What are the hunting habits of a fox?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by downeastthunderfarm, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    We have two coops with chickens - a banty coop and a big girl coop. Both coops have runs totally enclosed in chicken wire and we close the chickens in the coops at night.

    The ducks have a house and small fully enclosed pen. During the day we let them out into a fenced in area attached to their pen. The fence surrounding the "play area" is only 4 feet high and has no roof. It does a fairly good job keeping the ducks where we want them to be.

    On Saturday, the banties were going nuts. We laughed over their antics wondering what had set them off. Moments later we saw a fox about 15 yards from the duck yard. The fox ran off when I went out to usher the ducks into their pen and locked them in. Moments later I heard the big chickens creating a ruckus. By the time I made it over to their coop I saw the fox tracks in the snow. He had cut through the woods and circled around to the big coop. It sure seems like he knows the lay of the land here.

    Back to the ducks - after the fox scare the ducks stayed in their pen the rest of that day and Sunday. Yesterday I let them out for a few hours why I was home and kept a close watch to the goings on. I figured the chickens would raise the alarm again if the fox came back. Still, I was on pins and needles worrying about them the entire time.

    So my quandary is what to do to protect the ducks for the rest of the winter so they can still have a little time out on their play yard. Ultimately we're planning a larger play area with an electric fence, but that's next summer.

    What are the hunting habits of the fox? Can I expect a fox in mid-day to climb/jump over the fence? I thought of raising the height of the fencing temporarily until we get a new setup next summer. Will netting on top of the play yard discourage the fox? It seems to me that he might get tangled in it. Or am I looking at supervised swim time for the ducks until we can swing the electrified fence business next summer?

    Thanks in advance for sharing!
     
  2. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    Your fox is obviously well socialized with people. This is not uncommon, especially in relatively developed areas. My old neighbor had a whole family raised in their backyard, they used to play on the slide and swingset!

    If your 4' fence is a strong and sturdy mesh it should be relatively secure for temporary use. Foxes prefer to work in the open, they are not prone to prying apart fencing or climbing over it as a raccoon, skunk or possum would be, but if they get hungry enough they are certainly capable. They will however dig under it quite easily. If you haven't already, I would place some landscape rock along the edges of your fencing and backfill with heavy clay soil. This will discourage digging under. Your fox definately knows there's food there so you will have to be vigilant.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Based on my experience with foxes, they are creatures of habit that move though patches of easy to catch prey at about the same time each day. They are also pretty good at jumping over and scaling fences if they can not get through or under by some other means.

    Netting may discourage fox at least for a short time. Electrified fence can also work until fox figure it can jump over or through it.

    My fun with foxes has been the little buggers will continue to pursue a chicken even with me right there. This gets them into trouble if you have a gun or a dog which fox will ignore because do focused in on chase.

    Best method for me to keep them away from flock is to have a dog. If fox sees threat (dog) before committing to chase, then the fox will not go after birds.

    If you are the guardian, then have wooden dowel handy and swat the bugger when come after birds.
     

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