I had never seen a live wild fox up close until last week. Now I am intimate enemies with it. I was caught off guard and felt all the helplessness of seeing it show up in broad daylight and kill chickens while I was a few feet away in the house. So, we moved the remaining chickens to a more secure pen, or so we thought, in the backyard. Today the fox showed up WHILE we were in the backyard and the dog was out and about. Two more for the fox, who has a total score of 5 dead (3 to a skunk earlier this month) and 2 injured. Nothing has made it home for its dinner, so it has to be a little frustrated. I’m not feeling any sympathy. Here is why I think we have a fighting chance:
- The back pen was already made with stronger fencing to help keep the chickens in. (horse pasture fencing)
- This fencing is dug several inches down into the ground.
- For weed control and aesthetic reasons, we recently completed a brick paver path around the main perimeter of the pen, which should further impede digging. The edging pavers are dug in about 5 inches.
- The fence is basically 6 feet high. There is a small gap between the top post and the top of the fencing, but I think the fox would give itself a concussion playing superfox through that.
- I found where it dug under the gate and have barricaded the bottom of the gates with embedded pavers.
- The fencing is wrapped around the outside of the fence posts, which should make it harder to climb.
- If need be, it shouldn’t be too hard to rig some fencing over the top of the pen. Just haven’t quite got my mind around the particulars of doing that, but I’m not giving up!
- Lastly, we (many thanks to Curly Que for being willing to get her hands dirty) are using one of those carcasses against it, as a lure in the trap hidden in the plants behind the chicken pen. Here foxie woxie…
The chicken pen is my composting bin, so I am giving up wheelbarrow access with the pavers so high, but the ground is softer at this door. I may reconfigure at a future date. Meanwhile, I’ll leave the wheelbarrow at the door and carry full buckets to it when the need arises.
We were already “repurposing” some old brick to make a little walkway out the back door of the barn. I think that will help fortify the chicken pen door.
The dirt around the back door is harder packed, so I opted for the sideways positioning of the pavers. I am probably inordinately pleased with myself for figuring out how to fit them all in there tightly, but, helpless female that I am, it is a significant accomplishment for me.
The aforementioned trap is positioned up near the hole that the fox dug under the back fence. Gives a whole new sneaky meaning to the word “foxhole.”
I admit I am somewhat emotionally attached to my chickens, but even if I wasn’t, why should my chicken pen be the local fox fast-food-all-you-can-eat? I aim to outfox this fox.
Anyone else having predator problems? And what are you doing about it!?