Making sure that the hens are in their house and locked up at night is obviously common sense. Flimsy door catches on a house in an unprotected area present no great challenge to a determined fox.
There are electronic pop-hole closers available that will do the job for you, if for some reason you are not there to do it. These work well, but are no defence where a fox appears while it is still light, as is increasingly the case.
Myth of Foxhunting
Hunt supporters used to claim that the hunt was an effective fox control and deterrent, but most poultry keepers know from experience that this is not true. If it were, commercial free-range enterprises would not need to invest capital in order to erect electrified fencing. They are also aware of the welfare requirements that state: “Precautions should be taken to protect the birds against foxes, other predators, dogs and cats.” (Ref: Codes of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Domestic Fowls. DEFRA Publications).
It is worth remembering that every poultry keeper has an individual responsibility to protect a flock, whether large or small.
Humane fox traps are available. These are large, baited cages that the animal enters and cannot get out of again. The trap needs to be placed on a pathway known to be frequented by the animal. It also needs to be well camouflaged for the fox is highly intelligent. If it is caught, there is the question of what to do with the captured animal.
The most humane method of despatching it in this case is with a 12-bore shotgun, as long as the owner holds a valid firearms certificate. There are those offering humane trapping and despatching services in most rural areas.
An ordinary flashing light can be a deterrent as long as its position is moved fairly frequently. Once the fox gets used to it, it is no longer frightened away. Such units are available for use with electric fencing, or they can be incorporated into a normal fence.
Chemical & Scent Deterrents to Foxes
Chemical deterrents are available that act as a repellent when used along boundaries. Renardine, for example can be mixed with sand and strewn along the perimeter. The treatment needs to be renewed weekly or after heavy rain. A family dog may keep a fox away, while lion or tiger dung from the nearest zoo, placed along boundaries, is said to be effective. Llama keepers are united in the view that llamas will drive off foxes. Please note that Renardine is no longer licensed for use as a deterrent.
Article taken from original work by Katie Thear, with permission of the publisher.
Further Articles of Predator Protection
- Dealing with Rat Infestations: Protecting the Poultry Flock
- Electric Fences Protecting the Poultry Flock from Predators
- Foxes & Fences: Protecting the Poultry Flock from Foxes
- Larger Predators & Thieves: Protecting the Poultry Flock
- Mink, Weasels, Stoats & Hawks Protecting the Poultry Flock
- Pest Control, Rats & Mice Protecting the Poultry Flock
- Pest Control, Traps & Deterrents Protecting the Poultry Flock against the Fox