While deer and birds are the common visitors in many rural gardens, many people might also be familiar with foxes, a cute and smart yet annoying species. They can eat everything on your farm or garden, from veggies, plants, to chickens, eggs, and other things. Thus, it is necessary to take some preventive measures to protect your plants and pets.
Here are a few things you need to know about how to keep foxes out of your garden.
Why foxes often visit your garden?
Before finding the right way to deter foxes, it is important to know that foxes are smart animals which can adapt quickly to changing landscapes and environments. The main reason why they visit your garden might come from some tasty or interesting things. Here’s a checklist of some common attractants to foxes:
a. A water source
If you have a swimming pool, fountain, or pond in the garden, these might be a great area for some thirsty visitors during the night. Just like other species, foxes are often drawn to a safe source of water and might return again and again.
b. A food source
Leftover pet foods can also attract hungry foxes. Also, if you often feed other wildlife like hedgehogs or birds, it might be a great source of food for foxes as well.
c. An overgrown, messy garden with decking or shed
Foxes are typically skittish and often run or hint to stay away from dangers. So don’t be surprised when you see them in your overgrown garden with discarded appliances or trash.
d. A freshly turned ground or flowerbeds
Foxes typically love digging up your garden by nature. Also, this can be a great way to find grubs or worms for a nutritious and quick snack.
How to keep foxes out of your garden
Once you’ve understood why foxes appear in your garden, it is much easier to deter them by applying the following measures:
1. Make your garden less attractive
As mentioned above, there are many things in your garden that might invite foxes. Thus, the most effective way to deter them is to remove all of these factors to make the area less attractive to them. A few steps to take include:
- Enclose compost and get rid of all leftover foods or scraps
- Cover any standing water during the night
- Stop applying fertilisers which are made from fish, bone, or blood
- Gather excess veggies and fruits rather than leaving them on the plants
- Keep your shoes and other objects inside to keep foxes from using these things to play
2. Remove all possible sources of food
Foxes typically eat anything they could access. By removing all possible sources of food from your garden, you can repel and force them to find their meal somewhere else. For example, consider using metal trash cans with a lid on the outside to prevent them from approaching inside leftover foods. Also, do not leave your pet foods outdoors because these will attract rodents and mice, a common food source for foxes. Lastly, clear your garden of any fallen seeds or fruits often.
3. Try scent repellents
Another effective way to deter foxes is scent-based repellents which contain ingredients with strong smells like ammonium or citronella. This gives the foxes the impression that there are other animals are fighting or living in the same area. However, keep in mind to read the label carefully because some products might contain harsh chemicals which might affect the health of your family and pets.
You can purchase these repellents as a spray or powder which can be applied around your garden and yard. However, make sure to use them strategically in the right location for the best result. For example, you can apply them to soil above deceased pets, compost, or buried food. Also, it is a good idea to put these repellents in any suspected entry spots to your land, or on the top of fences or walls.
4. Use commercial products
These days, there is a variety of commercial products which are specially designed to help farmers or gardeners scare away common visitors. However, most of them haven’t been studied thoroughly yet, and get a mix of reviews from previous users. Thus, it is advisable to do your own research or get advice from experts, friends, or family before purchasing. Some effective options to consider include:
- Devices which can squirt water automatically when foxes approach
- Flashlights that can deter these animals at night
- Ultrasonic devices which could produce high-pitched noises when foxes enter your garden
5. Build a fence
You can easily build a fence with steel, narrow mesh to prevent foxes from entering your garden. Welded wire meshes or hardware cloth should be placed on the bottom so that these animals can’t tear through it with their teeth. If you want extra protection, consider using 2 mesh layers.
Since foxes are great diggers, it is advisable to bury the fence in an L shape with at least 7 inches in depth. Also, keep in mind that these animals can climb or jump an amazing height. Thus, make sure your fence is at least 1.8 to 2 meters in height to prevent them from penetrating. Also, bend the top part around 45 degrees outward to create a long overhang.
6. Set up an electric fence
An electric fence is probably one of the most effective methods to deter foxes. In most cases, these animals often examine the structure before trying to jump or climb. Due to the painful shock from the electric wire, they will be discouraged from attempting to penetrate. For the best result, you should have 3 wires: one in the centre, one on the top, and one at head height of foxes. If you have children or pets, it is not recommended to build an electric fence to prevent any accidents.