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View Full Version : Fox attack! I don't know what to do



H Maughan
19-10-2011, 01:58 AM
I've never in the 11 or so years of keeping rabbits ever had a fox problem. But unfortunately tonight one got into one of my setups and killed my Sally. I heard some commotion outside which is nothing unusual but I got out of bed and activated our sensor light to see a fox inside the hutch and my Dillan cowering in another corner. I ran straight downstairs as quick as I could and chased it away.

I had a feeling that something was wrong as I couldn't see Sally. She was dead in her run and it looked like it was a clean kill so I just hope it was quick. Dillan has been brought inside and although he was very distressed (I could hear his heart beating) he's gradually settled down and has eaten some grapes. He seems to be looking for Sally.

The fox did come back about 10 minutes afterwards no doubt to retrieve Sally. I debated whether to leave her for the fox and then maybe she wouldn't have died in vain but I know it would have come back again. I have another pair in another setup and I don't want to go to sleep because they're still out there. My mum has barricaded their hutch completely with heavy stuff from the garden but I'm still worried.

I feel bad I didn't get up sooner and maybe I could have saved Sally. And that if I'd left getting up I would have lost Dillan too. We've put Sally's body in the shed locked up and will bury her tomorrow. I just never imagined this would happen to me tonight :(

Mum's ordered some fox deterrent stuff to hopefully warn it off if it comes again. It's meant to smell of another fox or something. Does anyone else know what else could help? I don't think blocking off its access will work as it had no trouble climbing in and out the setup.

Helen xx

Tamsin
19-10-2011, 02:05 AM
Gosh, I'm sorry, that's horrible :cry:

Do you have a picture of the setup? It's hard to suggest fox proofing without knowing exactly what you have to work with. The main thing is weld mesh (or similar solidness) all around and easy places to bolt to for the rabbits to reduce stress.

Misty's Mummy
19-10-2011, 02:12 AM
Im so sorry to hear that :cry: ((hug))

Is there no way you could bring your other bunnies inside? Even if its just for tonight? Atleast you know they would be safe. I would be the same and worried the fox came back.

Im so sorry again :love:

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 02:20 AM
Gosh, I'm sorry, that's horrible :cry:

Do you have a picture of the setup? It's hard to suggest fox proofing without knowing exactly what you have to work with. The main thing is weld mesh (or similar solidness) all around and easy places to bolt to for the rabbits to reduce stress.

I'm just on my phone at the minute so can't post pics. The runs are around 4 and half ft high but are open air so to speak. I've just never seen a fox anywhere close to here before and after 11 years I guess I was complacent about it. I could get the runs heightened and mesh to cover everything. The fox gained access through the wall at the back of the garden there is a gap between this wall and shed that could be blocked up. I just don't know how futile that would be given how well that fox climbed.

I'm just feeling so numb to it. I never thought this would happen tonight. Do you think it will come back for my other pair tonight? I scared it off twice. After the second time I checked the back wall and driveway to see if it was still hanging about but I couldn't see it. I just hope it's been dissuaded for tonight at least. My hutches aren't flimsy so it shouldn't be able to just chew into one without me hearing, plus it has a wheelie bin and plastic boxes to get through.

Just hope Dillan is out of the woods now for shock etc.

Helen xx

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 02:25 AM
Im so sorry to hear that :cry: ((hug))

Is there no way you could bring your other bunnies inside? Even if its just for tonight? Atleast you know they would be safe. I would be the same and worried the fox came back.

Im so sorry again :love:

I can't just bring them in. I don't really have appropriate space and the pair still outside have always been outside, bringing them in might frighten them even more. They both settled down in the 3rd tier of their hutch which they never use normally. I can't see me sleeping for a while yet. Just wished the nights weren't so long now :(

Helen xx

megansmummy
19-10-2011, 02:30 AM
Oh gosh how horrific, I'm so sorry x

Do you mean that the buns had access to the open top run unsupervised? I Deffinatly wouldn't leave them in an open top run ay all...foxes can appear from anywhere at any time! They can jump pretty high walls etc. Are your other two bunnies in open top runs at night too? I would def get that covered if bring them in tonight if that's the case as open top just isn't safe at all and yes the fox could easily come back!

