The fox not only steals the goose, as an old folk song would have us believe. Chickens are also often attacked by foxes. Some poultry farmers make it very easy for Reineke Fuchs and he can get the animals out of the chicken coop or enclosure with little effort. However, as a chicken keeper, you can take appropriate precautions and prevent the fox from grabbing your chickens.
In this guide, you’ll learn what’s especially important for fox defense. Make your chickens’ home fox-proof – preferably before the predator has killed the first chicken!
Chickens must be protected from the fox both in the countryside and in the city
The fox is the most widespread predator on the planet. It is also called a typical cultural follower, because it can adapt to almost any habitat. The fox prefers to live in the countryside in areas rich in cover and forests. In recent decades, however, it has also created a habitat for itself in cities. The most important reason for this is that humans offer it a diverse range of food. In settlements, for example, foxes like to eat waste. The pressure of having to hunt constantly is thus removed for him. The fox has shed its extreme shyness towards humans and has gained a certain trust in them, so that it feels comfortable in cities.
Therefore, as a chicken keeper, you should not only be wary of the fox in the countryside. Even if your chickens are at home in a garden in the city, you have to protect them from foxes as best as possible.
Meat tastes especially good to the fox
Foxes are omnivores, but they especially like meat. Besides the many mice or rats that the fox catches during the day, he also likes insects, snails, worms and grubs. If he is fast enough, he is pleased with the meat of birds, wild rabbits and field hares.
The fox is particularly interested in domestic fowl such as a chicken or a goose, as he only needs to catch the animals within a clear area such as a coop or enclosure. Especially at night, when the chickens are sitting quietly on their perches, they are easy for the fox to catch. At dusk or dawn, he especially likes to strike.
The enclosure of the chickens must be made fox-proof
A fenced enclosure, which the fox cannot enter from the outside, is a must in fox defense in chicken keeping. The fence should be at least 180 centimeters high and ideally bend outwards. This will make it more difficult for the foxes to climb the fence. If you discover a hole in the fence, you must patch it immediately, otherwise the fox will use it to get in.
Foxes can dig very deep. As a chicken keeper, you protect the enclosure from being tunneled under by the fox by lowering the fence 80 inches into the ground.
Another very effective way to repel the fox is with electric pasture fencing. The electrified poultry fence prevents the fox from climbing the fence and from digging underneath. The electric poultry fence also has the advantage that it is mobile and you can give the chickens the opportunity to scratch and peck in new areas all the time.
The chicken coop must be suitable for fox defense.
A good defense against the predator fox is also a chicken coop that is fox proof. You should definitely opt for a lockable coop so you can lock your chickens in at night. Since the fox is a good climber, the chicken house should be completely enclosed with nowhere for the fox to access.
In our guidebook What you need to consider when keeping chickens in the garden you can learn more about the general conditions of keeping chickens in the chicken house and outdoors.
Deterrent measures keep foxes away from the chicken coop
Ultrasonic devices have proven effective in deterring foxes. A sensor reacts to warm and moving objects. The device is then activated and emits sound signals that drive away the unwelcome visitors.
You can also use your dog’s scent and marking behavior to chase the fox away. The dog is one of the fox’s biggest enemies, so it will run away when it smells the dog. However, the smell does not chase the fox away for long and permanently.
Changing the environment around the enclosure has also proven effective. You can daily change the arrangement of branches, buckets or other objects around the enclosure. This irritates many foxes and keeps them away, but it also doesn’t help permanently.
If you install outdoor lights that are turned on by motion sensors, the foxes will get scared and leave. However, the light will drive the foxes away only at night. During the day you can install a radio and turn it on loudly. A station with a lot of talking on it will keep the foxes away.
With the appropriate measures, you can very effectively protect your chickens against the fox. For this you need to buy a fox-proof chicken house or build it yourself. You can secure the enclosure with a fence that is low, high and bent at the top. Particularly effective in fox defense is the electric chicken fence with a pasture fence device or an ultrasonic device. Other measures such as marking dogs, outdoor lights with motion detectors or changes in the environment usually only help over a short period of time.
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