Do you have a problem with foxes on your farm or in your garden? Learn the #1 way to get rid of foxes- plus 5 more tips on deterring foxes from coming on your land in the first place!
Foxes can be a major problem for homsteaders. We used to allow our chickens completely free range, but once we started losing one or 2 a day we had to put them in a large run instead. Last year we even had a fox family move into our cow pasture- where the ducks love to hang out!
Our ducks still free range most of the day- until their numbers started dropping about one a week. The foxes were getting braver. Even standing on our front walk while I yelled from the deck.
We had to start physically chasing them off. That would stop them for a day or two, but we still needed to find a way to get rid of foxes for good.
What You Need to Know About Foxes:
Foxes are wild animals that are related to dogs. The most common fox you’ll see around your farm or garden is the red fox. These are the orange-red foxes with a bushy tail. They tend to hang out more in rural areas, but can venture into urban areas or cities if they need to.
Compared to other predators, like coyote, they can be quite docile. And they aren’t much of a risk at all to larger livestock. And, while they are beautiful to look at, when it comes to keeping your chickens, ducks, or other small animals, it’s best to keep them from setting up a home on your land.
Foxes usually won’t attack your adult dogs or cats. They prefer to go for an easy meal and avoid conflict. Though if you have a very small dog or kittens, they could be in danger.
Foxes are extremely smart. They will watch you and your habits and learn when it is the safest to make an attack on your poultry
Because they are so intelligent, live traps tend not to work for foxes. You are more likely to catch a raccoon or your barn cat in a live trap.
While foxes do hunt at night most of the time, they can and will hunt during the day time too. This is especially true during winter and when a mother has kits to feed.
The best way to keep your birds safe while you try to get rid of foxes is to keep them in a secure coop and run.
We had issues for years with fox holes popping up in our pastures and in the wooded hillside beside out home. Then one day we got a tip from an old timer- someone who’s been a farmer and livestock owner for a long time. And here it is:
The #1 Way to Get Rid of Foxes for Good:
And I don’t mean marking your territory around the chicken coop or run. That won’t deter these foxes- though it’s probably a good idea to still do that.
What you have to do is search out the actual fox den and urinate directly into it.
This can be quite fun for any young boys you might have at your place. Send them on a fox hunt and let them mark any areas that look like they might be fox dens. Alternatively, you can collect urine in a jar and pour it around the dens.
Foxes have a strong sense of smell, so the smell of your urine alerts them to the possibility that a competitor has taken over the territory and encourages them to move on.
The foxes on our property like to move into old groundhog holes, so we mark all those as well.
Related Reading: Pros and Cons of Free Range Chickens
Before we started using this tip, we would see foxes all through the day. We would see them on our front walkway and they wouldn’t run even when we came onto the front deck. We had to physically chase them off.
We haven’t found all the dens in our area- there are a lot! But we have drastically reduced the amount of foxes we see during the daytime when our birds are out roaming.
Foxes are stubborn, especially in the winter when food is more scarce, so you have to be diligent in searching out any new dens. But foxes are nomadic and if you consistently deter them they will move on to an easier place to hunt.
Have healthier, happier chickens! The Busy Homesteader’s Backyard Chicken Binder is full of checklists, to-do lists, record sheets, and resources to help you care for your chickens in the best way possible!
5 More Effective Ways to Get Rid of Foxes
Use Motion Sensing Lights
A motion sensing light will come on when the fox walks by and startle the fox. Foxes don’t like sudden changes in movement or light, so a motion sensing light uses the fox’s natural nervousness against them.
You could also use other motion sensing items such as a sprinkler system or sound devices that would startle the fox enough to make them move on.
Keep Your Yard Clean
When we moved to our farm there were tons of old wood piles, brush piles, and brambles all over the place. These gave the foxes the perfect place to build their dens.
It gave them a safe, hidden place to hid their kits.
So by keeping your land free of these brushy areas, you’ll take away those safe hideouts.
If you have a compost heap, you might want to think about keeping it inside of a fence or enclosed in some way. Foxes are omnivores and will rummage through your garden or compost in search of food such as fruits or vegetables.
They may even rummage through your garbage cans looking for food scraps! We’ve found watermelon rinds scattered down our driveway in the mornings after a fox’s nighttime search for food.
Build a Fence
This could mean fencing in your small livestock or your garden area. Or it could mean fencing in your entire perimeter. This provides a physical barrier against the foxes.
If you decide to go this route remember that foxes can dig and they can jump about 3 feet. This means they can climb under or over many fences.
Digging the fence down a bit under the ground will help prevent them from digging under your fence. An electric fence is also an option to deter foxes from passing the barrier.
Also be sure to build a fence with openings that are too small for a fox to fit through. And secure it so that there are no gaps that a fox could slip through.
Get a Large Dog
As I mentioned above, foxes usually steer clear of large domestic dogs. And many dogs will protect their own territory from foxes.
This doesn’t mean you have to get a livestock guardian, although that would be a great option, just your average pet will help deter foxes from coming around.
Similar to my tip about urinating in the fox dens, foxes can smell the dog’s presence on your property and will think the territory is claimed already. I have found that our chickens and ducks stay much safer once we placed their run right beside our dog’s yard.
Repel Foxes With Smells
As I mentioned, foxes have a strong sense of smell- and you can use this to your advantage by using scents that are repellent to them.
Some scents that foxes hate are:
- Cayenne or chili pepper (they don’t like the capsaicin)
- Urine of other predators (you can purchase fox repellents or deterrent sprays that are made of urine from other animals)
- Strong smelling essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, or citronella
You may have to use them smells on a regular basis to keep the foxes away, so refresh them often!
If you have tried all of these tips and are still having trouble with foxes on your property, you might have to call in professionals.
There are pest control companies that focus of removing wildlife such as foxes. They can help you safely remove the foxes- hopefully without harming them. They can also help you if you happen to have a trapped fox!
Some people might tell you to get a gun and just shoot the foxes, but I prefer to take a less violent and harmful path. I believe that we- animals and humans- can all share the land, so it’s our job to make sure that they know what is their territory and what is not.
You don’t want to impact the environment by destroying part of the ecosystem.
But if you do decide to go with that option, be sure to check your local regulations for handling pests like foxes.
While you are searching for the fox dens near you, check out these articles on predator proofing and keeping your poultry safe:
Out Foxing the Fox from Back Yard Chickens and Chicken Tractors
Predator Proofing Your Chicken Coop and Run from One Acre Farm
Predator Proofing 101: How to Keep your Chickens Safe Day and Night from Fresh Eggs Daily
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