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 02:37 AM
Oh gosh how horrific, I'm so sorry x

Do you mean that the buns had access to the open top run unsupervised? I Deffinatly wouldn't leave them in an open top run ay all...foxes can appear from anywhere at any time! They can jump pretty high walls etc. Are your other two bunnies in open top runs at night too? I would def get that covered if bring them in tonight if that's the case as open top just isn't safe at all and yes the fox could easily come back!

As I said I've kept them like this for 11 years. I've learnt my lesson now though and will get the runs covered. I know it's inevitable that the fox will return at some point but I'm hoping I've scared it off for tonight at least. I also hope that whatever product my mum has ordered works it's magic too.

Helen xx

Azraelm
19-10-2011, 02:55 AM
Sorry this has happened.

How many do you have? The fox will come back every night until he has them all so you need to make sure they're really secure...I too have learnt from past experience when a fox killed my two.

Their whole enclosure needs to be complete secure - with a roof, weld mesh attached with u shaped nails and mesh under the grass or slabs. All doors should have proper latches.

Can you lock any outside rabbits in their hutch for tonight? Even better, move it into a garage.

Tamsin
19-10-2011, 02:57 AM
I would shut the outdoor pair into the hutch if you haven't already as yes, I think there is a strong chance of it returning.

Foxes can clear six foot, particularly something like mesh as that's easy to get a grip on and scrabble the last bit. I would think about either lids (eg hinged aviary panels) which you could padlock in place. Or go up to 6' high and then mesh over the top turning it into an aviary.

Alibunmum
19-10-2011, 06:37 AM
I am so sorry to hear about Sally. What a dreadful shock. :cry::cry: I understand why, after 11years, you thought their setup was fine and I am sorry that this has happened to prove you wrong. Hugs.

hurricanhoney
19-10-2011, 06:58 AM
So sorry

KarenM
19-10-2011, 08:18 AM
I'm so sorry, what an awful shock for you, something like that happening is my worst nightmare. :(:( I hope the rest of the night was uneventful and, if you can manage to post up some photos today, I'm sure people will be able to give you some more advice for fox-proofing.

I hope Dillan is ok too.

Aly&Poppy<3
19-10-2011, 08:20 AM
How awful :( I'm sorry :(

The smell of a human males pee is a good deterrent, the fox thinks its another foxes territory and will leave. After the fox kept coming back for the chickens my boyfriend and his dad peed outside around the field. It took a while but we haven't seen a fox for months now whereas before it was quite common.

megansmummy
19-10-2011, 09:01 AM
Hope you managed some sleep and it all stayed peaceful! xx

donnamt
19-10-2011, 09:03 AM
im so sorry :cry: :cry: :cry:

Tatihou
19-10-2011, 09:10 AM
Our rabbits are in a secure run within our chicken run - which is quite large - and the chicken run is open to the air. The wire mesh fence is about 4 ft high. Even 5ft won't deter a determined fox so we have a strand of electric fence wire that runs about 6 - 9 inches from the ground which stops a fox climbing the wire and will also prove a reasonable deterrent to prevent it digging under the wire.

I can guarantee that unless the fox dies elsewhere it will be back. They are intelligent animals and they know where food is available. Chickens, rabbits etc are a convenient fresh takeaway because unlike pigeons, wild rabbits etc, they are contained and can't run away. Foxes are most active at dawn and dusk but I saw one in a local field at 2pm the other afternoon.

For this reason, never leave a dead chicken or rabbit in your garden to pass back into the food chain (which isn't a bad thing, imo) because it tells a fox that there is food in the vicinity and it will be back. When one of our chickens died, I did leave it in the hedge for the fox or marten or similar meat-eating wildlife, but I left it about 10 minutes walk away.

But while we all want to protect our animals, please don't hate the fox. The fox has a right to life and to feed its family... we just have to be as sure as we can that what it doesn't feed on is our dearly beloved rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs...

