Alert after fox attacks

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times

Residents are being urged to keep an eye on their chickens after a spate of recent fox attacks in Busselton.

Vasse resident Sarah Grosse lost a hen and 12 chicks last week.

They had not been locked up.

Ms Grosse said she woke at 3am on Wednesday last week after hearing her dog barking and found a fox on her property.

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“I discovered numerous dead baby chicks and feathers everywhere,” she said. “This particular hen didn't go into my pen that night with her babies and I didn’t see that she was out when I locked the rest of the flock up.

“The yard she was in is fenced but not fox-proof.”

“I also saw a couple more foxes a little further away, so I’m thinking it was a vixen teaching her cubs to hunt.

“Anyway, I collected all the dead babies so as not to encourage them back.”

Ms Grosse said she had been breeding chickens for about five years and this was the third time she had lost some.

“When I first started breeding, my pens weren’t fox proof, I lost 15 one evening,” she said.

Ms Grosse said it was a hard learning curve but she had rectified her pens to ensure her poultry were safer.

Ms Grosse said foxes were a huge problem in the area.

She said she regularly saw them and had friends who had also lost chickens to foxes.

City of Busselton senior natural resource management and environment officer Will Oldfield said the City carried out seasonal baiting for foxes in some of the larger reserves in rural areas to conserve native fauna and flora, but the attacks were quite common.

“The City has had a couple of reported cases but this is not unusual,” he said.

“Foxes will occasionally come into urban areas in search of food.

“They will scavenge, hunt for live prey and harbour in bush areas.”

Mr Oldfield said the City investigated reports of harbouring sites in urban reserves to see if safe control methods would be effective.

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