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A fox’s response to a fence is influenced by various factors including the fox’s experience and motivation for crossing the fence, fences cut through a fox’s regular run and if they know a short cut to where they want to go they will take it.
An obvious motivation is a source of food such as poultry, sheep or lambs, or newborn calves. A fence is only as good as the determination of the fox to get through and a hungry female with a litter to feed can get desperate. Once the fox associates a particular location with a food source, it will be determined to get through a fence
The only way to deter fox’s from coming onto your property and causing havoc is to make the fence inaccessible in every respect. While most fox’s will readily cross a conventional livestock fence, they will also get through high tensile electric fences with entry points. They could get through farm fences by crawling under, or getting over if they are so bound and determined.
Farmers should check the outside perimeter fence for points that need to be fortified. Over time fence posts heave, and bottom bars that appear close to the ground leave a gap underneath. Tractor ruts under gates and fences over ditches offer crawl through spaces.
A fence is not effective when vegetation is not grazed or cut right up to the fence. Although an HT electric fence is cheap and easy to put up, with adjacent vegetation, there is too much drain on the power supply and a fox can get in anywhere. The vegetation needs to be kept clear from both sides and the fence should have a minimum shocking power of 5500 volts. However, many farm energisers can’t maintain this during a heavy fence burden.
An adequately designed and constructed electric fence works by the combination of a weak physical barrier (the fence) and a strong psychological imprint (the 6000v sting) created in the mind of the animal. An energiser attached to the fence wires produces a short but painful sting when touched by the animal, similar to a sharp “thwack” from a riding crop. The low amperage (15-100mA) and short duration (about 1/300th. of a second) results in a sharp but safe sting that then creates a psychological barrier that the animal associates with the fence and discourages it from touching again. Fortunately it only takes one or two animals to be affected and the rest will copy these, called “Socially Conditioned Avoidance”