Foxes are the number one predator of our chickens in the U.K (unless of course you live on the Isle of Man where there are no foxes!)


Foxes usually rip the heads off chickens and will kill as many birds as they can in a frenzy if they manage to get into a run or coop. Foxes usually get into a run by digging and squeezing under a fence or by going over the top of a fence. Fences need to be buried at least 8 inches deep with the wire then curled flat outwards by another 8 inches. They can clear a 5 foot fence with ease. Remember foxes are more like cats than dogs and can jump!

Foxes can also tear rabbit wire fences with their teeth – it is best to keep fences taught and ideally use the I inch rectangular wire as this is thicker, stronger and they can’t get their teeth into it.

They will squeeze through the smallest of gaps… but don’t take my word for it, this short clip shows him in action!

Foxes usually work alone but towards the end of summer, sometimes the Vixen will hunt with her cubs to teach them.

When are your chickens at risk?

Foxes are generally nocturnal creatures, hunting under the cover of darkness; however when there is a large population of foxes or a shortage of food as is often found in the urban environment, they can start to become a pest during the daytime. Young cubs that are just finding their own food often stay out until mid morning, I frequently see them playing on the bales of hay in the fields near my home in late June and July and from time to time they will come into my garden.

The winter is obviously a dangerous time for chickens when food is short, however the time when most of us get caught out is June to August. Cubs are learning to hunt on their own, will often come early evening or morning when it is light and don’t have the fear to stay away from us.

If your chickens free range, a fox may make a dash, grab a chicken and run off. During these risky times, you may need a small secure run to house them when you are out but there are other options. Electrified poultry netting works wonders at keeping them safe in a large area and you may be able to speak to your local game keeper if you have a problem fox that is very determined.

Do you have any advice on Foxes? Please leave a comment below if you do.


  1. We have 5 pet chickens. One evening,one of the hens wouldn’t go into the coop and was holed up under the house where we couldn’t reach her. She has done this before and has appeared the next day. Now,after 3 days and nights she has completely vanished. There are no feathers in the yard – maybe one or two under the house – no blood spots. We have looked EVERYWHERE. Is it possible for a fox to have taken her without leaving any signs at al?? We have never seen a fox on the property but they ARE in the area.
    We are heartbroken – she was a dear pet.

  2. I am really worried as i am getting chicks soon, who will obviously turn into chickens, and worried the fox will get them. We used to have rabbits and we saw the fox come into our garden more than a dozen times. I am really looking forward to getting chickens them but scared they will get got by the fox. We are planning to get 4, and letting them in their coop and run in the day, out in the garden when we are at home, and locked up in their coop at night. Is there any advise as to how to keep them away. I have heard a few weird ways to keep them out; male urinating around the garden and leaving human hair in old tights but are there any more efficient way to keep Mr fox away?

    • There are lots of old wives tales that aren’t guaranteed to work.

      An electric fence works, I keep my birds on an acre of land and they are safe behind a 4ft fence with 5 electric wires running around the outside, but it depends on your set up.

      A 6ft fence with overhang is another option or a run with a roof.

  3. We’ve got 3 chickens which live in their coop with a run attached during the day while we’re at work, then we let them out in the evening when we can keep our eyes on them. For the last few days a fox has been turning up after we’ve put them back in their coop and although he can’t get them they’ve been getting really freaked out and once we’ve scared the fox away they’re still clucking and running up and down. I’m worried they’re going to get stressed out if this happens every day. Is there anything we can do to either keep the fox away and help the chickens from getting too scared?

    • The best thing is to either prevent the fox from getting too close, stopping them from seeing him or removing the fox by an approved method such as shooting him with the correct calibre rifle or shotgun. You could put an electric fence around the perimeter of your garden or ‘chicken area’ for a while to stop the fox from getting close?

  4. One of my chickens got attacked by a cat, it dragged it off to a neighbors garden. Managed to get it back poor thing had blood on it’s neck. I’ve cleaned it up as much as I can. She seems ok walking around and drinking, hope it doesn’t get infected. Any ideas how to keep cats away ?

    • No, I’m sorry, other than complete fencing on the sides and top of the run or getting a larger breed that the cats won’t bother with.

  5. I have free range chickens on 2 acres. Recently, my Rooster was decapitated and there was a circle of feathers about 10 feet in diameter. Not sure what got him or when (day or night). Will fake decoys of owls or deer or anything deter all preditors ( ground and air)? What about a guinees, I have heard they are protectors.

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