Domestic Waterfowl Club.



Two sorts bio security and predator whether two or four legged The first is dealt with on the Illnesses pages.

 The second here:-
 Foxes: To lose one bird to a fox is distressing. To lose your entire flock to a fox attack can be soul destroying, it can lead to some people giving up poultry keeping rather than continue to struggle with persistent predation and the associated trauma.  There are  a number of techniques: electric fences, roofed-in runs, dug-in wire, radios. Also the times your birds are most at risk is when foxes are feeding their cubs in the spring. Another time to be careful is around August time when the mother leaves the cubs to go and find their own food. You are more likely to have a visit from a  young fox during the daytime when the cubs are learning to hunt and aren’t so wary of people.
1. Don't let your flock out into an unsecured area too early in the morning. If there is insufficient noise and disturbance (non-chicken related) in the area then it's quite possible a fox may be lying in wait more foxes eat early than at night
2. Keep your boundaries well secured. Foxes will look to exploit any weakness, be that a short circuit in an electric fence or by expanding a hole dug by a rabbit or rat . It may take weeks for the fox to find one, but you can be sure if your birds are on the usual route the fox takes, it will check.
3. Walk around your flock at irregular times. A pattern to your movements is no different to a weakness in your fence.
4. When the birds go to bed, be there to close the door - in fact be there 15 minutes before.
5. Be aware that foxes can and do feed during the day so a fence to dscourage him in the darker months does help

THE most effective means of protection if done properly: poultry fencing or an electric fence. A good fence should be at least 6 feet high if it’s not electrified and ideally have an outward sloping top to prevent the fox from climbing over into your  run. Electric fences are becoming more popular and are really quite good at keeping foxes out if they are working correctly. If the battery is flat, or the fence is shorted to ground via some overgrown vegetation touching the wires then it is a pretty pointless exercise. Electric fences come in two varieties – electric poultry netting that has electric strands running through it and the electrified ‘wire’ that is placed in front of the existing fence to stop a fox digging under or climbing over the fence, often called a tri-wire. To be effective, there needs to be electrified strands at sniffing height. For two legged thieving foxes I prefer the 36 inch inside leg height. . . mine is mains more of a fiddle to install but safer and needs weekly rather than daily checks

Locking up your birds at night This seems to be obvious – and of course it won’t stop visits during the late afternoon or early morning but you are more likely to have a fox visit during the night. So lock up those birds EVERY night without fail! Automatic Pop hole openers work better with hens than ducks unless trained from tiny

Secure accommodation again  fairly obvious one but imagine a dog or cat with the fridge , a fox is no different in terms of strength and if he can get hold of a panel or door he can tug quite hard to open or break it. Flimsy door catches on a hen-house in an unfenced area present no great challenge to a determined hungry fox.

Rehoming Urban foxes. . . one nice man in a van dropped a load off near the A303 for a new life in the country.... it was short those not shot on arrival  did not agree with baited traps. If you move a cub you are giving the problem to someone else contact an animal charity. Ditto with ferrets I once had 15 in a week one tame one survived.

Hunting Cam 'pir' by preference with night vision . . . now much cheaper from China on ebay. I found my thief was not fox shaped but gentlemen with dogs and remember if not close leg rung the police cannot determine ownership so the thief keeps the birds. Another one nicely photographed was a local person actually stealing eggs and chicks  but as their car then shed all its tyre valves whilst on my property I doubt if he returns. Stealing is a soft touch crime  as virtually no chance of getting caught or the birds returned so the camera proves wonderful

Rats. .  yes they steal food they also cross infect birds and will kill youngsters so do keep up with watching for runs and feed them well with a bait that they are not resistant to in your area. If unsure ring environmantal health they will tell you the best sort to use. The type of trap below works fantastically with mice but rats need a bigger barrel. . . the bait is peanut butter , cat food works too

Victorian version

The  can must revolve. If placed on the run they use the contents are gruesome but watch out if muscovies are kept they fish out the mice which isgross

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