Foxes are one of the greatest nightmares of any chicken breeder.

It almost seems like you can’t evade them no matter how much you try because of their cunningness and acute hearing skills, but you should be smarter. Your chickens can’t lay good eggs or have meaty carcasses if they aren’t safe, so you must protect them from every predator. Foxes hunt chickens because chickens are an accessible, readily available prey item. They provide foxes with nutrition and energy that helps them to survive in their natural environment. Foxes will also scavenge around poultry farms or homesteads for eggs or young birds as an additional food source.

Foxes hunt chickens because they need to eat and provide food for their family, not because they hate chickens. They usually have a large family; sometimes, they have up to 13 cubs born blind and can’t fend for themselves until they’re ten weeks old.

As such, the male fox leaves the vixen to care for the cubs while hunting for food. Birthing and growing a family take place around February and May, and this is when your chickens are most at risk.

To keep foxes away from chickens effectively, you can implement several strategies that focus on deterrence, physical barriers, and general farm management. Here are some key methods:

  1. Secure Housing: Ensure that chicken coops and runs are fully enclosed with strong materials. Use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire, as foxes can chew through chicken wire. Make sure to bury the fencing at least 12 inches deep around the perimeter to prevent foxes from digging underneath.
  2. Lock Up at Night: Foxes are primarily nocturnal, so be diligent about locking up chickens in a secure coop at dusk and letting them out at dawn after checking the area.
  3. Electric Fencing: Installing electric fencing around the coop or the perimeter of your property is a very effective deterrent against foxes. Electric Fencing IS very effective as shown by several comprehensive trials.
  4. Various Repellents. There are many repellents that have been tried by producers, Human hair, Male pee, ferret pee, alpaca and lion poop, Garlic, chilli, peppermint oil, tabasco and ammonia. These are sprinkled around the coop. All have limited success and have to be renewed repeatedly.
  5. Remove Attractants: Ensure that there are no food sources accessible to foxes, such as unsecured garbage bins, compost piles, or leftover pet food.
  6. Guard Animals: Certain animals, like dogs, llamas, and geese, can act as deterrents to foxes. Dogs if they are trained or have a natural instinct to protect livestock, can be very effective.
  7. Motion-Activated Lights and Sprinklers: Foxes are wary of unexpected disturbances. Installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers can scare them away from your property. However - these have a limited effectiveness as Foxes do climatise to them rapidly – a waterjet deterrent was set up in a bid to prevent foxes raiding a coop in a garden in Clapham, London. This was filmed using night cameras and the footage revealed that after a couple of initial scares the foxes very quickly became used to the device and were seen to ignore the water jet and continue about their business.
  8. Regularly Change Routines: Foxes are intelligent and may learn your schedule. By changing the times, you let your chickens out or locking them up, you can make it harder for foxes to predict the best time to attack.
  9. Use Scare Tactics: Devices that mimic the sounds of fox predators or even human voices can deter foxes. Reflective tape, flashing lights, or even scarecrows can sometimes work but foxes do grow accustomed to them.
  10. Maintain the Property: Keep grass and vegetation trimmed to remove hiding spots for foxes. Clear away brush and seal off any spaces beneath buildings where foxes could shelter.
  11. Monitor and Adapt: Even with all these precautions, it's crucial to stay vigilant. Regularly check for signs of attempted entry and adapt your strategies as needed. Foxes are clever and persistent, so what works for a time might need to be adjusted.

Remember, the effectiveness of these methods can vary depending on your specific situation, including the local fox population, your property's layout, and the behaviour of the foxes. Combining several methods usually offers the best protection against fox predation.

Only correctly constructed pens or Electric Fencing is routinely effective and the pros and cons of either method should be considered. Why use Electric Fencing? 

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