Dealing with a Killer fox

An area for discussion of problems with pests and predators. WARNING: People are discussing problems with predators, that includes things such as fox and bird of prey attack. Such posts may not be nice viewing, but are acceptable.

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Dealing with a Killer fox

Postby david1201 » 20 Jun 2015, 23:04

I have joined this forum to offer advice on how to tackle a fox that has killed most or all of your Chickens, I suffered an attack earlier this Week ( Mid June ) & lost all 3 of my chickens, this was upsetting for our grand Children who now miss them, but embarrassing for my as I was a Game keeper for over 20 years!
You could say the "Horse has bolted" as we are not going to replace the chickens, but the fox is never happy taking just one, he has to kill the lot, so I had to bring it to book. I could not shoot it as I live in a built up area, so I had to think outside of the box & outwit the Fox.!!

This is not a typical live catch way that I am going to suggest, in my experience catching the fox in a live trap & releasing it will only result in the fox returning, un- less of course you take him for a good 40+ mile trip, then I still wouldn't be surprised if He re-appeared. To dispatch the fox you will need a powerful air gun or 410 or other small bore shotgun, or be able to call on a friend who owns such . I used my chicken house to catch the killer.

A word of warning, when you do corner or catch a fox be on your upmost guard as he will have you in a flash.

My attack took place at 6.30 AM, I knew this because of CCTV, but lets bust some myths now.

My intended catch was the fox that struck originally, not any others, so other portable catching systems around my property could of resulted in catching the wrong one, although none where welcome round!



On the Day before the attack & into the evening, I had been erecting a greenhouse, right next to the chicken run area, this took me a good seven hours, I may have had the odd fag or two, I may have also had a pee around that area, but the freshness of me & my bad habit's did not stop the fox attack that would take place early the next Morning.

People say urinating round the chicken house / run area will stop fox attacks, they also believe a domestic Dog (as in Male ) & its general urine smell keeps foxes at bay, we have a large garden bound dog as our neighbour but none of this stopped the attack.

Foxes, especially at this time of Year with Cubs are chancers, they will operate till later in the Morning than usual, beware also of foggy late Mornings at any time of the Year as foxes will use the poor Visibility conditions to their advantage, regardless of what time of Day it is.

I live just on the edge of a built up area with farmland starting around a quarter of a mile away.

So that's the outline out of the way, now down to the nitty gritty. Of the 3 of my slain chickens, one was no where to be found, one had the usual head removed & lightly buried & surprisingly the other was lightly buried but with head still intact, all within 1 - 3 metres of the chicken house.

With my remaining 2 dead birds, I deeply buried one of them & kept the other for bait, I had to bring this fox to book for what he had done.

Usually, but rarely, waiting out the next day wont bear fruit, I have often found it will be 4 - 8 days before it returns to recover its haul from its Larder, regardless ,waiting out in the open or in a shed will also often prove a waste of time.

I have heard of Farmers & such folk who have waited out 7 nights on the trot only to not bother on the 8th night & the fox returned ! this translated roughly means the fox knew of the Farmers presence, it would have been able to hear & smell him from many metres away even if he ( Farmer ) remained totally silent, if you live in a isolated area where you could see the fox approaching many fields away then the above may not apply, especially so have you have a centre fire rifle, but for this story I will presume ,like me, you are in a built up area.

My chickens where taken early Sunday Morning, it would be the following Saturday morning before I caught the fox, using on of my buried left behind chickens for bait.

I used a trap system ,using string, a "U" Shaped fencing staple & my hen house & its door, which was now being left permanently open, for all my chickens were dead.

If I could add photos I could explain this better ,but here goes. My chicken house resembles a gypsy caravan with a sliding entrance door at the front on timber guides /runners that guide the door up & down, ( a bit like the old coal bunker style) it is held up open by a gate hook/latch, but this latch would not be used for trapping purposes, whatever your door system you need to think of an ingenious way in how to use it to lock a fox in your hen house, obviously make sure that when you do catch it that it has no other means of escaping as it will have a good go & you will never trap the same fox again.!!

I drilled a hole (10mm Diameter), angled downward (with door in the open up position ) thru the door & the face of the house, putting my arm inside I placed a fine screwdriver ( a nail may do ?) the diameter which was a lot smaller than the drilled hole, if you can imagine now this was now holding the door upward & stopping it coming down (closed ) & if it was to be pulled out the door would drop down shut, this was set quite fine with as little travel as possible in order for it to "spring" but not too finer setting where wind could cause a false shut.

To explain this easier, imagine getting a piece of ply wood, say 9" x 15" place it on a fence or similar then drill a big hole through this ply & the fence, to secure it properly you would fit the correct size screw to drill diameter, but for laymen's sake you are drilling a bigish hole & popping in a thin long nail through both the ply & the fence, if you pulled this thin nail out the ply would fall, this is in effect what I did with my hen house door, but from the inside. Simple but tricky to explain!!

