When it comes to protecting chickens from predatory foxes, it is important to understand that a fox will kill more chickens than it can immediately eat and store the extra carcases for later. With free-range chickens, the fox might kill several chickens and then stop. In a chicken coop, however, the chickens are trapped, and the fox will wipe out the entire coop. Preventive measures and strong defences are needed to keep foxes out of your yard and out of your chicken coop.
Remove any food sources, such as pet dishes and birdseed, from the yard at night. Leave some Tabasco-soaked food outside if you have a regular fox problem. The hot, unpleasant taste will make the foxes less likely to return in the immediate future.
Secure outdoor dustbins, and keep them tightly closed. Soak any securing ropes or cords with Tabasco sauce to prevent foxes from chewing through them. Store compost in compost bins, and seal them the same way as the dustbins.
Block any holes in your fences to make entry more difficult. An adult fox can squeeze through spaces less than 6 inches wide. Repair any broken fence tops to make it more difficult for foxes to climb over.
Install motion-sensitive lights if foxes make a habit of breaking into your yard. The lights will often scare them away.
Fit the door with a strong lock, not just a simple latch.
Place a layer of steel mesh (with gaps of 1 inch or smaller between strands) over all chicken wire on the outside of the coop, including the roof. Secure the mesh firmly to the coop to prevent foxes from ripping it off.
Place a second layer of steel mesh on the inside of the coop if foxes try to breach the outside mesh.
Place a layer of steel mesh on the ground of the chicken coop. Install a sturdy floor over the mesh, such as wooden boards or (ideally) concrete. Reinforce wood flooring by extending the steel mesh on the outside of the coop for at least 1 foot underground. This will prevent foxes from digging under the walls and trying to breach the wooden floor.
Electric fences can frighten off foxes, but they are expensive and risky to use around poultry and other livestock. If you choose to use electric fencing, do so with care. If you find foxes trying to break into the coop, chase them off with light and noise. If foxes chew at exposed wood on the chicken coop, apply a thin layer of Tabasco sauce to the wood.
Tips and warnings
- Electric fences can frighten off foxes, but they are expensive and risky to use around poultry and other livestock. If you choose to use electric fencing, do so with care.
- If you find foxes trying to break into the coop, chase them off with light and noise.
- If foxes chew at exposed wood on the chicken coop, apply a thin layer of Tabasco sauce to the wood.