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Red Fox - Chicken Predators - How To Protect Your Chickens From Foxes

 

Red FoxGeneral Information


The red fox is a quick, skillful hunter, feeding on a wide variety of foods. Mice are often eaten, especially during the winter months and cottontail rabbits are also an important part of their diet. They remain active throughout the year but are primarily nocturnal, only occasionally coming out during the daylight hours. Red foxes seem to prefer somewhat open habitats and are not creatures of dense forests. They are found mostly in areas with interspersed croplands, old fields, and woodlots, especially along the edges formed by these habitats.

 

Description


The red fox resembles a bushy-tailed, medium sized dog. The usual coloration is a bright rusty-red with black feet and legs and and a whitish belly. A good identifying feature is the long tail which is tipped with white. Other color varieties of the red fox also occur including a black, a silver, and a cross phase in which a dark area crosses over the shoulders and down the middle of the back. Red foxes measure in total length from about 39 to 41 inches and weigh between 10 and 15 pounds.

 

Range


Red foxes are found throughout much of North America. They occur throughout most of the Carolina mountains and Piedmont but are rare to absent in the eastern coastal plain. The red fox is one of        two fox species found in the southern mountains. The other, the grey fox, is sometimes mistaken for the red fox, but is somewhat different in appearance and frequents slightly different habitats.

 

Method of kill

 

The fox tends to strike fear into the hearts of chicken owners. The fox is prone to hunt 2 hours after sundown and 2 hours before sun rise. Foxes take their prey some distance (miles even) from the sight of the kill. Usually the only sign of a fox raid is scattered feathers. Although most active at twilight they are also sometimes seen during the day. They are known for their raids on poultry, particulourly during the spring when there is a need to provide food for their growing litters. Red foxes do not chew their food, they tend to swallow it whole. This accounts for the abundance of fur and crushed bones found in fox droppings. They commonly kill more food that they eat at once and bury the extra food in caches.

 

Prevention / Treatment 

 

A red fox is an intelligent predator that will not hesitate to go after your chickens for its next meal. Spring time presents the highest number of chicken casualties, because it is this time that red foxes need to gather more food to sustain their offspring. A single red fox has been known to wipe out entire chicken flocks in a single raid. These killers are not just relentless, but they are also patient and very smart. They will find all the cracks, openings, and weak points in your chicken runs and use those as entry points. If you have cats, small dogs, mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs, then you will find that the red fox will have more reason to stalk your property. 

 

 

Make sure that it is not illegal to shot or trap red foxes in your state. Chicken farmers often shoot at red foxes, because they know it takes a lot of energy to scare these brave predators. The red fox is accustomed to raiding houses and farms that they have gotten used to dealing with the human element. Live baits and traps can be used to get rid of that pesky red fox, but after capturing one, make sure to call Animal Control as relocating red foxes are not allowed in many states. If you do install traps, ensure that the red fox will not see them as they are smart enough to know objects that are meant to harm them. Just like cats, red foxes will not go into a particular area twice if they know that there is a trap there. 

 

For those who have free range chickens and animals roaming around their gardens, yards and farm area, the best thing to do is to keep your poultry and livestock safe at night. These hunters can jump over a 6-foot high fence and they can dig their way underground as well. You can extend the level of protection by burying strong chicken wire several inches underground. Electric fencing is also recommended. If you want an all-around method to scare away red foxes, however, get a guarding dog that can act as your alarm and guard whenever you are not there to watch over your chickens. Foxes will rarely fight a bigger animal especially if they know that they need to be able to survive so that they can feed their young.

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Comments (7)

Whats a good inexpensive trap to order that they will enter ?
I have seen fox's stalking my chickens in the daytime. does that mean they are rabid?

Thats a good question clucky LOL b/c so have I, 10am even when we were all outside on our 5 acres...half woodsy area, it was a juvenile grey fox...it didn't care that my mother was screaming at it either
We had one come into the yard about noon. There were 4 of us in the kitchen and spotted it through the window. The girls were freeranging in the yard..My dh and his friend went for the guns we keep near the doors,but the noise must have scared him off. aWe heard him calling last night so he is still around. No freeeanging for awile.
i had one grab my pheasant threw the wire but he got away then i made a thick snare trap and put a dead bird in a cage the fox got into it and broke the snare and never came back.
For the 2nd year in a row they have almost wiped me out. I was sitting on the back porch reading, my lil Boston Terrier was beside me, 2:30 in the afternoon. Suddenly a fox burst from the tree line and was on my poor hen. Rolled with her, four feet off my tiny back porch with me screaming and stomping like a mad-woman....it snapped its neck, looked at me, growled, and grabbed her and took off. I felt violated...sat there and cried like a baby. Scared me to death....and it is illegal to to ANYTHING here. What I shoot, bury, and never tell of though they can't arrest me for....but I am not as great of a shot as DH is....and since I free range during the day, they realized how my coop if made of tractor trailer doors so came when they are out. Got 18 babies the other day.....broke my heart again.....
this is what I worry about predators hope I can keep in control over  this getting chicks in spring time
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