With summer months upon us and longer daylight hours, the risk of a fox attack is increased. With urban foxes becoming bolder it is more likely that a fox will attack during the day or late afternoon than any other time. Whether you’ve witnessed a fox coming into the garden or you’ve witnessed the aftermath of an attack it can be traumatising to you and your flock to deal with. For tips on how to prevent predators, check out one of our lasted posts here. But what do you do after you’ve experienced a fox attack? Here are 3 tips on what to do after a fox attack…
Check for hiding hens after a fox visit
If you have the terrible experience of finding a fox that has visited your hen enclosure, your first instinct will be to pick up any hens that the fox has left behind and you may assume that any hens not there have sadly been taken away.
Recently a rehomer flagged up to us that she had walked around her paddock three times looking for missing hens and even though the grass was short she did not notice until the final walk around that one had tucked herself right into a clump of grass at the fence line.
Give your garden or free-range area a thorough check after a fox attack in case any hens are hiding. Always check for random feathers and follow the trail – you may still be able to save a hen that the fox would come back for. Try calling your hens names, even if traumatised and hiding they will usually make a little noise to say “here I am, come and get me”.
Find out how the fox was able to get in
To make sure that this doesn’t happen again, begin to inspect your hen enclosure for any damage. By figuring out how the fox was able to get to the hens, you can put into place preventative measures that will stop them from coming back. Maybe they were able to get underneath the fence, or even get through a gap.
Foxes are good climbers so if there is a tree or climbable fence close to the top of your enclosure, it is likely they were able to get in that way. By placing netting on top of your enclosure, you can reduce the risk of foxes getting in from above.
Check the durability of your hen house as well as the outside perimeter. Check for loose or slidable panels. We recently had a rehomer tell us how a fox lifted the bottom panel of a raised hen house enough to get its head inside.
Check your surviving hens for shock and injury
This horrible ordeal is very likely to cause the surviving hens a lot of shock. They will be out of sort for a long while after and will need you to coax them back into a calmer state. The best way to do this is to put them somewhere secure and quiet for a day or so, making sure they stick together and you soothe them as much as possible.
Once in a quiet spot, you should try to access each hen for any obvious wounds. If they have been injured, it’s best to take them to see a hen-friendly vet who can tell whether the wound is superficial or has caused internal damage.