How do foxes get chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PoultryGirly, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi I have 4 chickens and 5 ducks outside in a chain link pen with chicken wire one foot up and out on each side except the back where it goes 3 foot up. I have heard foxes close by and I actually saw one tonight. How do foxes usually get into chicken coops/pens? Can they grab them with their "hands"? Thanks for any and all advice. What do I need to make it fox proof?
     
  2. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Chillin' With My Peeps

    They are good diggers, and can climb some. Oh, they can jump very well also.
    Make sure the top is protected. My preference is to lay a 3 foot wide piece of fencing on the ground all the way around the pen/run to prevent digging.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    They can jump and clamber several feet up to clear a fence greater than 6 feet. They would have difficulty doing so with standard sized chicken or duck in mouth. Grey fox is a better climber but is also smaller.

    They can also dig and sometimes pretty fast. That can be stopped by anything that makes digging slower like boards or strips of fencing placed where fox would begin dig. Large gravel really slows them down.

    They do not use paws like a raccoon but they are pretty good at rapidly shooting muzzle into 2" x 4" wire fencing to grab as bird. With smaller pens like mine, when they have time they will frighten bird to one side then sprint to other side and attempt to grab bird through fencing. I can defeat that technique by making so fox can not rapidly run around entire pen without obstruction. Even chicken wire can be used to stop the rapid grab efforts of fox.

    At night they can be problematic when birds roost right up against fencing. Always effort to keep birds from doing that.

    A given fox will not always go after chickens. Last year my yard was probably at border of two fox territories. Fox from southwest would hunt voles within 100 feet of pens but not seem interest in birds even when free-ranged while another from east visited specifically to go after chickens. Latter fox also went after neighbors birds causing heavy losses.


    I am trying to observe a red fox know to better understand how it probes around pens. Problem I having which is normally an asset is that dogs run fox off every time I try to observe what is going so dogs can be helpful as well.

    Overall they are pretty smart but once they really get into going after something they tend to get single minded and start ignoring what is going on around them. This has enabled my dog to actually catch more than one fox before it knew dog was even there.
     
  4. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I think it will be fox tight so long as birds do not roost piled up against side. Why no elevated roost?


    I would need to see picture of actual setup. Biggest concern may actually be raccoons with one of those set ups.
     
  6. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are no roosts because the pen was originally supposed to hold just ducks, but Hurricane Sandy came along and blue one of my brand new kennels away and busted it up so the chickens have to stay with the ducks now. I know they aren't supposed to, but I don't have any other shelter for them at the moment. And actually, a raccoon got one of my chickens from the busted up pen before it blew away. Here is my coop:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Weak spots are around door. A raccoon can force its way around corners.
     
  8. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, that's where the raccoon got the one chicken, ans all of our doors now have been patched with boards.
     

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