Keeping chickens safe from foxes

Foxes can be a problem for many chicken keepers. While only those of us in rural settings have to deal with things like bears or bobcats trying to eat our chickens, foxes are getting closer and closer to the suburbs! Because fox moms have several babies each year, a single fox sighting can mean there are 6 or more in the area! A fox will take a chicken every day given the chance...so 1 fox can wipe out a flock of hens pretty quickly.

Of course with all predators it's easiest to prevent them from getting their first meal, than it is to stop them once they get a taste for chicken. 

Directions to protect chickens from a fox

A fox will not leave much evidence when she takes a chicken. You may see a few feathers but usually the hen will just be gone. This may lead some to think the hen is off brooding somewhere or has just wandered off. Any time a chicken is missing like this though, there's a good chance it was a fox. Most other predators leaves a mess behind, the fox just grabs and runs off to her den to share with her family. 

Predator proofing your coop and run is important, and since foxes are known to jump high and dig well, we need to focus mostly on the run.

A sturdy run and coop with a solid floor is the best place to start. If you don't have a run on your chicken coop, you might want to build one. Foxes hunt by staying right outside the open areas and watching for the moment they can run in, grab a chicken and get out. Our biggest fox problems have been when the chickens were free ranging.

Supervised free range time definitely helps, though some foxes will still manage to make their move if you are far enough across the yard! When you realize that you have a fox problem, it's safest to end free range time until the problem has been sorted out. 

Which treats can baby chicks eat?

Every year when we raise chicks I start to feel bad for them. It must be boring eating the same feed every single day! Unfortunately for them, chick feed is formulated to be nutritionally complete. So they don't need anything else. I still like to give them occasional treat and lots of special attention. When feeding chicks treats though, you need to be careful that you give them healthy snacks most of the time.

Oh, and grit.

Young chick eating a bug

While chickens love treats like bread, it's really not that good for them. If you think about it, white bread isn't all that good for us either which brings me to the first rule of chick treats: If it's not good for you, it's not good for them. Just like when feeding adult chickens treats, things that shouldn't be given to chicks include alcohol, caffeine, lots of salt and spoiled foods.

How to raise friendly chickens

When I first started raising chickens I raised the friendliest flock you could ever dream of meeting. They absolutely loved being around us and came running as soon as we walked out of the house! The entire flock would hang around me waiting for treats and even the shy ones would beg for treats by sneaking up behind me and pulling on my clothes! I could pet and pick up each hen and they would jump up on my lap the second I sat down.

Even the roosters were super friendly.

Teenage boy with friendly white chicken perched on his head

Honestly, sometimes it was too much! Especially if we tried to eat outside because of the constant begging. If we had people over that didn't happen to like birds (I didn't know that was a thing till it happened!) they would be freaked out by the chickens walking up to them.

In contrast the first set of chicks that I let a hen raise were flighty and scared of us. They ran if we tried to pick them up and would fuss if I pet them when on the roost at night. So, what happened?

Make an easy feather necklace

Since we're getting close to Christmas I thought I would bring you another feather craft tutorial. Do you collect discarded feathers too? If you're anything like me you probably have a vase or box of feathers that your chickens have dropped and you picked up. These are great for making feathers crafts and today I want to show you how I make feather necklaces. 

These would make a super quick Christmas gift!

Handmade feather necklaces. Tutorial

I've already written a bunch of tutorials for feather décor that I've posted. I started with feather filled ornaments... many years ago. Those became pretty common so I  also made a more elegant beaded feather ornament. These are nice to make because you can use them year round, depending on what types of beads you use. I have one hanging from the rearview mirror of my truck.

I also did a few other decorations using feathers. First I applied feathers to a candle holder. Those were really easy to make in different sizes and shapes, so they match all décor styles. I also wrote a tutorial on making feather trees. Those went over really well, especially with my cat! lol You'll have to click over to the post to read the cat vs feather story.

I wanted to make something that can be gifted and worn this year so I settled on feather necklaces. 

Cooped up chickens. Do they have to come out?

Every chicken owner I know has had at least one day when they just couldn't let the chickens out for some reason. Life happens. Is it a problem if the chickens are in their coop all day? Or will something bad happen to them? Well, that answer depends on the coop.

Chickens coming out of a coop on a ladder

I'm sure you've noticed that in bad weather your chickens choose to stay in their coop all day anyway. Of course making a choice and not giving an option are two different things completely, right? Especially if the feed or water are outside! 

So the question is, is it safe to not let the chickens out? The answer is: if your coop has light, space and food/water then you're good to go.