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Fox on the Prowl: Calving Shed Under 24/7 Surveillance

"Co. Waterford Farmer Takes Extreme Measures to Protect Calves and Cows from Suspected Fox Attack"

A dairy farmer from Co. Waterford, Shane Fitzgerald, has been keeping a round-the-clock watch on his calving shed and newly born calves and cows after a suspected fox attack. According to Agriland, Fitzgerald spotted a fox in his yard early on Wednesday morning, April 12th, after he was out at 4:00 a.m with a heifer that had just calved. Later that morning, when he went to check on another calved cow, he discovered that the cow was missing a teat and was in a great deal of discomfort.

Fitzgerald decided to check back on his calving shed camera to see what might have happened and was shocked to see the fox lurking around in the shed. He took to Twitter to share his experience, saying, “This cheeky fecker came into the calving shed last night and took a teat clean off a calved cow. I had been out an hour earlier, and he had been there then as well. Has anyone any ideas how to keep him out or any experience of something similar? No doubt he’ll be back tonight.”

Fitzgerald explained that he had noticed the fox in the yard when he was out with the heifer, but an hour later, when he came back to the shed and opened the gate, the fox ran out. He was surprised as he had never seen the fox in there before, but with the harsh weather, he believes the fox must have decided to go in.

“It was only the next morning that I saw the cow was missing a teat – I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked, and now it is a big worry for us because now we’re worried that there could be another attack like this,” Fitzgerald said. He is now keeping an eye on the clock and checking cameras in the middle of the night to ensure the fox isn’t around again.

The cow that was attacked is being closely monitored as there is a concern that she could be susceptible to an infection. Fitzgerald said they would have to do something because they can’t run the risk of another calf or cow being attacked like this. “It would be impossible to keep the fox out of the calving shed – we can’t just seal it up, but we have cows that are calving – and maybe it was the afterbirth that attracted the fox previously. We just don’t want to be in a place where a calf ends up getting killed,” he concluded.

Fox attacks on livestock are not uncommon, and farmers have been known to take measures to deter the animals from entering their property. Foxes are known to be attracted to the afterbirth of cows and other livestock, and this may have been the reason the fox entered Fitzgerald’s calving shed.

Farmers have used various methods to deter foxes, including using electric fences, noise-making devices, and even guard dogs. However, these methods may not always be effective, and foxes can be persistent in their attempts to enter a property.

In Ireland, foxes are a protected species under the Wildlife Act, and it is illegal to hunt or trap them without a license. However, farmers are allowed to take measures to protect their livestock from fox attacks, and in some cases, they may be granted a license to hunt or trap foxes that are causing damage to their property.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued advice to farmers on how to protect their livestock from fox attacks. They recommend that farmers keep their property clear of rubbish and other debris that may attract foxes, secure their livestock in sturdy pens or sheds, and use deterrents such as noise-making devices or guard dogs.

In conclusion, farmers in Ireland are no strangers to the threat of fox attacks on their livestock. Shane Fitzgerald’s experience highlights the need for farmers to be vigilant and take measures to protect their animals from these predators. While it may be difficult to keep foxes out of calving sheds, farmers can take steps to deter them and reduce the risk of further attacks.

Categories: Agriculture