Fox Proofing the Chicken Coop & Suggestions to Keep Them Away
The fox is an efficient and clever hunter with the capability to dig and maneuver through very small spaces. With little effort, a fox can chew through chicken wire and open latches that are of simple operation. Factory-made coops often have both lightweight wire and flimsy latches which are merely an invitation to dinner for a fox.
Fox are mostly nocturnal animals, so your chickens are most at risk at night, unfortunately, when you’re sleeping. However, a hungry fox who knows chickens are free ranging during the day, will hunt then.
They’re smart and patient, they will watch your coop for weeks before they attack. Every bird the fox can grab in the coop will be killed, often the entire flock will be completely wiped out. They’ll take as many birds from the coop with them. I think I have your attention now, so here’s what you can do to help protect your flock…
How to Fox Proof the Chicken Coop
A wire floor secured to the coop frame will prevent the fox from burrowing under the coop. You can get wire that has bigger holes so your chickens can still scratch in the dirt. If that’s not possible, attach a wire skirt around the coop so that a fox can’t dig or burrow near the coop. However, this means you won’t be able to move your coop.
Enclose the coop with heavy gauge wire and make sure there are no gaps in the corners, around doors, or where the sides meet the roof.
Put two sturdy latches on the coop door, or use a lock.
If there is access to the nest box make sure it’s locked at night.
Building or Buying a Coop?
Ideal housing for chickens where predators are a problem (which is everywhere) is a ventilated shed or structure with solid walls and a floor for overnight. An attached covered pen with heavy gauge wire and perimeter wire skirting for daytime use.
Suggestions to Help Keep Fox Away
Sensor lights near the coop help keep away foxes, you can easily buy solar and put them low to the ground.
Motion sprinklers near the coop are another option, predators are startled by water.
Hope this article helps you keep your flock safe!