Sadly, many people have lost their chickens, ducks, geese or other poultry to a fox. Foxes are careful, fastidious hunters and there isn’t normally much evidence of a visit. If birds are out in a large run or field during the day, a small patch of feathers is normally all you will find. The times your birds are most at risk is when foxes are feeding their cubs in the spring. Another time to be careful is around August when the mother leaves the cubs to go and find their own food.
There are two options here which are the most effective means of protection if done properly: a tall fence or an electric fence. A tall fence should be at least 6 feet high and ideally have an outward sloping top to prevent the fox from climbing over into your run. Electric fences are good at keeping foxes out if they are working correctly. Electric fences come in two varieties – the poultry netting that has electric strands running through it and the electrified ‘wire’ that is placed in front of the existing fence to stop a fox digging under or climbing over the fence. To be effective, there needs to be electrified strands at sniffing height. A fox will always use its nose to investigate first and after receiving a shock from the fence, it will act as a psychological barrier.
Sheltering Birds at Night
This seems to be obvious – and of course it won’t stop visits during the late afternoon or early morning, but you are more likely to have a fox visit during the night. So, lock up those birds every night.
This is another obvious suggestion, but imagine a strong dog with a tugger toy, a fox is no different in terms of strength and if he can get hold of a panel or door, he can tug quite hard to open or break it. A flimsy door catch on a hen house in an unfenced area presents no great challenge to a determined fox.
Humane fox traps are large cages that are baited. When the fox enters, it triggers the trap, closing the door behind him. Traps need to be placed on a run known to be frequented by the fox. Traps need to be camouflaged since foxes are very intelligent creatures. Traps must be inspected frequently and of course the big question is what to do with it if you succeed in capturing it.
A flashing light can work as a deterrent if you move it around regularly. Once the fox gets used to it, it will no longer be scared but it can be a useful deterrent in the shorter term.
A family dog may keep a fox away. The fox can smell the presence of the dog which can bother the fox and help keep them away from your property.
Some llamas will keep foxes away by driving them off. If a young llama grows up with the flock and sees them as ‘family’ it may become motivated to chase foxes away.
Creatures Corner Fun Facts
The chicken can travel up to 9 miles per hour when it wants to.
Chicken language has real meanings. The birds give different alarm calls depending on which type of predator is threatening them.
There are four cities in the United States that have the word “chicken” in their name: Chicken, Alaska; Chicken Bristle, Illinois; Chicken Bristle, Kentucky; and Chicken Town, Pennsylvania.
The greatest number of yolks ever found in a single chicken egg was nine.
In Gainesville, Georgia, a local ordinance makes it illegal to eat your chicken with a fork.
The waste produced by one chicken in its lifetime can supply enough electricity to run a 100-watt bulb for five hours.
There are over 5,000,000,000 chickens in China.
The longest recorded distance flown by any chicken was 301.5 feet.