Thursday, 14 April 2016



Last year when the fox got 21 chickens we took a break from having chickens and needed to re-think whether the effort was worth it. It wasn't the first fox attack we had suffered. Three attacks. The first lot of chickens lasted a good year and we regularly saw the fox walk around the boundary feet away from the chickens and totally ignore them day after day, month after month, then it attacked.

After that the fence was raised in height. Another attack with all chickens gone. After that attack we put an electric fence around the pen but that failed as the electric fence was on top of the main fence and the fox bounded over both.

This time, having decided that we really did want chickens the fence got raised much higher and the electric fence was put in a better place, outside the main fence and 3 lines near the ground and a foot or 2 away from the fence.

The problem with raising the fence is the expense so the main pen became much smaller. This had the problem that the chickens scratched the ground so much it became mud, and after rain became a bog. Which wasn't nice. The new chickens weren't laying eggs very well, plus they weren't getting enough grit (calcium) in their diet and many were laying soft eggs. The problem with soft eggs is that immediately they were laid another chicken would eat them. From 20 chickens we were only getting 2 to 6 good eggs a day.

Smaller pen with no grass
When the main pen became smaller we also used the other part of the pen with a lower fence for a couple of chickens we were given by a neighbour. The pen wasn't nice for us to walk into or the chickens.

The new pen is twice the original size and 4 times as big as the pen we last made with a high fence.

Before the enlargement.

After the enlargement which incorporates a pear tree and an area of Willow and a few fruit bushes.

Click to enlarge.

It's nice to see the chickens are now spread out, plenty of room for each of them to avoid each other and there is now plenty of grass. Because it incorporates 2 fruit bush beds there is also plenty of manure used as a mulch which they have happily been sifting through looking for worms and slugs.


  1. It must be heartbreaking to keep losing chickens to the fox. My sister keeps chickens, but in urban areas foxes are maybe a bit less of a threat.

    Are you anticipating having to protect the fruit on the bushes from the chickens? If your fruit bushes are currants or similar I'd be worried the chickens might develop a taste for them.

  2. There are current bushes and blackberry. 3 of the 6 or 7 bushes I have caged off, the others I've left. Others have told me that they won't trouble the plants but will eat the fruit. As long as it is just the fruit they eat then that will be fine, they'll get a varied diet and as the bushes get older and have more fruit I may well cage them so I get the fruit. It's a bit of a test at present.

    There is also a load of mint in with them and so far they have left that alone. If they leave the bushes alone I will plant a load more for them, for shade and so they have a more interesting environment, and they can have some fruit once in a while.