Burying wire is recipe for a fox disaster
QWe have many foxes around us, so I built a fox-proof fence — or so I thought. I buried the wire in the ground, but it got dug under by something and a lot of my hens were killed. This is so dispiriting. What can I do?
VICTORIA ROBERTS SAYS:
I sympathise with your loss. A permanently fenced enclosure using chain link or other strong fencing material is usually the most effective solution to mammalian predators. However, digging wire into the ground is a common mistake that people make — if you dig down to put wire deep enough to prevent a fox digging under, you have already loosened the soil for it, despite some tamping. It is so much easier and more effective to purchase 2.5cmx1m (1inx3ft) wire netting, securing the top 40cm (1ft 3in) to the upright fence (cable ties work well) and then laying the remaining wire at a right angle over the top of the grass on the outside. Peg it down with cut-up coat hangers or pieces of wire bent over. In a short space of time the grass will grow through the wire and hold it all down. This lasts for years as moisture drains through. Any fox worth its salt will dig next to the fence, not 60cm (2ft) away from it. An overhang at the top of the fence will deter a climbing fox and an electric fence wire about 20cm (8in) high and kept free of grass and twigs with a good fencer current will deter all mammalian predators. Badgers can be a problem, however, as they are so much stronger than a fox.
Chain link fencing ( right) offers better protection than electric