I'm really sorry to hear about Sally, but at least she must have died quickly (possibly from fright). Foxes don't always kill at the source; I know of chickens that have been carried several fields away only to escape - minus rather a lot of feathers - by the time the fox has chance to put it down to kill and eat. This traumatises the birds (they take days or even weeks to recover their confidence) so at least Sally didn't have the horror orf being carried off and then killed.

abbymarysmokey
19-10-2011, 09:21 AM
What an awful thing to happen, I'm so sorry for your loss :(

We have quite a lot of foxes here, at all times of day and night. I've never had one get into any of my enclosures, so I'm happy to offer advice about how to make yours more secure if you post pics.

georgie_f
19-10-2011, 09:40 AM
Oh, that's really sad. :(

I'd also suggest putting a decent roof on their enclosure. I'd never really believed a fox could jump a wall or a fence, I must admit. Then I started working in the wildlife department at the RSPCA... I 'lost' our most recent fox several times - she'd jump up the walls and end up asleep within the aviary roof space or wandering around on the support beams a few feet above my head. :shock: The aviary walls are mostly sheet metal with a strip of weld mesh to let light in and then more sheet metal so she really was just jumping up there.

I hope the rest of your buns are ok this morning.

poppymoon
19-10-2011, 10:43 AM
i'm so sorry to hear about sally:cry: how is dillan today?

i hope you're managing to totally secure everything as sadly, yes, the fox will be back:cry: xx

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 10:55 AM
My dads going to build a mesh roof on both setups tonight. But I'm going to be locking the rabbits in their hutches overnight now for the foreseeable future. After the roofs are on the fox won't be able to get in as the setups are on flags so it can't dig underneath.

I'm just gutted for Dillan because he's looking for Sally. He's had supervised time in the garden and he keeps looking into their run to see if she's there. I guess I should be thankful I didn't lose them all last night.

We know someone local keeps chickens but funnily enough now we've thought about it we haven't heard them at all for a while. I'm wondering if the same fox has had them too and has been skulking around the area for another food source.

Helen xx

yvette
19-10-2011, 11:12 AM
Oh Helen.Im so sorry.Blasted foxes.
Its a shame they dont understand that bunnies in hutches are pets and go after the wildies instead.
Really hope you get something sorted to protect Dillon.
RIP Sally.xx

Debster
19-10-2011, 11:41 AM
I'm so sorry, poor Sally :cry: I hope Dillon will be ok xx

Fayelou
19-10-2011, 11:43 AM
How absolutely awful, that must have been a devastating fine. Try and bring your bunnies indoors, predators will get to them unless very well protected.

Vibes for all of you xxxxxxxxxx

Captain Helen
19-10-2011, 11:58 AM
Oh no, how awful :cry: I'm so sorry about Sally. I hope Dillan will be OK.

How about a sonic fox deterrent, like this one (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001JJAZ5Q) from Amazon? The reviews on Amazon aren't very good, but I found some good reviews on chicken forums.

I read something about sprinkling used coffee grounds around the garden, as foxes are meant to hate the smell or something, but I don't know if that's true!

Sounds like once you fix the tops of the runs tonight, they'll be quite secure. I really hope the other buns will be OK xx

Boudicca
19-10-2011, 12:57 PM
I'm so sorry what a dreadful thing to have happen :cry: I hope Dillon will be ok!

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 01:02 PM
Oh no, how awful :cry: I'm so sorry about Sally. I hope Dillan will be OK.

How about a sonic fox deterrent, like this one (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001JJAZ5Q) from Amazon? The reviews on Amazon aren't very good, but I found some good reviews on chicken forums.

I read something about sprinkling used coffee grounds around the garden, as foxes are meant to hate the smell or something, but I don't know if that's true!

Sounds like once you fix the tops of the runs tonight, they'll be quite secure. I really hope the other buns will be OK xx

I'm seriously considering getting my dad to wee on the back wall. My mums ordered some spray that mimics fox territory markings and is meant to scare others away. I don't think it returned again last night. I was worried Dillan was going to die of shock. I think, well I hope the fox had pretty much made its move when I heard the most noise and got up. It was my worst nightmare seeing it there and I don't know how I got downstairs and into the garden so quickly when it was just inches from killing Dillan. As awful as it sounds he's my cuddle bun and also the youngest and it would have been all the more sad if he'd died too.

