Chickens on Allotments - Hungry Fox
Chickens are a delicacy to a fox. Making runs and coops fox-proof is difficult as a determined fox would have a go at Fort Knox. It is a heartbreaking sight to find the carnage left by a fox so take extra care securing the run. A fox attack on chickens is a harsh side of nature but foxes do keep down rabbits and we all have to live together somehow.
Especially during the winter months there can be an increase in determination by a fox due to the shortage of food making them more bold. The fox problem in urban areas is becoming a real problem these days and the town fox is much bolder than it's country cousin. Some people in towns are pleased to see a fox and will insist on leaving food out for them. Urban foxes with no fear from humans now seem almost a different species from their cousin the rural fox.
Electrified poultry netting is not usually an option at allotments. A fixed run with a strong physical barrier is required. Wire mesh should be minimum 19gauge/1mm thickness of steel wire galvanised mesh. I.e. not chicken wire which will be too thin and a fox can chew through it. 25mm x 25mm will be adequate for foxes. 25mm x 13mm mesh will keep out rats out as well. Security panels (e.g. Heras panels) from building sites also make good fences.
For a walk-in run, a fence of 6ft high is usually adequate. Bury 9-12" in the ground around the bottom of the run in an L shape (i.e. the bottom should be angled outwards). The run will need a roof which can be made with a similar wire mesh or solid corrugated plastic.
The roof cover can be done with strong fruit cage netting. Fruit netting is reasonable cheap. A fox is unlikely to try walking on it because it is so unsteady it will feel like they are going to fall. The only problem might be sagging when there is heavy snow. An automatic pop-hole closer is expensive but can be worth it to keep the fox out of the coop at night.
Anything left around the perimeter can be used to climb on but a fox can also clamber up the sides and jump. A fox has a similar agility to a cat. Keep this in mind as well as their strong teeth and good digging ability.
It is not an illegal act to catch a live fox in a cage-type trap but anyone operating these traps is obliged to check them twice a day so that, if an animal is caught inside, it is never left there without food or water for long. Disposing of the fox must be done both quickly and humanely. You are not allowed to use drowning, electricity or dogs to kill the animal.
Do not take the fox to a different area and release it back into the wild. Foxes are territorial animals so if you release one animal in another's territory then fighting and death or serious injury is the likely result. An option is to contact someone, perhaps a local farmer, who can use a gun to put the fox down.