It has been an age-old battle – the fox versus the hen. And when you own a chicken coop this battle becomes real.
There is no secret that foxes love the taste of a chicken. Old geezer or fresh out of the nest, no chicken is safe unless you take the appropriate pet care precautions for your brood.
When did foxes first meet Australian hens?
It was back in Victoria in 1855 when the European red fox was introduced to Australian soil. Foxes back then were part of an acclimatisation program for recreational hunting. Fast forward to the tweens, foxes are now the third largest carnivorous mammal on the mainland.
Chicken, other breeds of poultry, lambs, small mammals and reptiles are all culinary favourites for foxes who are now considered pests.
Foxes are experts at climbing, digging and sniffing out a chicken a mile away. Here are the handyman secrets for building an area that will keep your chickens safe from their cunning arch enemies.
Why is it a good idea to build a fox-proof chicken pen?
Custom made chicken coops are great if you are not so keen on supplying a fresh meal for a fox every night. Secure chicken coops are considered one of the easiest to master and most humane ways of controlling foxes.
Features of a fox-proof chicken pen
Effective fox-proof chicken coops need to include some important design features:
- A fully-enclosed chicken house with a fox-proof door, roof and floor netting.
- Foxes can climb and scale fences with ease, even if they are electrified. A secure chicken coop needs to be gap-free, including around the base, roof and door area.
- A curved overhang should be included to prevent foxes from jumping and scaling the fence.
- Bury wire netting a minimum of 450mm below ground level to prevent foxes from digging under the fence.
- Include an apron of netting at the base of the fence angled outwards for 500mm. This will also discourage foxes from digging under.
- Place a 600mm strip of metal sheeting or shade cloth material around the bottom of the fence on the inside. This will harbour the ability for foxes and other predators to see what is inside the pen.10mm bird or mouse wire is the most effective wire to use.
Other humane methods of controlling foxes
- Add sensor lights to the exterior of your chicken coop. The bright sensor light will scare away foxes and other predators when activated.
- Listen for cues from your family dog, they are generally good at knowing when there is a fox about.
- Do not leave your chickens roaming free at night time. This is too much of a temptation and easy target for foxes who will thank you for the free meal.
With some appropriate pet care for your chickens, foxes will become just a problem of the past.
Not so handy on the tools? Just hire an Airtasker handyman to fox proof your chicken coop. They will have it done in no time at all.