How to Protect Your Chickens from Foxes?
The harm caused by a fox attack on backyard chickens is more damaging than just killing the birds. Most likely, the chicken may become traumatized or start attacking one another. They may also develop distrust towards humans, having lost faith in your ability to protect them from the foxes.
Bear in mind that foxes are cunning predators, and know how to avoid most traps. Therefore, you probably won’t be able to rely on a trap alone as the ultimate solution. Given that foxes are aggressive wild animals they may even become hostile towards humans in their mission.
Also Read: How to Protect Your Chickens from Hawks?
Here are some crucial tips to protect your chickens from foxes:
1. Keep the Area Clean
A fox may never attack your chickens if the area around is free of hiding places. To keep the area tidy, you need to avoid leaving food out overnight because foxes get easily attracted by the scent of chicken feed.
Moreover, mow the grass regularly and limit the chances of foxes hiding in the vicinity. In other words, remove any obstacles such as fallen trees, deep holes, and burrows where foxes can take refuge.
2. Use Protecting Fence
An electric fence with a low-voltage current can be sufficient in protecting your flock from fox attacks. However, you need to keep in mind that electrified fences are fairly expensive (100 feet of wire costs around $500) and difficult to make on your own. In addition, they can be dangerous when turned on both to the chicken and owner.
A more robust solution to protect your chicken against foxes is a fence powered by an extension cord. The wire must be higher than the chickens so that they can’t jump over it. Most importantly, install an automatic movement alarm to alert you when predators come along.
3. Get a Guard Dog or Donkey
A guard dog can be an effective solution to protect your chickens from foxes. You should consider adopting a young dog and train it yourself for a few months. The advantage of getting guard dogs is that they work independently and do not require constant monitoring.
On the other hand, you can invest in a guard donkey which is slightly cheaper in maintenance and feeding, however, requires much more space and area. Donkeys are often used by shepherds to protect their sheep from wild animals such as foxes, coyotes or wolves and can be used to guard your chickens too.
4. Lock Your Chickens at Night
This is one of the most effective ways to protect your chickens from foxes because it renders them immobile, and unable to run away. Above all, ensure that the coop is strong enough to withstand fox’s attempts to get in.
You can achieve this by installing strong hatches, way above the predator’s reach. Even if you want to keep away your chicken from the foxes, do not squeeze them in tiny spaces. Instead, ensure that the sleeping area is comfortable and well aired.
5. Use Ultrasonic Fox Repellent Sound
These special sound boxes produce a frequency that foxes find very irritating, and will often make them leave the area. There are many ultrasonic products available in the market today. The good is that they are cheap and easy to use.
Nonetheless, they only work if the fox is in range of the soundbox. Furthermore, the sound is less effective when it’s raining. If you use this method, make sure to also lock your chickens at night so they do not run away and get hurt by the noise during the day.
6. Use Flashing Lights
This is also a good method of protecting your chickens from foxes. Foxes are naturally afraid of bright lights and will stay away from them. This method works best if you mount some very bright floodlights to the roof of your coop, in a way that they can detect movement from far off but cannot get too close. Then, at night when it’s raining or foggy, turn the lights on and watch as they run away.
One benefit is that you don’t have to stay awake all night long watching your chickens. Altogether, unless there’s a floodlight in front of the enclosure this method does not protect your chickens from foxes during the day.
7. Use Automatic Sprinklers
Sprinklers are a good way of protecting your chickens from foxes, as they cause water to spray on any animal within range. However, you need to make sure that the enclosure is rainproof to avoid making your birds wet. Still, this method only protects your chickens when they’re inside their henhouse.
8. Walk Around at Irregular Times
If you happen to walk around your coop at no specific timings, there is a higher chance of catching foxes in their devious act. As a result, it is possible to keep foxes away and keep your chicken safe. This is a good method because it scares off foxes even when they’re not attacking your chickens. However, this can be dangerous for you and everyone around.
Scarier is that you can find more than one predator or a whole pack trying to get access to the coop. In such a situation, it is prudent to combine other alternatives like scarecrows or dogs to scare predators away. If necessary apply for a rifle permit to keep everyone safe.
9. Fox Trapping
Trapping foxes is not easy as most people think. Given that they are annoying pests, their main mission is to hunt and kill without getting caught. For this reason, they may avoid by all means staying away from anything that looks like a trap.
To prevent this you need to set up a reliable trap that plays its role well. You can get a whole load of effective traps in pet shops and online sites. Moreover, consult dependable experts on the best traps to use.
Sheltering your chickens is crucial in protecting them from predators such as foxes. Hence, start by building a predator-proof house for your birds. Likewise, ensure that it’s on high ground so foxes cannot reach it by climbing up.
If possible, place the hen hutch in the farthest corner of your compound away from the entrance to make it more difficult for foxes to access.