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Through most months of the year foxes are looking for food and all the more reason to protect your poultry.
Popular belief is that foxes only come out at night to hunt under the cover of darkness. They are nocturnal animals aren’t they? Well during winter time this is largely true, give or take a few hours at dawn and dusk. But during the summer months, with young cubs to feed and fewer hours of darkness, there is pressure on Mrs Fox to supply food for cubs to eat. More food means more hunting and during the long summer days there is little time for rest so we see more foxes out looking for food during the daytime.
As cubs grow, they have to start standing on their own four-legs and go in search of food for themselves, learning to hunt by instinct. This is usually during June and July
Fox cubs can sometimes be seen playing with food together but this is all a ‘game’ rather than actual hunting. Very occasionally cubs can be seen hunting with the vixen but normally, they are solitary hunters, just like adult foxes which can form groups but are solitary hunters.
Whilst it is possible to shoot foxes to protect chickens, invariably this simply creates a short term vacuum that is filled by another fox looking to create his own territory. Shooting the foxes that visits your field would only invite more to the party as they took up the new territory and potentially these foxes might find a way in to your run before learning not to go near the electric fence.
A fox that has touched an effective electric fence avoids it – so for me is a safe bet. Since they are territorial, there are few new foxes coming into the area to supplant the existing fox.
When an electric fence or electric poultry net that is commonly used, a fox receives a shock which causes a muscle spasm that feels unpleasant and cannot kill him. Life goes on, but young cubs that haven’t learnt about the fence may try to get in for a snack and if the fence isn’t robust.
If you think that gap under the fence is too small for a fox to squeeze through then watch out - they are amazingly capable of squeezing through the smallest gap