remember for the life of me, but early one morning while I was driving my taxi I saw a fox well within the city limits. I was stunned to see it as close as it was, but like I said I can’t remember exactly where. So they are out there.
    Sorry to hear about your chooks, several years we had something go through and clean up all ours one night. I’t pretty heart breaking.

  3. Im sorry to hear about your chooks Emily, what a sad end for your little brooder. The fact that they weren’t actually eaten would suggest well fed pet rather than hungry feral fox wouldn’t it? Hope you manage to secure the coop so it doesn’t happen again.

  4. My instinct says fox too. They can squeeze through the tinest of spaces. They also tend to kill as many birds as they can, then try to drag away the bodies to consume later. Unfortunately, now he’s had a hit a your place it will become one of his regular stopping points. I know that sounds scary, but it’s better to know what you’re up against.

    You can try digging in some corrigated iron 30cms under ground, around the coop and/or run. You can also dig in some chicken wire around their enclosure. It only has to go down about 10cms, but extend it approximately 1m out from the base. If a fox tries to dig underneath it gets it’s claws caught in the wire.

    I’m not sure if this will work or not, but you can also encourage your husband and sons to pee around the fence boundary. Foxes respond to dogs marking their territory and will give it a wide berth. A hungry fox may risk it though.

    Another thing you can try if you haven’t buried the bodies of the chooks yet, is hire a cat trap from the local council. Put one deceased chook inside and they’ll come to finish off their meal. You then return the live fox and cage to council, for them to dispose of. Make sure you talk with council though to make sure they know what you’re using the trap for. They should be able to let you know how and when they’ll accept the live fox for disposal. That’s if they do.

    Sorry to hear about these events visiting your backyard. It’s not something you expect happening in suburbia. Unfortunately foxes are becoming more present in built up areas, to try and score an easy meal. They’re cunning and a menace.

    Let me know if you need any help fortifying your enclosure and I’ll come around. I think I have a spare roll of chicken wire in the shed. I could probably rustle up some pullets from here as well, when you’re ready to try again. 🙂

  5. Thankyou everyone for your comments.
    There was no evidence this morning of digging or attempts to get in to the coop. But I will continue to lock the gates shut with wire everynight.
    The girls are still rather quiet, and stick close to the pen. But I am getting eggs again… I thought they would be too upset to want to lay?

    I have always expected something could get in to the coop, so we built it strong, but it is still shocking to see all the feathers and ‘stuff’
    Chris, I will let you know how I go, but thanks for your offer of help.
    Again thanks everyone, Emily

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