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Author Topic: Fox proofing for our chickens  (Read 62488 times)

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shiatsusu

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2009, 09:11 »
We knew an old boy who lived in the middle of a wood and swore by stuffing tights with old socks then soaking them in jayes fluid and hanging around the perimeter fence to ward off foxes. As far as I know he never lost a single bird. Pretty smelly stuff  ;)


poultrygeist

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2009, 09:42 »
There's a few websites with up to date, sensible advice from people who have studied fox behaviour.

A couple I've found are...

http://www.foxproject.org.uk/

and

http://www.thefoxwebsite.org/index.html

I hope these help. The methods you are using may well work for a while, but foxes are very intelligent and will soon work out that the deterrant offers no threat and is easily bypassed. If you have a physical barrier such as a large weldmesh fence or one with a threat, such as an electric fence that they have felt the effects of, they have little choice but to keep away.

Rob 8)

shiatsusu

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2009, 13:43 »
As there seems to be debate on the strength of using scent as a fox deterrant I had a look on the web and found the following link. I don't think anyone would argue that a suitably constructed fence with or without an electrical current is the best way to make certain the birds are safe, but I also think it will be a sad day when we completely ignore so called "old wives tales"- often these are the result of centuries of experience and observation.

http://www.bio.bris.ac.uk/research/mammal/foxscent.html

poultrygeist

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2009, 13:51 »
I think the point is, as shown in that article, that foxes use scent markings extensively, but human scents only have limited and temporary effects. This has been shown in studies.
Agreed that a lot of folklore is useful, fascinating and often based on solid truths, but a lot isn't and where the safety and welfare of poultry or other animals is concerned, I'd rather try to push the best ideas.
The other big fox-based myth is that they kill for sport. It's still gets cited but is a complete misunderstanding.
Know thine enemy is a good mantra to anyone with poultry !!  :)

Rob 8)

Roughlee Handled

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2009, 13:53 »
Beat me to it Poultrygeist. 
Stuart


Dont worry I am just paranoid duckie.

If I get the wrong end of the stick its because I have speed read. Honest.

Blar blar blar blar snorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Foxy

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2009, 14:08 »
very interesting link :)
Urban foxes though are much less wary of humans than rural foxes -so less likey to be distracted by "human" scent. In a rural area I would say it is more likely to be effective.

shiatsusu

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2009, 15:05 »
Any debate that shares ideas and opens up the discussion has to be a good one  :) I suspect male foxes would be wary initially of male pee because of the pherenomes- this is how they mark their territory to one another after all, but if you read my message I'm not suggesting using it as a replacement for secure boundary fencing. I disagree about foxes not killing for sport, although we may be arguing over definitions here  ??? We once lost 25 hens out of 30 in one afternoon (missed an early ferry and by the time we got back it was dusk and the fox had been). It was complete carnage yet he only actually took two away. I'd seen the fox watching the hen area during the previous week and assume he'd worked out people were not around when he took his chance. These hens were free range with only field boundary fences but in eleven years those were the only hens killed by foxes. 

poultrygeist

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2009, 16:35 »
It must be terrible when it happens. I've not had the misfortune thankfully. But plenty here have.

They apparently kill everything within sight, because they're opportunistic killers and don't know when they'll next find food. They take one or two immediately with the intention of coming back for the rest when it's safe. These will mostly be buried for later.
In most cases, once you discover the attack, it's not safe for the fox to return and the carcasses and casualties are removed or secured.
The only animals i know of that kill for sport are humans, unless you include cats who play with their prey for some reason I've yet to discover (ours included) >:(

Rob

too many girls

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2009, 23:05 »
i agree with you Rob, when the fox took mine from the cowshed, a lot of the bodies were missing, i picked some up and put them on a trailer before going back to the farm and alerting everyone to what had happened, in just a few minutes of being away the fox or foxes came back and took them from the trailer, in all 29 hens and one cockerel dissapeared without trace, we were told they had probably been buried in the wood behind the cow shed so the fox could retrieve them at a later date, we searched and searched but found nothing but a couple of patches of feathers, i'm still in a dilemma over my 27 remaining girls, i don't want to pen them in but nor do i want a repeat performance, since the local farmers made a posse and blasted 8 foxes in 2 weeks we haven't lost a single one, and i hope it stays that way.

poultrygeist

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2009, 08:47 »
Trouble is, the dispersal of teh youngsters will bring more into the area. If you want to protect them without keepign them in a run, an electric fence is about your only option.

There will always be predation and you can't shoot them all.  :(

Rob 8)

turnip

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2009, 21:28 »
hi,
i know i'm only a newbie to the forum but just wanted to say my two girlies poppy and jenny live in an eglu at night and free range in garden during the day,  I have a sonic Foxwatch  device which i think is effective as have had no fox probs since i got it last summer.

 I leave it on 24/7 as i go out during the day quite often  and the noise is supposed to teach foxes that it knows when they come into range as it goes off when they leave the area. 

I think though that if i had the girls futher from the house or on an allotment i would probably do the electric fence thing.   best wishes  love turnip.

attillathehen

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2009, 23:55 »
I found this great forum whilst looking for advice on electric fencing.  Fed up with dog walkers allowing their dogs to run wild I have decided the only way to keep the hens safe is a electric fence.  So with a good buy on ebay I am now ready to allow the hens back out into the garden. 

Ive read with interest the comments about foxes jumping fences and can only comment that a very large commercial free range chicken farm near us uses a 3 line electric fence and has never experienced predation by foxes. I am hoping that the local fox population has been well trained to avoid a electric fence - I shall be baiting it just to make sure.

I always wondered why my dad used to go and pee on the chicken shed - well it failed to stop the foxes as I can remember the carnage.  They were different times and my dad would leave the carcases in place hoping to shoot the returning fox - as stated the fox population never seemed to be diminished as youngsters would always be in line to replace the dead fox.

Know thy enemy - well he is a handsome intelligent hunter and despite his causing me so much distress I would miss this beautiful animal if he wasn't around.  Don't forget that badgers can be as big a pest as foxes - they are also much stronger and can break into houses that would stop a fox.   Hopefully they wont like electric fences either.

Roughlee Handled

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2009, 13:30 »
On my reading for electric fencing for pigs I came up with this gem of information. 

For a secure boundary fence which will also exclude foxes, consider a 9 wire fence approximately 120cms (4ft) high, using stranded steel wire. With the fence wired alternatively live/earth a fox scrambling over or jumping between wires will receive a shock even though his feet are off the ground.
found here

http://www.rutland-electric-fencing.co.uk/PageAnimalSwine.aspx

henrys.hens

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2009, 19:07 »
A way someone i no did, He bated a fox trap when the fox was caught he phoned up a friend and he came and shot it, After that he got the fox blood and smeered it all over the hen house and on the fencing and he says he has never had another fox come near since then.

Aunt Sally

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Re: Fox proofing for our chickens
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2009, 19:32 »
Woooow....  that's a bit gruesome Henry  :ohmy:
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