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SteveP

Fox resistant run entrance

I need to devise a method for the chickens to exit and leave the new night enclosure in the paddock by a route that doesn't give acces to a fox. The enclosure resembles a pheasant release pen and is surrounded by electric wires.

The pheasant grid devices for use at ground level which are available from game rearing suppliers won't allow LF chickens through and anything bigger will probably allow a fox through. The electric wires may protect the weak spot but as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

My only other idea is a ladder over the top of the fence. Has anyone used a chicken ladder to a coop and has anyone had a fox climb it?

Any info or suggestions will be appreciated
wellington womble

I doubt that it's possible myself. If a chicken can get in, a fox definitely can imho. I would be delighted to be proved wrong, though.

Having said that, would it be possible to devise something based on weight - like an open fox trap, so that the weight of a couple of chickens wouldn't trigger it, but a fox would? You have to be pretty certain that enough chickens couldn't fit on the treadle to trigger it accidentally and trap them out. I have one of those, and the birds have been know to get in after the bait and trigger it (and clever Monsieur Reynard figured how to get them out and eat them!). Possibly it would even help the ladder idea, of you had some sort of attatchement that could fail above a certain weight? I am not an engineer, and this is merely speculation. It's easier for us to just go and round up the stragglers every night. (I have one of those automatic coup doors, and still have to check they are all in every night, because most evenings one or two are shut out and waiting on the doorstep for me. It does mean we can go out occasionally and only risk loosing a couple of birds, rather than the whole lot, though.)
dpack

a plank with a nail poking out tied on a bit of string so it dangles in the entrance is said to be fox resistant and the birds just push past it . im not convinced but some recon it works.
SteveP

a plank with a nail poking out tied on a bit of string so it dangles in the entrance is said to be fox resistant and the birds just push past it . im not convinced but some recon it works.


I have more confidence in 8000 volts through a wire for the fox. The chickens don't appear bothered by it.

Whatever method that I eventually use for the chickens will get surrounded by the wire but I would prefer a simple one that is less likely to be used by a fox if the wire goes down.
Slim


...would it be possible to devise something based on weight - like an open fox trap, so that the weight of a couple of chickens wouldn't trigger it, but a fox would? You have to be pretty certain that enough chickens couldn't fit on the treadle to trigger it accidentally and trap them out.... Possibly it would even help the ladder idea, of you had some sort of attatchement that could fail above a certain weight?...


Sort of like a scaled up version of this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXenv5Ulq-k

(except dropping a fox off of a ladder and not a mouse into a bucket)
Cathryn

We have used a narrow tree branch balanced against the hen house sitting at head height. Anything bigger that a bantam would dislodge it. It has worked very well. Our problem is badgers not foxes though. (Our dogs run loose at night and foxes would keep away.)

To my amazement llamas actually do drive foxes away from 'their' hens! Might be a step too far for you.

(We are vaguely considering if we could use them to protect the new born lambs. Not quite sure how they would fit into our farming system yet though. )
wellington womble

I am considering alpacas. It just seems a lot of money to spend on a hobby (I'd have to build fencing, shelter and feed/hay storage). Ty Gwyn

My neighbours have 12 adult alpacas and 6 youngsters,and they continue to lose chickens,lost a gander last week. Bodger

Here's my new pen.
I've used six foot 'Jumbo' plastic release pen netting with a strand of electric wire at the bottom and the top, to stop both the digging fox and the scrambling fox. This was completed a few weeks ago and I have every confidence in the set up.














SteveP

Bodger's pen is constructed like mine except I use two strands of wire around the base. I have used that design for fifteen years and not had a fox get through.

Back to the original post. I still haven't decided how to let the chickens roam the paddock during the day.
Bodger

As long as they know where they roost at night, I'd manually open the gate for them in the morning but then you or someone, would have to be there to close the gate on them ASAP after they'd gone to roost. SteveP

I'd manually open the gate for them in the morning but then you or someone, would have to be there to close the gate on them ASAP after they'd gone to roost.

Which is my problem. I currently work shifts.

Until I devise a solution I will open the gate when I can shut it and am home at roost time.
wellington womble

I have to put mine away early if we are not going to be back from activities or days out before dark. I give them treats when I put them away, and they learn to follow the bowl in, even it's not dusk. Then they are in their foxproof run, so are safe, even if a few don't make it to bed before the door shuts. I have some new ones at the moment, who haven't got the hang of yet, though.

I give mine mealworms, for which chickens (in my experience) will do absolutely anything.
dpack

the electric "portcullis" things for pop holes work ok and can either be set on a timer or to close/open using a photo electric cell as a trigger for the relay

the dirty 4 dozen did ok with one of those until foxey decided to get dinner during the day.
Shan

This is what our gamekeeper does:
wellington womble

I'm intrigued, but completely lost. Can you explain how it works?

It appears I need to look at electric. I have just lost 14 out of the 17 large fowl from the paddock this morning. The garden bantams are fine, and one of my layers managed to escape, for once. Naturally, one of the others is a surplus cockerel (how do they know!?)
Shan

The limited space between the fence and the electric wires means that foxy will inevitable get a nice little shock whatever he tries. wellington womble

I see. Do the birds get through the bars, or can it open? Do they fit through ok? Shan

Birds fit through. Foxy doesn't wellington womble

I see, thank you. I keep reading that foxes fit through five inch gaps, and they do look less than that. I think my light bodied layers would fit ok. Not sure about the meat birds. It does look a good idea, though. Better than risking them getting shut out. Are the bars on the portcullis electrifyied, too?

Sorry to bombard you with questions. Foxes are rather uppermost in my mind this morning....
Shan

Nope, bars are not electrified. The intention of the bars is really to slow them down enough to get a nasty shock on the wires.
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