My new calf pen has a magnificent view. I can see most of the farm this side of the creek. I have a really good view of the springer paddock too which is handy.
It just so happened a little Jersey cow was calving as I fed the calves on Sunday. She fussed around for a bit, laying down and standing up a few times, making me think I should go check when I finished feeding the babies.
There was no need. She stood up and voila! A little black and white blob was left behind.
We had farming friends from away camping on our creek, and he arrived as I finished up. I pointed the calf out to him and he said he’d go have a look for me when he sorted the kids out.
I was walking back to the dairy and just happened to have one final glance toward the cow.
It was then I saw it – the bain of my existence – a red fox skulking across the paddock toward the fresh cow and calf.
We have lost more than one calf to foxes, and a cow or two.
They seem to smell the birth taking place and wait for their opportunity.
They prefer the cow to be having trouble and will swoop in of she is a little weak or has calving paralysis.
They come in and chew the navel off the calf, and the calf bleeds out.
We found a cow last year having trouble calving in the night (we were watching her at hourly intervals) that had horrific injuries. The calf was big and she did end up with some paralysis. The fox or foxes had eaten the teats off her and started on her vulva. The calf’s navel was gone and she was dead. They had started on the calf’s nose as well. The calf was only half way out when we found it.
The cow had to be put down.
Even with us coming and going the foxes were not deterred.
I called back to my friend and pointed the fox out. He jumped on the bike and went to investigate. The fox just trotted off a little, then sat and watched.
I followed down on foot and between us we bought the cow and calf home.
As it turned out the cow was ill and probably would not have chased the fox away, leaving the calf to be eaten alive.
So that’s what the fox says…. yum yum yum yum fresh calf!
Sydney Fox Rescue is another registered charity that shouldn’t be.
This is from their ‘Facts’ page.
Current fox management strategies and techniques are governed or affected by various Commonwealth, state and territory laws. The first of the listed PDF files describes legislation relating to fox care, management and removal by state. Please note Sydney Fox Rescue does not endorse the shooting or baiting of foxes or the use of snare traps but these methods are legal in some states. This pdf has been listed only to convey the legality of keeping foxes in captivity in New South Wales and the illegal nature of fox release.
“As foxes are not a declared pest under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998, there is no legal obligation for land managers to control them. Foxes may be kept in captivity, but it is an offence under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to release them.”
Further more in New South Wales you do not need a license or permit to own a fox (as a category 5 animal) under the the Non-Indigenous Animals Regulation Act 2012.
This raises another question – why are foxes not considered vermin?
Is it because the are cute? I don’t know.
Ask a sheep farmer what they think of foxes.
Ask a dairy farmer on the North Coast of NSW, where foxes are a contributing factor to abortions in their herd – on top of what I just mentioned.
Ask a free range pig producer about foxes carrying away the little piglets.
Ask the free range chook producer.
Ask people who live in the towns that have plagues of them.
Please share this with those who think we farmers are hard on the foxes. They are more than welcome to come rescue all the foxes from here before they meet their end.