The fox is an easy predator to protect against, even though they’re really smart and fast.
But it only takes one careless mistake on your part, like forgetting to lock up the coop, for the fox to have a tasty chicken dinner.
A fox will sneakily watch the coop, run, and yard until they have the opportunity for a quick attack. You might not even see the attack. But all of a sudden, you’ll notice that one or two of your chickens have disappeared mysteriously.
So here’s how to prevent this from happening to your chickens.
Secure Chicken Coop
If your chickens are free-ranging, the fox will most likely attack only one chicken. But, a fox gets into your coop, it will kill as many chickens as it can.
So you definitely want the chicken coop and run well secured and locked at night.
I personally don’t use chicken wire to protect the chicken coop and run because foxes and other predators can easily tear through it.
For security against predators, I think chicken wire is just a bad idea. I think it’s more for keeping your chickens in than keeping predators out.
I really recommend you replace any chicken wire with 1/4 inch hardware cloth because it really works to keep foxes and other predators out (my favorite hardware cloth is the Gilbert & Bennett YARDGARD on Amazon).
If you’re not an expert woodworker (like me) but you’re still thinking of building your own coop and run (it’s really not that hard!), you might want to check out my favorite do-it-yourself chicken coop eBook called “Building a Chicken Coop“. You’ll save tons of money and your coop will most likely be of higher quality than a store-bought one.
Foxes will find all the cracks, openings, and weak points in your chicken run and coop.
So you definitely want to consider adding a coop apron. If you don’t know what a coop apron is, you definitely want to watch the video below!
What you need:
- Fencing material (I bought my fencing wire on Amazon)
- Staple gun and staples, like the Topec 3 in 1 Manual Nail Gun with 1800 Staples
I’ve also been using Predator Guard (Amazon) and I’m amazed at how well it keeps nocturnal predators out of my yard!
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.
These lights can be attached around your chicken coop, facing out in all 4 directions. Works like a charm!
If where your chickens free-range is really far away from your home, make use of tall fencing with a buried perimeter (or coop apron). Foxes can climb, but they prefer to dig under fences.
Electric poultry fences, 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 I’d be too scared to only use this method to protect my girls.
Keep your grass mowed and make sure trim and keep brush cut back to lower the amount of hiding places foxes use while hunting.
This is particularly important in the spring because attacks are more common when foxes need to feed their litters.
One of the best ways to scare foxes away is to get a guard dog. The louder and bigger, the better!
Guard dog will be your alarm and guard whenever you are not there to supervise your chickens. And foxes will rarely fight a bigger animal.
Just make sure your dog is good with your chickens before you leave them together alone. You don’t want your guard dog turning into the predator!
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.
When the birds go to roost, be there to close the door – in fact be there 15 minutes before.
Be aware that foxes will also hunt during the day. And they’re very smart and patient, learning your routine.
They watch to see when you’re home and when you’re not paying attention to your free-ranging chickens. Since a fox will only go for an attack when they’re sure that the coast is clear, you must change your routine! Walk around your flock at irregular times to keep the fox on their feet.