Foxproof

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Foxes are medium-sized carnivores that are reasonably proficient diggers and are perfectly capable of scaling a two metre fence from a standing start; larger fences can be cleared with ease if handy props (bins, for example) are nearby to provide a boost. Foxes also have strong, sharp claws, allowing them to climb wire mesh with ease so if your enclosure has no roof the fox can gain entry over the top, the most important point to remember when constructing (or purchasing) a house for your livestock is that chicken wire is not sufficiently strong enough to keep a fox out and foxes can easily bite through it - it was designed to keep chickens in, not to keep predators out. Fences should be composed of strong welded mesh, However you construct your coop/run, it is important that you regularly check it for weak spots (signs of digging/scratching/biting, rust/rot, loose fixtures, and so forth) and repair them as they arise, Ducks, geese, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs should be put away at night in secure hutches or cages. When thinking about what constitutes a “secure” compound, it is important not to underestimate how resourceful and persistent foxes can be. Hutches with simple twist closures are insufficient to prevent a fox gaining access, each door must have at least one -throw bolt ideally two, one at the top and one at the bottom in place. Pets should be shut away at twilight – most poultry will begin to settle down for the night at twilight, and my experience suggests that it takes only a couple of days of being ushered into a hutch for the night for them to realize this is where they should sleep (although I know chickens sometimes rebel!)

Small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be at risk from foxes, but the danger can be mitigated if the animals are securely housed.

Securing a flock of chickens for the night is more involved than securing a pet rabbit or duck. It seems that the most important factor to remember is that foxes will dig as well as climb, and so netting should be dug into the ground or laid flat on the ground around the fence in order to prevent the fox from digging its way under, if the run is a permanent fixture, you can pave the floor and cover the slabs with wood shavings or hemp bedding. chickens persistent scratching means that they may start digging themselves out of permanently sited runs .The wire mesh should be buried 30cm/12 in. (ideally 50cm/20 in.) into the ground, or a secure floor (wooden, metal, paving slabs, etc.) included in the design. In most cases, placing paving slabs around the perimeter of the enclosure, either burying the mesh into the ground or having it run out under the slabs, is sufficient to prevent the fox digging under the fence. Ideally, to do away with lips and over-hangs, the roof of the run should be covered by mesh thus completely enclosing the residents.




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