Will a high coop keep out foxes?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Busterchicken, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Busterchicken

    Busterchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a flock of eleven black/cuckoo leghorns. They are currently in their brooder, but I have begun making plans to build a coop. I would like them to be completely free range, but we do have foxes and possibly jackals living on the mountain behind our house.
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    I'm not even sure if we have a population of Jackals

    We are living Israel, so the leghorns are naturally smaller/lighter/flightier than American leghorns. The foxes are very timid, and have only ever seen one once, about 3am when I shone a flashlight outside of a concrete structure. Will the foxes predate on the chickens during the day?

    For a coop, I was planning on building something of this style minus the ladder:

    [​IMG]



    I can leave a stepping stool outside for collecting eggs, and the coop will likely be supported by 4 legs.

    Will this work?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    Hi! A raised coop is a good idea so that the foxes and other predators can't dig underneath. Just make sure that the coop is sturdy, there are secure latches on the doors, and any windows are covered with hardware cloth, and you should be fine.

    Although foxes mainly hunt at night, it is not uncommon to see them out during the day, especially when food is scarce. Here is a great article on keeping chickens safe free ranging.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    While they are timid and nocturnal by nature, if they figure out that your flock is unprotected during daylight hours, they may change their habits to capitalize on the opportunity. Your coop will need a ramp or ladder for the birds to access it. A secure run for such an event is a good idea. A raised coop is a good idea. Given your climate, you are going to need lots of ventilation and shade. Any ventilation needs to be covered with hardware cloth.
     
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  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    If you search "river cottage chickens" on YouTube there was an episode that he built one like that for his chickens. He's in England where foxes are the only ground predators. It seemed to work well for him.
     
  5. Busterchicken

    Busterchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the great responses, but I have a question/clarification. My thread starter was supposed to have this general question of can my leghorns fly higher than a fox can jump, therefore giving me a chance to keep their door open 24/7. Now a ladder would sort of defeat the purpose. Keeping the door open 24/7 would allow for airflow during the day and at night and also give the chickens a chance to free range before the midday heat (when I wake up on weekends). Thanks for all the help!
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't know about foxes in Israel, but in America, both foxes and coyotes can clear 6 foot high fences. While most chickens can jump/fly a bit higher, they generally won't do so unless trying to evade a predator. A coop should always be secured against nighttime predators. You may only have a few ground predators to deal with, but Israel has quite a lot of owls. A coop that can be shut is kind of important for the safety of a flock. As for ventilation, a simple square or rectangle shape coop with the front wall higher and the back wall lower, and at least a 6 inch gap between the walls and the roof, all the way around works quite well.
    Also want to add that jumping/gliding from such a height does pose quite a significant risk for injuries.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  7. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    As junebuggena, it will be important to have the coop secured at night. A product that may be useful for you is an automated coop door, which will allow you to program it to open early in the morning so they can go out before it's hot and also close them in at night to keep them safe from predators.

    There can definitely be enough ventilation without keeping the doors open. You can cut large windows on the other sides of the coop that are covered with hardware cloth. This will allow you to close the door at night while still having adequate ventilation. Here is a great article on ventilation that includes suggestions for hot climates.

    I would suggest that you keep the ladder. Like junebuggena said, flying from heights frequently is not terribly safe even for lighter breeds such as Leghorns.

    So, please consider cutting a ton of holes in your coop, covering them with hardware cloth, including a ladder in the coop design, and getting an automated coop door. This will keep your chickens safe, cool, and able to free range before it gets too hot out.

    Best of luck with your flock! [​IMG]
     
  8. Busterchicken

    Busterchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks a lot for the great responses, I'm learning a lot. I think I'll go with the automated coop door! If only I could find somebody in Israel who has 'em....
     

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