How To Protect Chickens From Foxes
Learn how to protect chickens from foxes in a few simple steps.
Foxes are one of the most dreaded predators on any property. Luckily for most chicken owners, foxes tend to be pretty low on the list of threats.
However, depending on the surrounding land, they can be a nuisance. Foxes can typically be found in dense wooded areas. If you happen to see a fox or two on your property, it's likely that a vixen set up a den nearby.
While there's no reason to panic if you spot a fox, it's important to know that they're extremely territorial, making them difficult to get rid of at times. You'll have to stay vigilant if you're serious about protecting your chickens from the nearby foxes.
Just because they don't attack right away, doesn't mean you're in the clear. Foxes are notorious for scoping out the area for quite a while before making a move. There's a reason they're known for being cunning.
We never recommend the killing of animals, but it's especially detrimental in foxes. They're extremely smart and are great at self-regulating their population. Should you kill foxes on your property, the vixens in the area will simply breed even more.
How To Identify Foxes
Red foxes have spread over every state in the United States besides Florida. Like many other predatory animals, they're opportunistic.
Similar to cats, foxes will stalk their prey for hours at a time. They often strike when your guard is down, in the perfect moment your chickens are left unattended and weak.
Foxes can climb fences, and can even jump up to 15 feet in the air. However, they're more likely to dig to get to your chickens.
For free-range chickens, foxes typically pick them off one by one. When attacks happen in the coop, they'll carry out as many as they can manage at once. Most attacks occur in the early morning or evening.
Look out for the following signs:
- Scat left in visible places (the appearance will vary, but it looks similar to coyote's, just smaller)
- Signs of digging under fences
- Chewing through chicken wire
After an attack:
- Only one or two missing chickens
- Little or no traces of blood or signs of an attack
How To Protect Chickens From Foxes
Fencing is the number one way to protect your chickens from predators. This includes keeping them in an enclosed run. Free ranging always leaves them vulnerable to attacks, even if you live in the city and think you're safe.
When predator proofing your chicken coop, always remember that chicken wire is only good for keeping chickens in, not keeping predators out.
Instead, use wire hardware cloth, and be sure to bury it a few inches into the ground. You can add hardwire cloth to any other weak points as well, including windows.
Install LED Deterrent Lights
Our Solar LED Deterrent Lights work well for keeping foxes away from chickens. The twin LED lights are mistaken for the glowing eyes of a predator, sending the foxes running.
You simply install them near your coop and they'll turn on automatically at dusk. The only downside is that this device works best during dusk, dawn, and nighttime, and foxes have been known to hunt during the day sometimes.
At least you can rest easy knowing your chickens are secure at night!
For more information, CLICK HERE.
Lock Your Chickens Up at Night
This is a given, but it's important to note. You should make it a point to lock your chickensup every night, without exception. Trust me, the one time you forget will be the time you suffer a loss.
Foxes will wait for that one time you're late to locking your hens up, and they will take advantage of the opportunity.
This is especially important if your chickens free range during the day, or have entry points into their coop.
Keep The Area Clean
Keeping your property clean and clutter-free is an important step in keeping unwanted wildlife away from your chickens. You don't want to give foxes (or any other animal) an easy hiding spot.
Even just a simple pile of wood or brush can serve as a safe spot for foxes to stake out your chickens. Keep things neat and tidy to cut down on the attraction to your yard.
Get Guard Animals
Guard animals are great to have around, not just to keep foxes away from your chickens, but a variety of other predator and pest animals as well.
And no, you don't have to get a donkey! Not everyone has room for that, I know. Dogs can work quite well at keeping foxes away as well. Unfortunately, because foxes are so smart, they often just wait until your dogs go indoors to strike.
You might consider adding an outdoor livestock guardian dog if foxes are a serious threat in your area.
The best thing you can do to protect your chickens from fox attacks, is to do spot checks on your coop and fencing every couple of weeks. Look for any signs of damage, and make repairs when needed.
While you can set catch and release traps to relocate pesky foxes on your property, it's not ideal. Given their territorial nature, it's likely that the relocated fox will be killed upon release.
If it comes down to it, this is an option, but you would need to do some research on the relocation area, and try not to move them too far. Unfortunately, it's likely they will come right back to protect the den and area they're familiar with.
For more information on keeping your chickens safe, check out the following articles:
Have you ever spotted a fox on your property? Do you suspect you've lost chickens to foxes? Did this article teach you how to protect chickens from foxes? Let us know in the comments! We'd love to help you!
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