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darkbrowneggs

Will fox jump onto holly hedge

Hi there all you hunters - this is more about poultry, but I thought this might be the best place to ask my question.

In the snowy weather the electric fencing was no use, so I am thinking of try to change my daytime fox protection.  I am right out in the country, and the foxes come up along the hedge line from a couple of woods which are linked by a stream, and will take birds in the day even when someone is working in fields or garden

I have rabbit fenced to about 4ft high round quite a few of my holly hedges.  If I grew these up higher would a fox scramble through and over the wire?

If the answer to the above is yes could I perhaps add another row of netting to make it about 5 ft high against the holly hedge.  In which case would a fox jump onto a holly hedge (it is the prickly kind) and then get into the enclosure.

I have certainly seen a fox jump onto 6ft high panel fencing with ease - but that was jumping onto the top and jumping down again.

What do you all think?

Thanks for any advice
Sue
Woodsmoke

Foxes will always take the easiest choice, Sue. I doubt very much that they'd actually jump on top of a holly hedge, but they'd certainly scramble through if they can find a way, & a 4' fence would be childs play to them if they see a gap they like....................

I can't say I'm speaking from hard-won experience though, as I haven't yet had any losses from foxes (apart from the few stupid hens who've thought the grass was greener on the other side) Mind you we have dogs, a cat, & ferrets, so maybe the various 'predator' scents around the place are enough to keep them away? I've found signs of fox barely 20 yards from the house a few times though, so they're obviously aware we have hens. I'm pretty convinced they're staying away because they think they have competition.............
TokaS

You mention the rabbit fence...how deep is it buried?  foxes will tunnel under fencing if not low enough.  they will, as has been mentioned, always take the easy route.

have foxes had many of your hens before now?  sounds like you are in an area where foxes are rife..if they are that regular and determined and have gotten used to taking hens from you [or other food nearby] then they will keep coming back.  they will tend towards areas which can provide easy food for them.  if they arent able to get anything then they should only visit occasionally.

no matter what you try you have to remember to be able to maintain whatever you end up with easily...as sods law dictates that the one time you miss a 4" gap or break in the netting/fence you will find the fox has been in.

shooting.... you could shoot the foxes but if they are that frequent visitors it is a sign of food in the area and if shot another fox will move in usually within a few days as they will always gravitate towards well stocked areas.

trapping or snaring.... if you live trap a fox i would suggest it is put down anyway as moving them around doeant work and you may not make friends of local landowners who find your foxes on their land.
snaring is another method that requires careful monitoring and humane dispatch of foxes.

some people have used onion bags [if they are still used] filled with human hair [from a barbers/hairdressers] hung around the enclosure....the human scent may put off the fox?

good luck anyway!!

atb
darkbrowneggs

Hi and thanks for the replies.  Any more input gratefully received also

I have been keeping poultry here for 20+ years, but it is only recently I have taken more interest in my line, so in the past when the fox came in the day and took one I wasn't that much of a problem.  More annoying that disastrous, and once I put up electric fencing the problem was solved.  But of course we haven't had much snow for the last 20 years.  

Now I have more birds I would like to give them a larger protected area, and also allow them access to a large old orchard I have, which since the electric fence has been out of bounds.

About 5 years ago after many years of struggling with an interminable rabbit problem I finally took the major expense of rabbit fencing.  I forget now whether it was a mile or half a mile, but it was a very long way.

I bought 4ft high wire, and buried in just sub surface and right angled to the outside.  Where trees / hedges were a major problem it just had to be buried as much as poss.

For anyone considering this it needs to be higher.  Within a week or so the dog ran a rabbit against the fencing and it just climbed over and out of the way.  So I then had to go all the way round again with another 2 ft or so of wire linked to the top of the other.  So I now have around 4ft/ 4ft 6" protection against much of the hedging.

But the old orchard was not included.  What I am planning is around a 6ft wire fence - which doesn't always look that pretty, so I am intending to let the holly hedges grown up round the outsides.  

I was hoping, and it sounds from the replies that the foxes will be unlikely to jump/scramble on top of the hedge (I certainly wouldn't fancy it myself)

This time I am thinking of using 18/24" of weldmesh for the angled bit at the bottom, then clip some wire mesh above it.  Do you think the bigger chicken mesh will be strong enough for the upper section, or will I have to stick to the 1" mesh.

These jobs are always so expensive that I like to do plenty of research before I start.  It is always so disheartening to do a job and get it wrong.

Sorry for the long post and grateful for any replies
Happy New Year All
Sue  
darkbrowneggs

PS Tokas

A fox visits every night and goes within 10ft of the pens.  He tried digging /gnawing it when they were first done, but without success so now he just gives a quick check round as witness by the tracks in the recent snow.

I don't mind too much as I feel it is my job to keep them safe at night, but a while ago when a chap who helps me sometimes was working up by the poultry, I thought it was safe to let them loose, I was over in the veg garden and heard one of my hens yelling and ran over.  

When I said the fox has taken one he said he just thought it was laying an egg!!!

So since then I have been extra cautious.  I do like to protect them if I can, but I am torn with wanting them to have plenty of freedom to get the extra bits they need.

All the best
And Happy New Year again
Sue
Jonty

I reckon that along with the investment in additional fencing, a fox trap would be some money well spent http://www.solwayfeeders.com/categories/fox-trap-c187.html I've not seen the one in the link in the flesh but their other traps are well made.  At least with the trap set, it's working 24/7.  If you don't have a gun, you would need to make an arrangement with someone with one to dispatch it for you.

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