Bury­ing wire is recipe for a fox dis­as­ter

Country Smallholding - - Forum -

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

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