Have you ever noticed fox droppings around your house? It’s a sure sign that a predator has spotted your chickens’ pen and will likely continue to prowl. Whether you live in the country or an urban area, foxes will sneak in anywhere they can sniff out potential food and easy-to-hunt chickens.
After reading this article, get some good tips on how to effectively protect your chickens from a wily hunter.
An inevitable spread of foxes in the territory
As soon as spring arrives, the fox, at the end of her pregnancy or in the process of lactation, comes out of her den and mercilessly hunts down chickens to feed her cubs and regain her strength. The fox cubs that reach their final growth need 1 kg of food per day.
The fox is omnivorous by nature, which means that it consumes game, rabbits, moles, rodents, birds, hedgehogs, but also, wild berries or fruits, cherries. It attacks mainly at night, but it will not hesitate to capture its beautiful feathered prey in the middle of the day.
The fox visits more frequently the properties that are within its reach near the edge of the woods. Indeed, deforestation encourages the animal to hunt its prey outside its natural environment destroyed by man.
A high security henhouse
Close the doors
Throughout the year, ensure that your flock has closed doors every night. Besides, your chickens don’t like to be in the dark and are afraid of nightfall for a good reason. Their instinct is to seek refuge in their coop, so it might as well be well built and secure. Also, collect your eggs regularly so that they don’t stay in the nest too long, at the risk of enticing the fox on the lookout.
Opt for an armored door
Automatic locking systems are available on the market. If you can’t integrate a power supply around your coop, consider installing a lock to secure your door. A simple hook would not be enough and would facilitate the access of the fox to its evening meal. Clever and cunning, the fox is able to blow up the hook and destroy the lock. Unfortunately, some breeders have had bitter experiences with this.
A fenced enclosure
Bound a pen
An enclosure that surrounds the coop is a second protective zone that allows your chickens to stay close to their habitat and not wander off into a field or road at their own risk. The fence can be enhanced with an electric fence for greater efficiency. In any case, there will be less risk during the day if your chickens remain in their sufficiently spacious enclosure. This does not exempt you from not bringing them inside the henhouse at night. A fox knows how to dig and could very well sneak under your wire fence.
Choose a strong fence
Prevent predator intrusion into your pen by choosing a strong, thick wire. Ideally, you should fence your coop and bury the wire 40 cm deep. The fox will tend to dig at the foot of the fence posts, hence the importance of pouring a slab. As for the size of the fence, plan on a minimum of 1.30 m high.
Tip that works! Bend the top of your fence towards the outside of the pen at about 30°, which discourages climbing or jumping.
Electrify the pen to suit your chickens.
A feeder not always accessible
It’s a big mistake to leave your chickens’ feed continuously in the pen! The food attracts foxes, rats, mice or field mice, carriers of parasitic diseases that can infect your healthy chickens. It is therefore strongly recommended to distribute the grain in the morning and/or early evening, to let them peck quietly and to remove their bowl.
In addition, disinfect your Chicken’s feeding and drinking accessories regularly with a product that respects nature and the animal’s body.
An infallible tactic of breeders
Did you know that your body odor or that of your pet scares away the fox? Yes, some breeders have the brilliant idea of depositing their dog’s loose hair as well as their own hair in the enclosure. They even urinate around the chicken coop. A good watchdog is just as effective.
In the same way, sound is a source that disturbs the fox. Make some noise by turning on a radio that will play music and podcasts during the day that will effectively protect your chickens. Also, an ultrasonic device helps to control pests.
In summary, it is advisable to reinforce the security of the hen house, the enclosure, the door and to make noise to keep away any predator: birds of prey, foxes, ferrets, martens, stray dogs. To avoid foxes knocking on the door of your chickens, the height of your fence must reach 1,50 m, even 2 m. Your vigilance is the best protection, keep an eye on your property to detect any holes around your property and visit your chickens regularly, as they are very vocal when they sense the intrusion of a cat or a dog.