Protecting your chicken from any potential predators should be a priority. Some of your chicken’s biggest enemies are foxes. These are smart animals who make calculating moves every time they intend to cause havoc to your chicken.
Usually, they attack in the wee hours of the morning, or late in the evening when they can go undetected. Being smart animals, they take some time to study the coop and run before making the attack when they are ready to damage.
Fortunately, you can always protect your precious chicken from the cunning foxes by taking certain precautionary measures described below.
Why are Foxes Deadly Predators?
Foxes are considered among the deadliest chicken predators because they are sly, cunning, fast, and clean. You are less likely to notice a fox was in the coop unless you catch it on track. If you have many birds, then the dilemma will be noting a drastic reduction in birds’ numbers.
What’s more, dealing with foxes can be a nightmare because of how smart these little animals are. They tend to first survey and observe everything in your home, chicken coop, run, and all free-range spaces before they can plan to attack.
They also know how to schedule, hence will keep track of your routines. They will note when guardians are likely to be away and will only attack when the coast is clear.
Types of Foxes and Their Behavior
There are different types of foxes one would generally expect to see. These are the grey, kit, artic, and red foxes. All of these types of foxes differ in color, appearance, and behavior. Chicken owners are likely to have to deal with the red fox because it is the most notorious to chicken attack.
Generally, though, all the foxes share their cunningness, smartness, and their ability to learn fast. A farmer has to be smarter if they are to unwit a fox that is set out to have one or several of your chickens for dinner. Planning to deal with potential fox attacks is the best way to counter them.
How to Tell that Foxes are Behind Your Chicken Disappearance
It can be challenging to identify the exact predator attacking your chicken. Even so, it is important to find out the exact culprit if you are to fix the problem correctly. You can easily tell that a fox was in your home by the claw tracks they leave behind.
Apart from claw tracks, you can also conclude that the fox is behind your recent suffering if any of the following signs keep repeating:
- You keep losing one or two of your birds. When this keeps happening, then foxes are around
- You lose chicken when they free-range
- No evidence for lost birds apart from a few feather clumps
- You notice attacks happening early in the morning or late in the evening
- Little to no evidence of blood
- Injured birds in the coop. The birds will certainly put up a fight before one or two are carried away. Check for neck injuries and back punctured injuries on the survivors
Once you prove that foxes are causing a menace, then focus on protecting your birds. Fortunately, foxes are easy to prevent since several preventive methods can be used to do this successfully. Find a technique that works for you.
How to Protect Your chicken from Foxes
Here are practical steps you can take to ensure that foxes don’t claim all your chicken.
Watch Out for Secure Areas
Unless you are present to watch over the chicken, do not release them into unsecure places early in the morning constantly. Usually, foxes have already discovered your routine and could be lurking somewhere waiting to attack.
Be wary of too much silence in an area that would otherwise have natural disturbances like birds chirping. It is possible that a fox or several foxes lay in wait to attack your chicken. It is better, therefore, to keep the chicken away.
Play Smart and Cover all Boundaries
Remember that foxes are smart animals whose aim is to hit their target as quickly as possible. This means that you should always be ready to cover all bases. Foxes will exploit all avenues that they get to gain entrance into the coop. Check to verify that no loopholes for the foxes to explore.
Further reading: How to Keep Raccoons Out of the Garden
Cover any holes that have been left behind by rabbits, and fix your electric fence whenever there is a short circuit because the foxes will be on the look-out. Focus on any potential routes that foxes follow and seal any entrances because it is a matter of time before the cunning foxes find a way of getting into the coop.
One of the most effective ways to destabilize a predator targeting your chicken is to confuse them by randomly checking on the chicken. Note that foxes are smart and can easily figure out your routine if you make it regular. Never show up around the coop at particular times, but instead move around it at irregular hours.
Never let the fox trace a pattern because it will remember it and plan its attack when you are not around. If you want to avoid the frustration of walking into your chicken coop the next day to find them all dead, then make your visits random and unexpected. The secret to confusing the foxes is the spontaneity of your checks.
Lock the Door Yourself
Never let the chicken go to roost without supervision. It helps if you show up earlier to verify that they have all been accounted for. This works well if there are no extra loopholes for the foxes to explore. Showing up to lock the birds allows you to confirm that there are no spaces that could be ignorantly left for the foxes to use.
Never Assume Timings
While it is true that foxes majorly hunt during late evenings and early mornings, it would be a mistake to assume that your chicken is safe during the day. Always take precaution all day long, because younger foxes enjoy hunting during the day. Being on the lookout should also protect your chicken from hawks and other daytime predators
Never assume that your birds are safe just because there is light, and foxes are probably asleep. Different foxes behave differently; hence should never be underestimated. Chicken owners have to be extra vigilant, especially in areas prone to fox attacks.
Clear Bushes By Mowing the Grass and Cleaning the yard
Most of the foxes that target your free-range birds hide in overgrown grass and small thickets in your backyard. Make sure that these areas are cleared and easily visible. Never encourage the foxes to hide in wait since they will take advantage and observe your every move before they attack.
Use Perimeter Fences
In case your birds forage a little distance from the main house, consider putting up perimeter walls to bar foxes from getting into this space. In addition to the fence, have a guardian animal around to keep watch.
You can have one of your specially trained guard dogs stay around as your birds forage. Preferably go for a loud and huge dog that is likely to scare off the predators or alert you whenever the foxes appear. This is one of the easiest ways to protect your birds without affecting their foraging habits.
Put Up An Electric Fence
In case you want to do a fence that lasts, then consider an electric one. These will be more effective on predators because it will scare them without necessarily having to harm them. The little electric sensations will keep the foxes away.
Just be careful to ensure that the fence is always on and that it does not short-circuit at any time. Remember that foxes are extremely smart and that they will be looking for different ways to ensure that they can bypass all the defenses.
Invest in motion sensors and floodlights as this will protect the birds from attacks at night. Foxes will stay away from well-lit coops because there is no telling if someone is watching. Fox lights are best suited for this because they are suited for this.
The random flashing lights that come in different colors make it impossible for the foxes to master patterns that make it easy for them to plan an attack. Using ordinary floodlights may not work for these smart animals. It would help if you got long-lasting light effects to discourage them consistently.
Foxes are smart predators that will want to eat your chicken any chance they get. It is possible to facilitate their behavior by unknowingly ignoring to cover all your bases.
Check this too: How to Protect Your Chicken from Raccoons
Always remember that foxes will use any avenue to get into the coop or open foraging spaces if you are practicing free-range rearing. Whether you choose to use a fence, a guard animal or decide to patrol every day, just make sure the foxes never learn your patterns.
When dealing with foxes, a smart approach is advised. You should first verify that they are the culprits behind your chicken’s disappearance and explore different solutions that could work as you observe the most effective ones.