Foxes and what they are capable of.

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dinosaw
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Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by dinosaw » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:48 pm

In the light of some of the recent fox attacks on forum members and on some of the misconceptions that I have seen about them both here and around the web I thought it might be useful to just have a recap of what needs to be guarded against. So I will try to debunk some of the common ideas I have seen out there.

1) Foxes don't hunt during daylight

This one for me is a bit like the 'you can't get pregnant the first time' myth. Not sure why it still pervades, yes foxes traditionally have preferred hunting at night due to their excellent night vision which gives them a distinct advantage over their main threats, namely man and dog who don't see well in the dark, however they are incredibly adaptable creatures and are increasingly realising that daytime is when humans are less likely to be around and don't generally now face the threat of outside dogs. Expect fox attacks at any time, including during the day.

2) Foxes can't climb a six foot fence

They can and do, I've seen a fox jump, not climb but jump five feet from a standing start. Apparently they are capable of jumping nearly 7ft vertically, add a bit of scrabbling up the fence and I would say nothing short of 8ft can be considered fox proof unless it has an outward protruding lip
Again it is surprising what some people think, when I moved in here in addition to the existing run there was a 30m square enclosure, the guy who had built it had gone to the trouble of digging mesh down into the ground, double meshing the bottom 1ft but amazingly had only left it 4ft high!.

3) Chicken wire will keep a fox out.
What is commonly sold as chicken wire with the diagonal holes will not keep out a fox, they can and do rip it apart, using weld mesh at anything less than 18 gauge runs a risk.

4) Peeeing round my borders will keep them out

Old wives tale frankly.

5) A fox couldn't have gone through my wood/plastic/wire
If it is in good repair, nailed properly and made of sturdy timber than a shed might be considered secure, however any rot or even remotely loose boards where a fox can gain purchase is asking for trouble and there are plenty of stories on the various forums of foxes ripping holes in sheds, in perspex panels and in wire. People often seem unable to believe the level of destruction a fox can wreack but consider the following scenario for a moment.

You are in a situation where you're not just hungry, you are starving, worse than that, your kids are starving too, what lengths would you go to to secure some food?. That is often the situation with foxes, they will risk injury and breaking their teeth trying to get into the chickens and keep going until they either succeed or the structure proves too tough to beat. Take a look at this link from a rabbit keeper.
http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/showt ... ortunately!)

This was off the top of my head so please feel free to add any you have come across yourself.
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Marigold
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:48 pm

Very useful, Dinosaw, and how true.
I'd just like to add one to your last item -

5b) Foxes are bloodthirsty murderers who kill for the joy of it.

They kill to survive, and if there are more chickens on offer than they can carry away, they very sensibly kill the lot, carry away what they can, and hope the rest will still be there when next they are hungry.
This is useful to humans when baiting traps, if they can bait a fox trap with a killed carcass without adding too much human scent to it.
That's just what foxes do, our feelings about it are totally irrelevant to them. Yes we get very distressed when they come on our patch and kill our birds, but they are beautiful and intelligent animals with their own place in our ecosystem, and it's no use complaining about foxes if we've failed our birds by giving them insufficient protection.
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rick
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by rick » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:02 pm

Re; 5b,
I remember seeing a program about some small animal (can't remember what it was just now) that when attacked would enter a death like state on the fairly safe assumption that it would be left to pick up later. The effect was quite comical as, if startled, a group would all appear to drop down dead then would recover and wander off 10 mins later.
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Marigold
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:06 pm

One more -'
6) 'I've had a fox attack, it's been shot/hasn't been seen lately, so I feel safe now, I don't expect another one."
Linked with 'My birds are only happy when out free ranging, I would hate to keep them in an enclosed run/ I haven't got enough space to make a big enough fixed run for them/ I don't like the idea of electric fencing.'

When one fox leaves a territory, for whatever reason, sooner or later another will move in to take its place. Unless you live in an area where farmers or gamekeepers actively control and exterminate foxes, you'll need to seriously increase the level of protection you provide if you know or suspect foxes are around.
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Marigold
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by Marigold » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:52 am

And another;
1B) "I know foxes live nearby, but they only come through our garden at night when the chickens are shut away'
"I've seen foxes in our garden but they don't seem to attack the hens so I think they've given up."
"We only let the hens out when we can keep an eye on them."
This is the most dangerous time of year for fox attacks as they have cubs to feed as well as themselves. Also, the long hours of daylight mean that even normal, overnight hunting is extended into late evening and very early morning, when chickens are still active. Hunting is a round-the-clock job for them. It's often a very fast, in-and -out operation, hen is snatched and removed before the human can react (and realistically, what could you do about it?)
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by chickenfan » Wed May 04, 2016 11:02 pm

Have got worried about my field run as its only 6 ft high and the roof is flimsy netting. How do you do the outward-facing bit at the top? I think I'm going to put barbed wire at the moment. This is what they use at Organic Pullets (the main organic hybrid pullet supplier in the UK) They have 5-6 foot of fencing then two strands of barbed wire above it, which they say works well, and they do have thousands of birds. I've also heard that if a fox can see an easy way out it won't go in.
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dinosaw
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by dinosaw » Thu May 05, 2016 9:10 am

The key point is that you do have some roofing though chickenfan, the fox will be aware of that and will know it just can't bound over the fence and straight in. If you want to angle some mesh its quite simple with something like 16g you just bend it outwards at a 45 degree angle.
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by chickenfan » Thu May 05, 2016 4:15 pm

So the angled wire doesn't need a frame and outward posts?
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dinosaw
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by dinosaw » Thu May 05, 2016 7:08 pm

Not if it is rigid enough, you only need about 1ft or so of overhang so it ought to be self supporting.
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rick
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Re: Foxes and what they are capable of.

Post by rick » Thu May 05, 2016 8:37 pm

If its like the principle behind barbed wire then its supposed to give to some degree under the weight of the intruder anyway (without actually coming off) as that makes it harder to climb over (and you can see evidence of an attempt.)
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