A sly fox

How to Keep Foxes Away from Chickens

Our feathered friends are flocking all happily around their pen or free-ranging around the plains when they are suddenly plucked from their haven. Foxes are a vigilant predator so it’s important that we learn how to keep foxes away from chickens. No matter whether you are in the planning stages or already have an established flock, you are gonna want to read this post.

We spend a lot of time researching the right breed of chicken to meet our goals and then we plan out their home very carefully. These efforts usually pay off but it’s still surprising at how often we worry so much about keeping chickens in that we forget that we also have to keep the predators out.

Follow these amazing tips and learn how to keep foxes away from chickens forever.

Red fox on a grass field

Know the Signs

My first piece of advice here is to know the signs that make it evident that you are dealing with foxes. These predators have retractable claws that provide stealth when they are sneaking up on prey. While the fox is technically a part of the canine family, they hunt more like cats by using stealth to sneak up on prey and then using their sharp claws to pounce.

When a fox hunts free-ranging chickens, they will usually only snatch one at a time since they are harder to catch. However, when they get into an enclosed location like a henhouse, then they will kill as many as they can carry. Look for the following clues to determine if a fox is actually to blame.

  • Only one or two chickens are missing from an enclosed location
  • Chickens are disappearing when free-ranging
  • Clumps of feathers left behind by missing chickens
  • Very little blood found or none at all
  • Chickens disappearing in the early-morning or late-evening

You might also notice that some chickens are injured if they are all in a coup. Broken wings, legs and other visible wounds can be found on survivors of a fox attack.

Make Your Property Less Attractive for a Fox

Preventative measures start with a simple cleanup of your property. Learning how to keep foxes away from chickens is a game of percentages so you need to reduce the chances of them coming onto your property. Every step you take will reduce the chances of them grabbing your poor innocent chickens.

There is no magic formula for protecting your property. It’s really all about outsmarting the fox. Planning goes a long way so you can keep them from approaching the property in the first place. Follow these tips to make your property less appealing:

  • Remove and prevent food scraps from being placed in your yard.
  • Enclose all compost so it’s not easily approachable.
  • Prevent or cover standing water to eliminate a potential water source.
  • Don’t use fertilizers that contain blood, fish, or bones since it attracts all kinds of predators, including foxes.
  • Stop leaving fruits or vegetables in your garden. Harvest them daily.
Red fox lying on green tall grass

Bury All Chicken Wire And/Or Upgrade

This will be so much easier if you are still constructing the area but you must fix this issue even if the fence is already up. Foxes will dig under chicken-wire so one of the initial steps of learning how to keep foxes away from chickens is to bury the wire at least six inches underground. Plan for a lot of work if you have already constructed the pen or free-range area because you will have to pull up existing wire and then reinstall it.

Understand the different types of wire too. While chicken wire will keep chickens in, hardware mesh is designed in a way to keep foxes and other predators out. If a fox is hungry enough, it will find a way through the chicken wire so if the problem continues, then you will need to upgrade.

Dig a trench that is six inches deep and bury the bottom of the fence. This will stop foxes from digging underneath it.

Consider Electric Fences

If you have free-ranging chickens, then it’s going to be even more difficult to keep predators out. Consider running an electric fence around the base of your existing fence to deter predators.

Electric fences are very easy to install. Just make sure you follow the instructions.

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Increasing Visibility Will Make Foxes Uncomfortable

Cut back any overgrowth that might be within 100 feet of your chicken coop. Foxes are going to feel vulnerable without cover so they will be less likely to attack prey in the open. If you are raising free-range chickens, then you should make sure the area is cut and try to remove any cover from areas outside of the fence. I know that this is not always possible but every little bit will help.

This will not completely prevent foxes from attacking. But it lowers their chances since predators do not like to be seen before making a kill.

Block Access Holes as Soon as You Spot Them

Regularly inspect the coop or the fence surrounding your free-range chickens. Even small holes or gaps in the fence are enough for a predator to wiggle its way through so fix them immediately. This not only protects against foxes but other predators. For example, a weasel will kill a large number of chickens and can fit through a half-inch hole.

Perform a routine monthly inspection to ensure that your chickens are safe.

Install a Motion Sensor Light

Foxes will run away the moment a spotlight pops on so this is a great way to keep them away. The problem is that motion sensors can activate from chickens as well so you have to make sure they are installed correctly. Plus these are not feasible for free-range areas but they work wonders for a chicken coop.

Set up the sensor so that it activates the light when it detects motion near the chicken coop.

Finally, you can even program newer motion detectors to send you a text notification when the system is activated.

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Consider Getting a Dog

First of all, make sure you supervise your new dog around chickens to make sure it doesn’t become the predator. Dogs are an amazing way to keep foxes away from your free-range chickens.

The scent of a dog will actually disturb most predators, including foxes so they will stay away. Dogs will also alert on the presence of anything that doesn’t belong. Again, this is going to scare away foxes.

Guard dogs have been used for free-range chickens as an effective measure against all types of predators.

Dog near the chicken

Use Human Scent Marking

This is one of the most popular methods for deterring foxes from your chickens and it’s really simple. Foxes will mark territory by urinating around a perimeter. For the most part, they are really good about respecting these boundaries so why not create your own?

There are a couple of different methods that we can use here. Either one is extremely effective so you can choose whichever one works best for your unique circumstances.

Method 1: Collect human hair. You can either get a haircut if needed or ask a local barber. Then you can hang this hair strategically around the boundary to create the zone.

Method 2: You can purchase Scoot Fox Repellant to work in the same manner. You’ll probably want to choose the latter.

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Install Sonic Repellents

This is one of the areas where you are going to get what you pay for so if you want the best results, then you can expect to spend quite a bit of money. With that said, sonic repellents are highly effective. Foxes hate noise so they are not going to get anywhere near these repellents.

If you also own a dog, then you’ll have to invest a little more money to get the type that only makes a sound when a predator is approaching. If you use the kind that is always active, then your dog might end up packing their fur and leaving you for better pastures.

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Lock up Your Chicken Coop at Night

A fox is a highly intelligent creature that can actually open simple locks so you need to use a mechanism that is not as easy to open. I recommend a Carabiner because it requires opposable thumbs to open.

Padlocks are also a second choice and they can protect your chickens from people as well. Believe it or not, there are some who might steal your chickens but as far as foxes are concerned, just be sure that the locking device cannot be easily opened.

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This method will only work for chicken coops.

Following these tips will help keep your chickens safe and secure. If we’ve missed an important step in regards to the topic of how to keep foxes away from chickens, then feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

QUOTE:
"People talk about fools counting chickens before they hatch. That's nothing. We name them."
-- Orson Scott Card, Alvin Journeyman

2 thoughts on “How to Keep Foxes Away from Chickens”

  1. Ducks. I know they do not make good yard mates with your chicken, however, they are active at night and, unlike your chicken, can see well at night. I have lost one duck to a fox when it wandered off into the woods, but, many’s the time my ducks have warned me of the presence of a fox overnight. If you are a fairly light sleeper, and who isn’t if they are losing chicken at night, the ducks are loud enough to warn you of trouble nearby.

  2. Thanks for the advice. At my place we plug in a radio and turn it on when the chickens are out during the day, but the radio is loud enough to where you can hear it from the treeline.

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