Foxes- Preventing & Safe Guarding your Poultry.Jasmin Homer
Preventing Fox Attacks & Protecting your Poultry!
Blog written by “The girl in the green wellies.” 22/07/2016
This weeks blog focuses on how to deter Foxes from your land; how to protect your poultry and keep them safe.
Something I have always struggled with is the thought of having to kill Foxes!
I have always thought they are such beautiful creatures just fighting to survive like any other predator, and I always found it shocking that people would want to go out and kill them whether it be by hunting, traps or anything else.
Then I got Chickens, 7Hens, 1Cockerel, 2Ducks & 2Geese, and the thought of anything happening to them upset me greatly. Still, I never actually thought for one moment a fox would kill any of them. Our garden was safe? So I thought!
It saddens me to say that within six months of having my little “Chicken gang” one of our young bantams went missing for a couple of days (which wasn’t that uncommon as she did occasionally fly into trees and hide out for a few days at a time) but something about this felt different and I was worried! Needless to say, I found her near the entrance to our cottage no body, just her head. Immediately I knew it was a fox that had attacked her.
After having one of my hens killed, I knew that Foxes would not be something I could just “forget” about or pretend didn’t exist. I had to make sure both myself and my partner made our garden and home as safe as possible to prevent another fox attack happening again, and what I would possibly have to do, if I saw a fox on our land in the future.
I think like anything if you can avoid killing and harming creatures then that should be your goal number one! Hopefully this blog will give you a few ideas and suggestions on different methods to try!
How do I avoid having Foxes on my land?
Firstly, it’s always a good idea to have some background on how they hunt so you know what to look out for and prevent. In this case, foxes generally hunt alone, although when they have young cubs, they will take them out on some hunting trips (to show them the ropes so to speak.)
Around August time their little cubs will be learning to hunt alone (so be watchful during the day as the young cubs may not have developed a fear of humans at this point and therefore do not hunt at night all the time like their parents.)
My partner built an aviary for our poultry, so that when we were out the house or away for a while, unable to watch over our birds, they weren’t out free and vulnerable!
One of the most popular ways of prevention down at A&J Poultry and on a lot of farms and smallholdings are “poultry fencing” and “electric fences.”
Please bare in mind that if you have plants/bushes or any type of vegetation growing up the side of the electric fence, it can short cut it and then will be harmless for the Fox, allowing them easy access to your birds!
Another thing to check regularly is the battery on your electric fence! If it goes flat, again you will have given the fox an easy chance to grab a meal!
The electric fence needs to be at a good height where a Fox will sniff it and investigate what it is; they will receive a small shock off of the fence whilst investigating and immediately it will something they do not want to be around any longer (deterring them from going after your birds.)
Another great way to prevent foxes (is something really simple & a must do!) Shutting your birds away in their coup at night! It can be easy to become complacent and leave them out, but in doing this you are immediately putting them in a vulnerable situation where they are likely to be harmed.
Keep your flock safe by ensuring that they are always secure at night in their coup. Make sure their coup is made out of something difficult to break into! Foxes will take a challenge and try their best to get in, so make sure its as durable as it can be, with no holes and open parts where a Fox could scratch and nor at.
How do I catch a fox?
TRAPS! This is probably your best bet if you are trying to catch a Fox on your land.
If possible always try and be as humane as you can, many country stores and online shops provide a wide range of humane traps (so there are many to research!) The humane traps are normally big cages that are baited. The fox enters, triggers the trap and shuts the door, leaving them stuck in the cage (obviously if you are using a humane trap it will not kill the Fox, so it’s a good idea that when releasing the Fox, you take it far away from where you live, so that it can live in the wild hunting, and not keep coming back to your land where it knows there is a stable food source.)
SHOOTING! If you cannot re release the Fox away from your property and need to kill it, this is another method you may consider (providing you have a Shotgun certificate & the right sort of gun!)
Some times shooting Foxes is also used to control numbers to prevent breading in the spring, which again protects your poultry from these unwanted guests!
I hope that this has given you some good pointers on how to protect your birds from predators like Foxes. Keep up to date with my fortnightly blog! Find out next time what is happening on the farm down at A&J Poultry!
Blog written by “The girl in the green wellies.”