I then got some brown garden string but first stamped it into the mud to help mask any smell of me handling it, I tied it to the end of the screwdriver, mine was a watchmakers type screwdriver so the string would never slide off, I also got some fine wet & dry & polished the shaft of this screwdriver then gave it a fine smearing of vasaline to help it do its job, that being sliding out of its hole that I had drilled.

From the back of my hen house - but looking inside ( thru the egg collection / cleaning entrance ) I could see the end of the screwdriver with string attached, at the back of the house & low down to almost floor level I attached a "u Shaped fencing staple , an old net curtain type hook with screw would do to act as a pulley, these are the shape of a question mark, but I would close this gap to form a full circle, its imperative the string glides through this smoothly without snagging or coming out.

Leading the string from the screwdriver handle to the "u" Shaped staple,( this was half hammered in , in line, level with the angled screwdriver) thread your string through the staple & attach to your chickens leg, from staple to bird leg my string ran about 7" inches, don't leave much slack & try not to let the chicken get fly blown throughout the day. my trap was only set half hour before it got dark.

When the fox entered he would grab the dead bird & instinctively head back out where he came from but in doing so he has sprung the trap.

The fox was caught, looking at the CCTV it was 7.15 AM, I have a small wire netted and Perspex window on my hen house, the Perspex was hinged for Summer ventilation, the fox was going crazy to dig its way out but a gun through the window ( too small for even a stoat to get through) soon dispatched old basil, although he did give the end of the gun a good old bite .

My run had wire fencing all the way round it, it was just over a metre high & I had given 30% of my large gardens to my chickens, I could of made this higher but I have seen foxes deal with 6 foot high fences with ease.

If you are going to use this method then check thoroughly that you have located all dead chickens as the fox will prefer to get any buried ones outside rather than have to come into your hen house.

Do this trap building with no deodorant on , avoid wearing freshly washed clothes & do the trap build as quickly as you can.

Hope this helps you with any trapping ideas, I did bury deep my last chicken with dignity, she served me well, even in death to catch her own killer.

FOOTNOTE.. If you do catch the fox & dispatch it, another one will be along within days to replace it, so always be vigil
Last edited by david1201 on 24 Jun 2015, 15:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dealing with a Killer fox

Postby laffinfowl » 21 Jun 2015, 11:57

In debt post alright and fair play for taking the time and effort to do it.
I have caught a few rogue foxes over the years that had taken birds while out free ranging.
They were caught in proper fox traps and all within a day or two of having struck,i found if they were hungry enough they,d go into anything for food and the weather at the times of these trappings was particularly bleak and cold.
The only thing i would say about your the loss of your birds would be that they were,nt adequately protected in the first instance and thats why fox had a go and succeeded.
You must have wire buried at least 20 inches and a fully wire covered run with electric fencing too if required.
I,ve had people all round me have birds killed and taken while mine have remained untouched,the reason ?
I learned my lesson from those attacks and increased protection after has meant that even though i,ll see the odd one on my boundary they rarely bother coming any closer as they know there are much easier pickings further on, and thats they key,good sturdy and well protected pens/coops and charlie will move on to easier targets,at least thats what i,ve found though the guard never drops where the red lad is concerned !

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Re: Dealing with a Killer fox

Postby drfish » 22 Jun 2015, 11:20

Good, informative post. And some really smart thinking with the trap. How are you with rats? :lol:

Although, they aren't so much an issue now as I'm poultryless. The rats have moved a couple of doors up the street to a friends house who keeps poultry. :oops: :P
Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy - P. J. O'Rourke (thanks Jessie)

It's amazing that people can believe everything is predestined but they still look both ways when crossing the road - Stephen Hawking

1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

And a lot of Ibuprofen.
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Re: Dealing with a Killer fox

Postby david1201 » 24 Jun 2015, 14:59

drfish wrote:Good, informative post. And some really smart thinking with the trap. How are you with rats? :lol:

Although, they aren't so much an issue now as I'm poultryless. The rats have moved a couple of doors up the street to a friends house who keeps poultry. :oops: :P


I would buy a Fenn trap, leave it in a good made tunnel system make sure you check it daily, this will be at work for you 24 Hours a day, no bait need, the foostep of a rat will spring it.

Cheers :mrgreen:
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Re: Dealing with a Killer fox

Postby drfish » 26 Jun 2015, 12:21

david1201 wrote:
drfish wrote:Good, informative post. And some really smart thinking with the trap. How are you with rats? :lol:

Although, they aren't so much an issue now as I'm poultryless. The rats have moved a couple of doors up the street to a friends house who keeps poultry. :oops: :P


I would buy a Fenn trap, leave it in a good made tunnel system make sure you check it daily, this will be at work for you 24 Hours a day, no bait need, the foostep of a rat will spring it.

Cheers :mrgreen:


No idea what one of those is, but on looking on the web, they look like some medieval torture device.
Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy - P. J. O'Rourke (thanks Jessie)

It's amazing that people can believe everything is predestined but they still look both ways when crossing the road - Stephen Hawking

1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

And a lot of Ibuprofen.
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