Tuesday, September 15, 2009

he's back

Last night while I was at the movies something happened in the chicken coop. A fox (or something like it) snuck in and took the silkie bantam chick. No other animals were harmed or are missing. I know this because I noticed the missing bird last night when I returned from town. Every night I do a count and check on the birds and the little black hen was gone. Today while moving the fences my neighbor Roy came out and announced he heard a big ruckus around 8PM.

Tonight I was inside watching a movie and decided to take the dogs out for a bathroom break. The speakers on the movie were dimmed and I looked to Annie who wasn't interested in the word "walk" at all. Her head was cocked to the window. Outside the geese were screaming. It was 8:30.

I threw on my boots and ran out towards the coop only to catch the red flash and tail running into the darkness. From the glow of the coop, the only light in the Sandgate black, I saw what had to be the largest fox in all of Vermont. It was possibly a coyote. Seemed to stand about 18-22 inches tall but was a dark brown/red. "AWAY!" I screamed, as if it was a border collie I wanted to flank, "AWAY!"

I ran back inside to get Annie and Jazz like a small canine police force. The three of us ran out into the night and walked around the coop. I made sure both dogs left clear and present danger right where the fox stood. I'm hoping my screams, the visit of dogs, and the thick smell of their markings and post-kibble will buy me a night without casualties. But one thing certain. Our friend is back. Guess what I'll be doing at 8PM tomorrow night...

Stake out.


Blogger Fallen Oak said...

Fowl out. For the fox's order.

September 15, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger beansprout said...

No good! I hope you catch him, or he has been significantly deterred by your ruckus. I've got 10 chickens coming in a couple weeks (my first ever) and I keep thinking about all the wildlife that may take a 'liking' to them.

September 15, 2009 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger holly said...

best of luck - let us know how it goes!

September 15, 2009 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I am so sorry for your loss of the Silkie. I know this has happened before and you have tried the more humane ways to deal with the situation. While I would never condone killing for killing's sake, sometimes something just needs to go. A predator that is jepordizing your flock is one of those things and this is one of those times. Happy hunting.

September 15, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I'm sorry about your chicken. It seems like coyotes are becoming an increasing problem in the Northeast - we hardly had any here in CT in recent years, but now I've heard a couple cases of small dogs getting caught (actually in one situation, the coyote tried to take the dog, but kept getting electrocuted by the electric fence and finally gave up - the dog was pretty frazzled, but at least he was ok)

September 15, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Mancelona Woodswoman said...

My bet would be a red fox. They stand about 18-34 inches tall, which fits your description.

The coyote would be taller, at 32-37 inches. Coyotes often pack for fall hunting too. I heard a large pack just tonight.

Keep us posted on your stake out...:)


September 16, 2009 at 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We put cement slabs around the outside of our pen. For some reason our foxes dont like to dig under them. It works, whatever the reason:)

September 16, 2009 at 1:32 AM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

Raccoons ate 3 of my chickens last spring including my favorite Serena. We have resorted to putting them in the shed at night and my husband created a chicken wire door so that air could circulate here in muggy Georgia. When I went to put them out for the day last Wednesday, I noticed a ton of digging around the wire enclosure. I had been at church all evening but my son confirmed lots of 'chicken noise' around 9 PM. We have at least one active coyote in our suburban neighborhood -- I have seen it, myself so I must be getting a visitation as well. As a chicken mom, you can never let down your vigil. Sorry about the silkie, Jenna. I have shed my fair share of tears over my chickens.

September 16, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Hopper Brook said...

Have gun will travel

September 16, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Ooooh...get him!

September 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

When you get him, skin him out & nail his hide to the side of the barn as a warning to the rest of 'em. Or you could make something useful of the pelt & wear it on perimeter walks.

Good hunting to you.

PS. Nickel Creek's 'The Fox' keeps playing a loop in my head as I write this.

September 16, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

How did the fox sneak in? That's the problem that needs to be fixed. The fox is the symptom -- you're inviting it to dinner if you don't have a predator-proof coop. Predators are opportunists. Killing the fox just opens the niche for another fox to move into his/her territory and partake of your chickens again.

We have chickens too and live along a creek with raccoons, possums, skunk, fox, hawks and owls.

September 16, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Check the forum I tossed out a local guys number to help.

September 16, 2009 at 7:09 PM  

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