Fox is one of the most feared predators by chicken breeders, but do foxes eat chickens?
A fox is a very smart, cunning, and savvy chicken killer who will attack your flock without evidence.
You might not realize you have many chickens until the number drastically reduces. They’ll pick a chicken one at a time when you lower your guard.
Before it sets an attack on your chicken, it will first check out your homestead, chicken coop, run, and free-ranging areas.
Then, it will plan when to attack. They’re very clever as they watch to learn when you’re at home taking care of your flock and when you’re away for other daily chores.
When you let out your chickens, foxes will ensure that the backyard is clear– no human nor guarding animals, then move to capture the prey.
They mainly attack at dawn and dusk, sometime during the day.
Therefore, you must provide top-notch security to your flock since foxes are the brightest chicken hunters and will quickly change their attacking strategies to outsmart you while looking for food to munch on.
Reasons Why Foxes Eat Chicken
Typically, foxes have large families. They can have up to 13 cubs born blind and can’t fend for themselves until they’re ten weeks old.
They, therefore, choose to hunt chicken for their food and that of their families.
The vixen takes care of the cubs while the male fox gets out to look for food.
Chicken keepers must protect their flock between February and May, a period when birthing and growing occur, and for that reason, your flock can be at very high risk.
However, foxes eat whatever they find. You’ll see them searching for food in the litter bins, hunting rodents, or even stealing eggs.
They adjust and adapt to different environments due to their craftiness and creativity.
How To Know If Foxes Are In Your Territory
Below are the tips that will let you know if foxes are within your locality.
Holes near trees. Foxes usually burrow into the ground to make their home, marking their entrance with their identical scent– a dog quickly picks this scent.
Usually, the scat is black, long, and very smelly because of all the food they eat.
Additionally, foxes may poop holes they dig, indicating they’re not far from your territory. A single indicator of a fox’s presence is a wake-up call to tighten the security of your flock at all times.
How To Protect Your Chicken From Foxes
Whichever reason you’re keeping your flock– for eggs, food supply, or as pets; you do not want to wake up to find your chickens dead.
Foxes are very intelligent, but you should outsmart them and keep them away from your coop, run, or backyard.
Here are the ways to protect your chicken from foxes
Installing Hard Wire Mesh
Foxes can chew a weak chicken wire or squash through to gain access. A rigid chicken wire mesh will deter the foxes from enlarging the holes since it will be difficult to chew it.
They have a size similar to that of dogs and can fit into even smaller spaces.
Using Electric Fence
Alternatively, you can use an electric fence to deter the foxes.
Electric netting works better than strands as they prevent the foxes and other predators from tearing through or going under a strand to access your coop.
Electric netting serves well for outdoor space, and you can quickly move to fresh grass.
Burying the fence
Foxes are perfect borrowers. They can dig holes beneath your coop to get in and eat your chicken. As you install your chicken wire, bury it at least 6 inches below the ground.
Keep away attractants to discourage the foxes from getting closer to your coop. Avoid littering your garden with leftovers.
These natural scavengers will land in the chicken coop. To manage your waste, use a well-secured trash bin with proper lids.
Furthermore, remove everything that foxes can use as food or water.
Clearing tall grass and bushes can also be an excellent move to outsmart the foxes as they use such places as hiding places while planning an attack on your flock.
Untrimmed grass can attract foxes, where they’ll roost as they learn about your homestead.
Roosting can help them understand when you’re home, when you leave when you let your flock out, and the areas your chicken free-range while foraging.
Lock Your Chicken During The Nights
Foxes are nocturnal predators that look for prey at night or dawn. Don’t forget about their daylight hunting.
We recommend tightening your security, and no single moment should you lower your guard.
Lock your chicken in the coop at night to ensure their safety. You can only open the pen if you’re around to watch over them or have other guarding animals such as a dog, donkey, roosters, or guinea fowl.
Also, avoid exposing your flock to risky or exposed areas in your homestead when free-ranging. They can be easily attacked.
Inspecting The Coop and Run Regularly
Foxes will try to weaken the coop and run several times to gain access and eat your chicken. They’ll always change their strategy to outsmart you.
Therefore, it will be essential for you to inspect your coop and the chicken run.
Rectify any weak spot you find. Closing the entry points will discourage the foxes, or your flock will pay for your ignorance.
Using Flash Lights
Flashlights only scare the predators, including the foxes, away at night. When you install red flashlights, predators perceive them as eyes making them feel frightened.
However, the flashlight can work well in rural areas, unlike urban centers where foxes are accustomed to traffic signals and streetlights.
Installing lights and having sirens also act as a scare factor. The siren or an alarm bell can serve to frighten them mainly when they try to cross the light rays.
Keeping Animal Guards For Your Chickens
On top of installing a solid chicken wire, burrowing the fence, and removing fox attractants, you also need animal guards to protect your chickens.
Don’t just keep any animal as your security guard– they might eat your chickens unnoticed.
Some of the animal guards are;
Roosters are not big enough to fight the predators such as foxes, but they are very protective.
They’re keen observers and sensitive to knowing if a fox or any other predator is around. This animal should be on your top list.
Because of their conservative nature, they can quickly alarm you and communicate to the flock in case of any danger.
The chickens respond quickly and run for safety. You know what? Rooster will be the last one to run away for safety.
We recommend keeping large-sized roosters to provide security. However, you might lose them in case of extreme attacks.
The common types of roosters that chicken breeders keep and animal guards include Sumatra, Easter Eggers, and Rhode Island Reds.
Dogs are the best animal guards because they’re fiercely loyal and protective. They are ever ready to fight chicken predators.
However, you must train them in defensive skills in their early stages.
We recommend breeds such as Pyrenean Mastiff or Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs can also turn on the chicken and eat them. Therefore, feed your dogs regularly.
Typically, Guinea fowls are territorial and will fight anything that tries to challenge their authority. They’re fond of screeching, alerting other birds in case of danger.
However, most chicken breeders don’t prefer guinea fowls as they can disturb their neighbors with a loud noise.
Also, they can mate with perilous hens– their parts aren’t compatible.
If you keep Guinea fowls as your animal guards, oversee them so they don’t mate with your hens.
Donkeys are enormous enough to fight any four-legged animals.
Their kicks are mighty, and they hee-haw on top of their voice if they feel a predator is around.
The loud sound may scare away the predator or alert you about your animals and birds being in danger.
Female donkeys are the most preferred animal guards.
But note that you can only choose to keep either a dog or a donkey, and not all because they don’t relate and can cause distraction when paired together.
If you’re wondering whether foxes eat chickens or not, the answer is simple, yes. Foxes are very smart and cunning predators.
They can attack your flock at night and very early in the morning. It should not let you lower your guards during the daytime because they can be your uninvited visit and get away with your chickens.
We recommend that you practice the safety measure discussed above to protect your flock.
The protection tips include installing intricate wire mesh, using an electric fence, burying the wall, frequently inspecting your coop and chicken run, or keeping animal guards such as roosters.
Overall, you must outsmart a fox when taking care of your chickens.
Be the first to note their moves and ensure they do not have even a small way toward your flock.