Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

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Learner

Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by Learner » 26 Oct 2012, 17:51

I bought what I thought was a fairly solid coop from an internet site dealing in poultry items. However a fox got in by pushing up the padlocked flap on the nesting box and getting it off its hinges! The removable metal based tray was also damaged out of shape ( and believe me I have tried to flatten it ) by the fox in his frenzy. Maybe the coop would have been ok behind electric fence or in a strong run etc but on its own it wasn't much cop and I am not going to use it again.

SO the question (s) are what do I need to do re building a new coop to outwit foxes? I live in a village so waiting up and shooting the devil is out of the question and though the chooks had a small really secure daytime area; it isn't big enough to contain a coop. So the house will need to be impregnable and I am up for the challenge. :x

I am wondering if raising it up in the air and having a chicken ladder for the girls and a normal ladder for me to get in and clean it ( like HFW version in the River Cottage series) is a good start? The only issue is that it would have to be quite close to a tall hedge ( to shield it from the serious winds we get) , would the fox be able to use the hedge to his advantage?

I have some ideas that I want to thrash out here if that's ok but firstly , is there anything to be gained from putting the coop up high?

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CP
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Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by CP » 27 Oct 2012, 11:21

Sorry to hear of your fox problems. I assume you lost your girls, so sorry. :cry:

A fox will always find the weakest link in your defences & use it to his (or her) advantage, as many of us know to our own loss. :(
It should be possible to use the same coop but just bulk up the weakest spots - like the nest box flap, pop hole & ventilation vents.
If you remove the ladder at night then I suppose foxy will find it near impossible to break in unless he can access it from the hedge or fence. But I think the high-rise idea will prove difficult for you to clean & maintain the coop, especially in bad weather, etc.

Electric fencing is by far the best deterrent. Post some piccies so we can see what your situation is like.
Happy in Hampshire!

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Norvern Rob

Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by Norvern Rob » 27 Oct 2012, 17:05

If you make the doors/flaps on the coop strong enough for you not to be able to pull anything open, then neither can a fox.

The coops/runs sold today must be garbage if a fox can pull them open, it's just an animal (albiet a fairly strong one), not a human with a toolbox. We used to keep hens years ago and have recently started up again, have always used home built coops/runs and never had a successful fox attack.

Learner

Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by Learner » 27 Oct 2012, 18:36

Thanks for the input. I might just raise it up a metre so that any fox will have to stretch a bit if he wants to tackle it.
Do you think sliding doors rather than hinged ones that could be be pulled open would be advantageous?

I showed the metal tray to my neighbour who has been chickens for decades and he was astonished by the denting to it. He keeps his girls in a converted shed, but they never get out so there is probably not much smell and feathers to alert the foxes. But as I want to have mine out in the day, they are bound to leave a trace.

On the old coop, the nest box was padlocked but the fox was able to use the lid overhang to its advantage and he had all night to lever away at it. I did contact the people who made it in case they wanted to modify their design but they said the over hang was needed so that the rain can run off. The screws that were dislodged in the process were about 1" long.
It hasn't been used since then and the even the cat has managed to dislodge one of the roof tongue and groove pieces as she uses the coop as a scratch pad :roll: So absolutely no confidence it it at all. :cry:

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Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by CP » 28 Oct 2012, 11:32

Blimey! Sounds like it's about as much use as a chocolate teapot! :shock:

Other than rescrewing all the joints with longer screws & really making sure of it's security, then perhaps it's best use is for lighting the Bonfire night bonfire! :angryfire:

A lot of us (me included) use converted sheds which are fantastic if you have the room. There must be some members here who can recommend a really good purpose-built coop. I haven't ever used one so can't help really.
Happy in Hampshire!

"If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world" - Nikola Tesla

"Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts" - Nikki Giovanni

''The only thing of importance, when we depart, will be the traces of love we have left behind.'' - Albert Schweitzer

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." - George Washington

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Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by drfish » 29 Oct 2012, 11:14

That just sounds like poor workmanship and materials. My coop has the overhang, but I'm fairly sure event the most determined of foxes would not be able to open it. It sounds like the wood simply isn't of sufficient quality/strength. The problem with this is, as with any 'fad', everyone decided to start keeping chickens and the manufacturers latch on and provide cheaper ways of doing everything, usually to the expense of quality.

My second coop is a hand built job out of good thick hardwood. A grizzly bear wouldn't get in that, so I'm positive a fox won't. Just need to get the chickens to use it now :? :grin:
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pekinlover

Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by pekinlover » 29 Oct 2012, 17:41

My first post so go easy on me.

I looked around at coops and took photo,s and sneaky measurements,everything I looked at was ridicolously priced £280 for a 5 hen coop dont think so.
I am registered disabled and am living off the state ,so money is very tight.
My coop cost me a total of £30,all of the wood was given to me by friends,the metal work I paid for,my coop has 2 locks on the door,the door to the run has an inside lock,my nesting box has a lock on the outside also,I read too many horror stories about foxes so I made it as fox proof as I could.
I even put rockery around and slabs as a seconsary measure.
If you can use a screw driver and a few power tools build your own coop.
I did it and everybody who has seen it is impressed with it
Will probably build another one next year and extend my flock.

Martinhj

Re: Fox proof coop thoughts needed please

Post by Martinhj » 31 Oct 2012, 14:07

We did have regular foxy visitors in the garden before we got chickens. Bought a reasonable combined house + run where the house is raised above one end of the run. We have had the fox sniffing around it but no attempts to get in (a motion sensing outdoor camera tells us when foxy is about!) Having bought electric chicken netting for during the day we ran an extra wire around the edge of the paving slabs surrounding the coop at about a foot above the ground. Foxy shows much less interest now :-)

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