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How to stop foxy loxy getting your chicken lickens

The dark nights are setting in and the last of the leaves have fallen from the trees. We are in that stark time of year where there are lean pickings in the fields for our own herds.  Local wildlife are feeling the pinch too. Winter now takes its grip and that cold hunger comes calling at the door of our neighbour, the wily fox. It is vital to secure up the chicken sheds, batten down the hatches and keep that particularly ravenous red wolf away from the hen house door.

What can be done to keep out this smart, sly and savvy chicken killer? You could go all Clint Eastwood/Rawhide and lie in wait at the chicken shed throughout the night. Wrapped up warm in your Indian blankets, with your shot gun slung across your lap, chewing on tobacco. Your finger twitching on the trigger, as you scan the yard for any sign of that lean, nasty silhouette.

But let’s face it, that’s probably taking things too far. A far easier approach is to install a strong light. Lighting up the farmyard like Colditz is likely to be more disruptive to the family than the fox, but the ingenious and inexpensive Fox Light is an innovative way to protect lambs, chickens and other livestock from the nasty predators of the night. 

The brainchild of an Australian farmer, the Fox Light ( gives the illusion that someone is walking around with a torch at night.  The random and unpredictable light display runs off a simple six volt battery which can last for up to six months.  Sensors turn it on at sunset and off automatically at dawn.  This is so clever in its simplicity that there will be no need for you to camp out at the chicken house ever again.  Unless, you actually want to.

Many other methods of keeping the common Vulpes vulpes (fox, to you and me) from his chicken dinner include electric fences, roofed in chicken runs and digging the chicken wire under the pen. One farmer even tried motion sensitive sound and light systems which imitated a disco in the field. But foxes are challenging to all poultry and sheep farmers. They exploit any weakness in the security system. So treat it as you would any attack on the farm. Go all commando on the red fiend. 

Keep your boundaries secure and watch for any gaps in the fences, holes in the wall. Rodents and rabbits may dig something small which the fox will expand in order to reach your hens. Be ready to close the door when your birds go to roost. Remember that the fox will come during the day too, so walk around regularly and be vigilant to changes in the bird’s behaviour as a sign of danger lurking nearby. A chicken friendly dog or a loud cockerel are good deterrent.

Many farmers use fox repellent oil and scent.  The oil is particularly useful for protecting lambs in open fields. ( 

Some people say that human urine is a very strong discouragement for the cheeky fox.  It is a strong discouragement in general. But before you go marking your territory around the chicken coop to the dismay of your family, friends and the visiting post-man, it has to be stated that prevention is better than any cure for keeping foxy loxy from devouring henny penny.

Remember, foxes are clever and they’ll strike when your guard is down.

They’re smart, and they learn quickly:
Once they’ve had a taste of chicken, they’ll be back for more, again and again.
A good safe house for poultry is essential.
Bury chicken wire underground wiring, use electric fencing or house in a sturdy barn would be advantageous.
Increase visibility around the coop by keeping grass low and leaving nothing around for the fox to hide in or around. 

Constant vigilance and common sense should keep your ladies safe in the coop and leave the fox without his tasty chicken nuggets.