Helen xx

Jenova
19-10-2011, 01:49 PM
So sorry. :(
Perhaps Dillan can stay can stay inside for a while? Or would it be possible to bond him with the other two?

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 02:00 PM
So sorry. :(
Perhaps Dillan can stay can stay inside for a while? Or would it be possible to bond him with the other two?

He's staying in again tonight. He's been in the garden and even been in his hutch and run whilst I cleaned it out. He was looking for Sally again and now he seems to know she's gone and doesn't want to go in the setup for any length of time.

My other pair are a male and female and Dillan and Phoenix(male) don't get on at all and just about tolerate sharing one boundary fence. I wasn't planning on getting anymore rabbits until I moved out of my parents but I don't want Dillan to be alone. Phoenix is 8 years old now but still going strong, I always thought I would be bonding his partner with Sally and Dillan. Not the other way around.

Helen xx

Tinsel
19-10-2011, 02:18 PM
Just to say I'm so very very sorry. :cry:

Barn Yard Bunnies
19-10-2011, 03:10 PM
I am so sorry about your Sally.

I had had rabbits for 9 years before the first fox attack. It wasn't an attack as such, but tried to get into our fox proof hutch. I heard Sunshine scream. I was up and out the back door in seconds. I saw the fox leg it over the high fence but very sadly the fox caused my girl to have a heart attack and she was dead when I found her.

Sunshine escaped out of the hutch as soon as I tried to get him and took 3 of us nearly 45 minutes in the dark to catch him. Not before he screamed again. :cry: I kept him in for a few weeks and got him a new companion. I put them out again. Big mistake. A few months later Nancy had her ear ripped off. The fox couldnt get in the hutch put could get her ear. It was a miracle she survived. After that my rabbits became permanent indoor rabbits.

I know many people can't do this, but just to make you aware how cunning a fox is. They will spent hours trying to get in, that is why my old girl of 9 had a heart attack, it was too much for her. It never occurred to me that a fox would hang around to even get an ear.

Oompa-Loompa
19-10-2011, 03:27 PM
I'm so sorry :( What a horrible thing to happen, I do hope you manage to keep the fox away and prevent it from coming back :(

biscandmatt1
19-10-2011, 03:32 PM
so sorry. :(

*Spider*
19-10-2011, 03:36 PM
I'm so so sorry :cry:

sparklefairy
19-10-2011, 03:59 PM
How awful :cry::cry::cry: I'm so sorry:cry:

H Maughan
19-10-2011, 04:25 PM
Dillan has happily settled down today. He's been eating, grooming, even did a little binky in the garden. His setup outside seems to smell of fox which is why he doesn't want to be in there. What could I use to get rid of the smell? I'm currently filling in Sally's role of wife-bun and giving Dillan lots of strokes, kisses and nose rubs. He seems to be happy with the fuss for the time being.

I don't even think I've quite come to terms with that Sally has gone yet because I've been worrying so much about Dillan, Phoenix and Megan and getting their setups sorted.

Helen xx

parsnipbun
19-10-2011, 04:31 PM
as everyone else has said - the fox WILL be back now he knows they are there (and its changing territory time for foxes so they will be marking out new territories).

I would either bring them in or purchase NOW a totally sealed ultra fox proof hutch and run where the hutch is WITHIN the run all sealed in so the fox cannot get anywhere near the hutch at all.

Set it all on concrete slabs with padlocks to run and hutch.

Personally speaking we have electric fence, bolted and padlocked aviary style runs, bolted hutches inside those runs with sealed boards up at night, sonic foxwatches, and spray that Scoot stuff (only works for a few days and then only to warn them off - will NOT stop them coming once they know there are rabbits there).

Even then we see the odd fox coming into the garden on the off chance we have left something open or off.

One night last week we had vandals in on the allotments who turned off my electric fence round my hens (rabbits are in garden, hens on allotments next door) and opened the aviary door to them - Fox was in within a couple of hours that night - he must have patrolled EVERY night just on the off chance.

They will come back again and again and they can dig, jump, climb, tear, chew and generally get through stuff you would not believe.

chelle
19-10-2011, 04:36 PM
Ever so sorry for your loss :-(:(