Contents: How To Keep Foxes Away From Chickens
- How Do I Stop Foxes Getting My Chickens?
- How Do You Keep Foxes Away From Chickens During the Day?
- What Scent Will Keep Foxes Away?
- Conclusion: Will a Fox Keep Coming Back for Chickens?
How Do I Stop Foxes Getting My Chickens?
If your chickens are free-ranging, a fox will most likely attack only one chicken at a time. But, if a fox gets into the chicken coop, it will kill as many chickens as it can. So
you definitely want the chicken coop well secured and locked at night.
So let’s start with a few ways you can keep foxes from getting into the chicken coop:
Fox-Proof Chicken Coop
When it comes to chicken coops, one of the most important things you can do to protect your flock from a fox is to make sure it’s fox-proof.
A floor made of solid material, such as concrete, will make it difficult for foxes to dig their way in. Wire mesh can also be used to cover any openings in the coop, such as windows and vents.
By making these simple changes, you can help keep your birds safe from foxes.
Hands down, my favorite way to prevent foxes from burrowing under my chicken coop and run is the predator apron system.
A predator apron is simply fencing material that is installed above the ground and runs along the perimeter of the chicken coop and enclosed run.
When a fox tries to dig underneath your coop, they’re not going to dig at the outskirts of the apron. They’re going to be digging as close as they can to the base of the coop where they’ll immediately run into the apron.
To see how you can quickly build a predator apron, watch the video below (or keep reading).
To make a predator apron, you’ll need:
- Fencing material (Amazon) that’s at least 24 inches in height
- Galvanized poultry staples (Amazon)
- Hammer (Amazon)
- Hog Rings & Hog Ring Plier (Amazon)
All you have to do is attach the fencing material to the bottom boards around the perimeter of the chicken coop by hammering in poultry staples. I use galvanized poultry staples because they don’t rust like regular staples, and they’re strong enough to keep foxes and other predators out.
Make sure to pay close attention to the corners where you attach the seams of the fencing material together. For some reason, foxes love to start digging in the corners. So make 100% sure that the seams are securely attached.
To keep the seam secure, you can use hog rings and a hog ring plier to fasten the fencing material where it overlaps. There’s no way animals can rip the seam apart this way.
One mistake beginner chicken keepers do all the time is using chicken wire around their chicken coop and run.
Chicken wire = Not good
I personally don’t use chicken wire because foxes and other predators can easily tear through it. Chicken wire is more for keeping your chickens in than keeping foxes out.
I really recommend you replace any chicken wire with 1/4 inch hardware cloth (Amazon) because it really works to keep all sorts of predators out of the chicken coop.
Predator Deterrent Lights & Spikes
If you really don’t want nighttime animals to be around your coop in the first place, what really works for me are 2 things.
The first thing that I bought on Amazon was called Predator Guard (there are also other kinds of predator deterrent lights available on Amazon). Predator Guard introduces a pair of flashing red lights that animals assume is a set of eyes. It scares them and makes them stay away from your yard.
I installed 4 of these little gadgets around my chicken coop, facing out in all four directions. It scares foxes, deer, wolves, coyotes, skunks, bears, and many other nighttime predators.
The other thing I got were deterrent spikes (Amazon). This is just in case some of the animals don’t get scared of the predator deterrent lights.
How Do You Keep Foxes Away From Chickens During the Day?
If your chickens free-range really far away from your home, make use of tall fencing with a predator apron and deterrent spikes (Amazon). Foxes can climb, but they prefer to dig under fences.
Electric poultry fences (Amazon), in some cases, don’t seem to stop foxes very much. They’ll either slip between the lines or jump over it. They’ll also learn when the electric fence is on and if and when it’s ever turned off.
An electric fence might work for your chickens as an extra form of protection, but it’s too risky to only use this method.
Most foxes are nervous about crossing a yard with little to no place to hide. So it’s a good idea to leave the area around your chicken coop free of bushes, trees, or anything foxes can hide behind or under.
Foxes are also less likely to try to dig under coops or try to break through a fence when they’re in an open space.
This is particularly important in the spring because attacks are more common when foxes need to feed their litter.
Because I live in a secluded area with many predators, my chickens only free-range when my dogs are with them during the day. Other than that, my chickens stay in their very large run or they’re locked up in their coop at night.
Dogs can be some of the best protectors against foxes. Even the scent of a dog is very frightening to most predators, so they will likely leave your chickens alone.
However, there’s a potential problem with having a guard dog. Some dogs are very playful. Some might want to chase the chickens around. By doing this, they can stress the chickens or accidentally kill them.
So, if you get a dog, be sure to supervise them at first. Make sure to correct your dog any time it seems to be disturbing your chickens.
If you’re thinking about getting a guard dog, keep in mind that dogs usually make better protectors if they were raised around chickens since they were puppies.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you to keep your chickens safe from foxes and a whole variety of predators is:
Don’t let your flock out into an unsecured area too early in the morning.
If it’s too quiet in the area and no humans or dogs are around, it’s quite possible that a fox is patiently waiting for your chickens.
This is why having a really big chicken run is the best thing ever!
Another great idea is to get a pen for your chickens (Amazon), just so they can be outside their run for an adventure while keeping them safe from foxes.
However, you might want to wrap your pen with hardware cloth if you’re not going to supervise your chickens.
What Scent Will Keep Foxes Away?
When it comes to keeping foxes away, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are certain smells that foxes find unpleasant and will avoid if they can.
One of the most effective smells for deterring foxes is white vinegar. Vinegar is acetic acid, which is a natural repellent for many animals, including foxes. You can use vinegar as a spray or soak some rags in it and place them around your property.
Other fox repellents include chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic.
Conclusion: Will a Fox Keep Coming Back for Chickens?
If you’re wondering whether or not a fox will keep coming back for chickens, the answer is yes. Foxes are attracted to chicken coops because they offer an easy food source.
Having only one method of keeping foxes and other predators away from your chicken coop is not ideal. Foxes are constantly finding new ways to get to their prey, so it is important to have multiple layers of protection.
The first layer of protection should be a predator apron. This will deter foxes from digging underneath the coop and getting to the chickens.
The second layer of protection could be an expertly designed predator-proof chicken coop (Amazon), which is a secure enclosure that keeps chickens safe against foxes and other predators.
The third layer of protection could be to use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. This will make it impossible for foxes to access the inside of the coop through windows and vents.
The fourth layer of protection could be a fence with deterrent spikes and a predator apron to stop foxes from climbing over or digging under a fence.
The fifth layer of protection could be predator deterrent lights. These flashing lights will startle most foxes and disrupt their hunting behavior. When used in combination with other predator-proofing measures, they can be an effective way to protect chickens from harm.
Finally, another way to help protect your chickens is to keep the coop clean and free of food scraps. A clean coop will help discourage rodents and other pests from taking up residence. Food scraps and rodents can attract foxes to the area.
Having multiple layers of protection is the best way to keep your chickens safe from foxes. With a predator-proof chicken coop, hardware cloth (Amazon), a predator apron, deterrent spikes (Amazon), and predator deterrent lights (Amazon), I haven’t lost a chicken to foxes in over 20 years!