Tracks

Like the tracks of many wild canines, fox tracks tend to be oval in overall shape. They have 4 toes with a generally triangular shape. Each claw on a fox's foot generally registers directly in front of each toe. In some substrates the claws might not register clearly or be hard to see.

Droppings/Scant

Like the droppings of many canines, fox feces often has a ropey, tapered, and partly segmented shape. Fresh red fox feces often has a distinct musky scent. Fox droppings typically does not have the offensive odor common to domestic dog scat. Fox feces is generally 3/8 to 5/8 inches in diameter and 3 to 6 inches long.

Sounds

Foxes make a variety of noises, including yelp, growl, bark, explosive calls, whines, and combative calls.
Fox map

Kills similar to:

The Fox

Foxes are an opportunistic and intelligent predator, known for causing heavy losses in chicken coops. Foxes usually carry off their victims to an alternate location to consume them.

There are several different species of foxes found worldwide, however the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the most common and widespread species. Foxes belong to the Canidae family, which also includes dogs, coyotes, jackals, and wolves. Like other members of this family, foxes are excellent diggers, climbers and jumpers. As such, in order to protect your flock members from fox attacks, you are going to have to build a secure fence or enclosure that keeps foxes from digging underneath or jumping and climbing over the top. There are several design variations which may accomplish this. In addition, you will need to lock your birds up at night in a fox-proof coop or alternative housing structure that is secure.
PoultryDVM Predator Profile - The Fox


Habitat
Red foxes build their dens frequently within close proximity to humans, and often live close to farm buildings. Their dens tend to be difficult to detect, which red foxes will dig themselves or take over an abandoned burrow left by other animals such as badgers and or woodchucks.

Red foxes are nocturnal and are most active during the early morning hours and during the first couple hours of darkness following sunset, but can on occasion be found during the day, especially when it is dark and overcast.

Exclusion

Fence height : Since foxes are good jumpers and climbers, fences should be at least 6 ft (1.8 m) high.

Fencing material : Use galvanized 19-gauge or higher, 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch hardware cloth fencing.

Close off gaps or spaces : Ensure that any enclosure openings are less than 3 in (8 cm). Securely seal up any questionable areas with hardware cloth and zipties or other form of fastening.

Prevent foxes from digging underneath : Bury the bottom of fencing 1-2 ft (0.3-0.9m) into the ground, w/ an apron of hardware cloth extending at least 12 in (30 cm) outward. Alternately, bring hardware cloth outward and secure with anchors, large stones and/or native low level vegetation. Hardware cloth can also be fixed to concrete or wood floor or foundation surface.

Prevent foxes from climbing or jumping over enclosure : Completely enclose the top of the structure (roof) with hardware cloth, attached using UV-resistant, black, heavy duty nylon cable ties.

Discourage climbing : Install an overhang along the top of the enclosure that is at least 60 cm in circumference; curved or shaped at an angle, downward

Install electric fencing : Use a 3 wire electric fence with wires spaced 6 in, 12 in, and 18 in (15 cm, 31 cm, and 46 cm) above the ground.

Frightening

  • Lights : Motion detecting bright lights may serve as a deterrent
  • Invest in a guard dog : When properly trained, some breeds of dog, such as Great Pyrenees and Akbash, may be effective in some situations
  • Invest in a guard Llama : Llamas, guanaco, alpacas and their hybrids are known for their ability to protect poultry and other livestock from coyotes, dogs, foxes, and other predators from the canine family. Typically a single, unbred female make the best guardians. A study conducted in 1990 by Iowa State University found that 80% of sheep producers with guard llamas rated them as effective or very effective at protecting their livestock.
  • Noises : Foxes are scared off by loud noises, turning on a loud radio may serve as a deterrent
  • Motion-detecting sprinklers or squirt with a hose :

References

  1. B Benham. The Fox Attack. Brianbenham.com. 2014.
  2. Tesky, Julie L. 1995. Vulpes vulpes. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/mammal/vuvu/all.html [2016, July 27].
  3. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, Gary E. Larson. 1994. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols.
  4. Alderleaf Wilderness College,. (2014). Fox Tracks and Sign. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://www.wildernesscollege.com/fox-tracks.htmlDesigns, H. (2014).
  5. Moberly RL, White PC, Harris S. Mortality due to fox predation in free-range poultry flocks in Britain. Vet Rec. Jul 10;155(2):48-52. (2004).
  6. National Trappers Association - Gray Fox. Nationaltrappers.com. Retrieved 17 December 2014, from http://www.nationaltrappers.com/grayfox.html
  7. Designs, H. (2014). National Trappers Association - Red Fox. Nationaltrappers.com. Retrieved 17 December 2014, from http://www.nationaltrappers.com/redfox.html
  8. Franklin, W. L; Powell, K, J (July 1994). Guard Llamas: A part of integrated sheep protection. Iowa State University. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  9. National Geographic,. (2014). Red Foxes, Red Fox Pictures, Red Fox Facts - National Geographic. Retrieved 17 December 2014, from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/red-fox/?source=A-to-Z
  10. A.Cawthray. (2012). How to foil a fox attack on your chickens. The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2012/jul/11/chickens-foxes