Keeping foxes away from your land and poultry require both a sturdy coop and a selection of deterrents and preventative measures.
Many poultry keepers regard the chicken cop as the first line of defence against the the fox but in reality it should be the last.
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Remember that foxes are intelligent animals, so it's important to use a combination of tactics to keep them away from your chickens. Be consistent in your efforts and stay vigilant to ensure the safety of your flock.
There are many ways that you can ensure your hens are protected, and this is completely dependent on what situation you have them housed in.
For hens that are housed in a small garden or enclosed space, the process of "fox-proofing" can be quite quick and simple to implement. However, free-ranging hens on a huge landscape can be incredibly more complex and multi factorial in its nature.
How do I make my chicken run fox proof?
Keep vermin away. Rats mice and other vermin attract foxes as well as snakes.
Build you coop away from fences and walls that may be natural cover for predators.
Below: Consider using a solid base to any fences you want to be fox proof and make sure they are at least 12 inches below the surface.
A solid concrete foundation, galvanised tin sheet or brick works fine.
Do not have ready access to food and water. All wild animals will be attracted to food and water sources and if they can't get to the water or food they will go elsewhere.
Below: Always use weld mesh or hardware cloth and not chicken wire.
Here are some tips for building a secure fox proof chicken coop:
- Use sturdy, high-quality materials such as solid wood and wire mesh to construct the coop and run,
- Make sure the coop and run is tall enough that foxes can not get on top of it,
- Use Weld mesh, hardware cloth or chain link fence instead of chicken wire,
- Bury fences at least 12 inches into the ground,
- Make sure the coop is elevated off the ground to prevent foxes from digging underneath or use a solid concrete base,
- Add a layer of paving slabs around the edge of the coop and run to stop digging,
- Install a heavy-duty lock on the door to keep foxes out,
- Include a fixing point near to the ground on doors,
- Have a procedure for locking up properly at night,
- Use barbed wire along the top edges of fences so any fox jumping up will get it's paws pricked.
- Use wire mesh to cover all windows and ventilation holes to prevent foxes from using soft entry points,
- Consider adding an electric fence around the coop to provide additional protection,
- Keep the coop and run separate so if the fox gets into the run at night it still can't get to the chickens.
Keep the coop clean and free of food scraps to eliminate the odour that attracts vermin or foxes and make sure to close the coop door at night and lock it securely.
This article is part of a 5 part series of guides on dealing with foxes:
- Outfoxing the fox, the complete guide to protecting your flock with all your questions answered.
- Can chicken runs be fox proof and how to achieve it.
- How do you know if it is a fox killing your chickens?
- Dealing with Foxes. What you need to know about catching, trapping and killing them.
- How to deter foxes and keep them away from poultry.
Avoid letting your chickens roam outside during dawn and dusk, when foxes are most active.