Foxes and Electric Fencing? Help PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by therichhens, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. therichhens

    therichhens In the Brooder

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    Our fox issues have been keeping me up at night. Over the last three months we've had two fox raids, with a grand total of 12 hens lost. After the first attack which killed 12 on Easter Sunday, we installed an 8-strand electric fence around an acre of pasture and the barn. Everyone is locked in the barn around 6-7pm and let out again around 9am. The first strand is 4" off the ground and the the first four strands from the ground up are 4" apart. The last four go from 6" to 8" to 10". Because we also have goats in the pasture, we placed the wires on the inside for the wood fence posts. The second attack came after we installed the fence. Because of the location of the dead hens, my guess is that the fox got in under the fence where a cinderblock was missing (thanks to my sweet children :-/ ). That has since been fixed.

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    My concern is that a fox could scale one of the posts (they are nearly 6') or the gate. The wire mesh on the gate is electrified, the wood (obviously) is not. Is that possible? Could/would a fox get over this? The picture was taken BEFORE we added three additional wires in between the second and fourth strands. I can't handle missing sleep because I'm worried about foxes! We're setting a trap tonight, but I need to know how we could inexpensively improve our enclosure. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

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    Sorry for your loss, but now that the foxes know where to get 'dinner' they will be back again and again. From your pic I assume you let your flock free-range? With the predator issues that you have you may have to build a regular chicken run reinforced with 1/2" hardware cloth all around, the top, and buried under ground:

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    It may appear to be over-kill, but if you value your flock you'll need to re-think the way things are at present. Best of luck and again sorry for your losses...
     
  3. therichhens

    therichhens In the Brooder

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    I wish that were possible but it's would be too expensive to build a structure large enough to contain our 50 or so hens 24/7. There must be a way to allow them to free range safely during the day. As I mentioned earlier, they are locked up in the barn from before sunset until a few hours after sunrise. In the seven years we've kept hens this is our first experience with foxes. So frustrating!
     
  4. jetdog

    jetdog Songster

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    You could nail carpet tack strips to the poles, those things are like razor blades, one touch and they will give up climbing the poles.
     
  5. B4chicks

    B4chicks In the Brooder

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    We used to tie a dead chicken in a tree about 2 feet off the ground and set a leg trap underneath. Quite effective. Fox are persistent and clever. If you can't contain the chickens they will stay at it till they are dealt with.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I know foxes can climb fencing and trees pretty well but I don’t think they would be likely to try those posts. I’m not sure where they could get a grip.

    My only thought is to replace those cinder blocks with a “sill”. Looks like those gates swing out, so put a 4x4, 4x6, or maybe even a tree trunk if you can get one straight enough on the inside of the gate so it sticks up enough so the gate hits it when closed. Then bring in dirt to build a ramp so you can drive over that without compromising the seal created by your sill. That should protect it from your darling children, make it convenient for you, and get a tight fit.

    Good luck on your trap. Foxes can be pretty tough plus you are likely to get other critters, pets as well as predators. I agree you need to remove that fox. If there is one there are others around, but by removing that fox, you get the one that is hunting your territory.

    I’ve seen foxes hunting at all times of the day, but they seem most active at dusk and dawn. If you are in a situation where you can, you might set up a blind (hiding spot) with a .22 and watch that gate area around dusk or dawn. You might get lucky. I’m not normally an advocate as a gun as your first option but if you have the skill set and are in a physical location where you can safely use a gun, that might be a decent approach. Still, get that trap set up as your first approach.

    Good luck! Foxes are tough and usually take more effort than raccoons, skunks, or possums.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  7. therichhens

    therichhens In the Brooder

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    Thank you Ridgerunner! You are the first to answer my actual question. The sill/ramp is an excellent idea. I am not a gun proponent at all, but in this case I'll do just about anything to take out this fox/foxes. It's the first time I've ever seriously considered hanging a piece of taxidermy. :)
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    We had a bad daytime fox attack last year; ten hens one afternoon, found when I got home from work. I also talked to the neighbors, and visited several nearby chicken keepers. We all were on alert, and one of them was able to shoot the fox the next week. The poor fox was nearly bald with mange, so very unwell and hunting in the afternoon. He didn't visit my live trap, and my surviving chickens were on lockdown until he was eliminated. Good luck! Mary
     
  9. elroddo

    elroddo In the Brooder

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    Do you know anyone with trapping experience in the area? A few well placed traps should clear out the foxes pretty easily, live traps probably aren't the best because they will be leery of any smells on the trap. Skunks, possum and raccoons aren't as shy. Neighboring cats are the only thing I've ever caught in a live trap.
     
  10. Red foxes are not good climbers but Gray Foxes can climb almost as well as a squirrel.

    Why not use some stiff electric fence or barbed wire to fashion a u shaped jumper wire to run from about 3 of the hot wires around the back of the post and tie the other end of the jumper back into the hot wire?

    Be sure the jumper wire doesn't touch the post because this will ground the wire and render the whole fence useless. You could also add an insulator on the outside surface of each post.

    Then if Brother Fox tries climbing a fence post you'll have a teachable moment in Foxdom.

    I don't really think that a fox is going to challenge your fence, a coon is a much more likely intruder now, but if this will help you sleep better why not do it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014

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