5 Best Animals to Protect Your Chickens from Foxes

Close-up of the face of a fox with mouth open

Foxes are commonly portrayed as sly and sneaky. I assure you, those who own chickens would agree with this portrayal. Foxes might look cute and soft, but those carnivorous coop creeps have become an increasing problem for chicken owners.

Foxes are omnivores and often maintain a diet of various rodents, birds, and vegetation. When available, chickens are first up on the menu for foxes. If you own chickens, consider putting precautions, such as other animals like roosters or dogs, in place to keep those birds safe and sound.

Are there any common tips for protecting your chickens? What precautions can be put in place to ensure optimal safety? In this article, we will uncover what animals can best protect your chickens from becoming a fox’s next meal. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Foxes are omnivores that will prey on chickens if they are available, especially at night.
  • Guard animals work by either fending off predators or using alarm calls to alert you to a predator’s presence.
  • Guardian animals must be trained to protect chickens and tolerate other animals around the pasture.

* This post contains affiliate links.

Foxes And Chickens: Friends Or Foes?

Close up of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) standing in the meadow.

Foxes are widely abundant in most parts of North America, except for Florida and parts of North America with similar climates. Four different kinds of foxes live in North America, including red, gray, arctic, and kit foxes. Red foxes are most common in the U.S.

Foxes Are Fast, Agile, And Adaptable

An average fox weighs 8 to 14 pounds, but some can be as light as 6 pounds and as heavy as 20 pounds. Male foxes typically weigh more than females. These sly creatures are pretty fast, running up to 30 miles per hour. 

Foxes live in various habitats in North America:

  • Fields
  • Pastures
  • Brush
  • Bushes
  • Farmland
  • Moderately forested areas

Red foxes may live in a wide variety of habitat types, but they prefer living in areas where habitats blend. Foxes usually use the transition area between two habitats as grounds for most of their daily activity. 

Foxes Target Chickens But Leave Humans Alone

Fox attacks have been a persisting problem for nearly every chicken owner in North America. If you own chickens, you know how much effort and time it takes to maintain a fox-free habitat!

Fences, structures, lights, and noise machines can be put in place to scare foxes off, but sometimes, these common precautions do not completely fix the fox problem. 

Although these shifty howlers rarely cause direct harm to humans, there are more than enough reasons to put precautions in place to protect your chickens from a predatory fox attack. Foxes not only bring harm to your chicken flock, but they can pose problems for the other animals on your property as well. 

Foxes May Den On Your Property

It is common for foxes to den in the crawl space under decks and sheds. They will often use those spaces to raise their young. If you start to notice signs of foxes on your property, put precautions in place to protect your animals. 

A safe practice is to keep pets inside, especially at night. 

Another precaution to put in place is to close off the crawl space under your house and sheds. You may also want to feed domestic pets inside because a fox can easily steal their food, which will encourage the fox to keep coming back.

Read about other fox attractants in our article on things that attract foxes to your yard.

The Eating Habits of a Fox: More Than Just Chickens

Understanding what foxes eat could help you eliminate other food sources on your property, making it less likely that foxes will visit your yard and, in turn, target your chickens.

Fox Diets Vary Based On Their Environment

Foxes are skilled hunters and will eat anything small enough to catch and readily available. Their diets will vary depending on their environment and the available food sources.

For example, an article from the Journal of Urban Ecosystems found that foxes living in suburban New York consumed two major food sources: birds (39%) and rodents (37.8%). Surprisingly, anthropogenic food (garbage) wasn’t found in any samples from foxes.

Fox Diets Depend On The Season

In the spring, summer, and fall, foxes consume a lot of fruit, berries, and nuts. In the winter, however, these food sources are far more scarce. This lack of vegetation leaves the foxes to rely on a more meaty diet.

Those who own chickens have more of a fox problem in the winter. However, these hungry pests are active and feeding all year round. Want to know where foxes go in the winter? Check out our article on the places foxes go in the winter.

Foxes Hunt At Dawn And Dusk

Foxes are frequently active throughout the day, but they hunt most frequently during dawn and dusk. They remain awake and hunting throughout the year, avoiding hibernation. You can read about what time foxes come out at night here to see when your chickens are most vulnerable.

Foxes also typically hunt and forage individually instead of in a pack. Luckily, fending off one fox is much easier than protecting against an entire group. To fully understand what time foxes are out to hunt, check out this article called When Do Foxes Hunt Chickens?

Foxes often inhabit a mixture of landscapes at one time. They like to den and hunt in the transitional zone between two different habitats. If you live near a pasture or forested/wooded areas, your chickens are at high risk of fox attacks.

When Foxes Find Food, They Keep Coming Back

Foxes often feed on pet food, birdseed, fruit, and, of course, chickens. If a fox finds its meals on your property, it will likely continue coming back as often as possible. Luckily, there are a few ways to deter the fox from choosing to chew your chicks.

 If you want to catch a fox in the act on camera, consider getting a game cam such as this Sesern Trail Camera!

Here’s How Guard Animals Protect Your Chickens

If there are larger territorial animals around, foxes will likely think twice before attempting to steal the chickens nearby. Before long, the presence of these animals can potentially prevent fox attacks all around. Foxes often need to be chased off a few times before learning their lesson.

Foxes depend on the quiet to hunt, so any loud sounds or racket will frighten the fox away. To protect your land and your animals from foxes, consider looking into guard animals that can startle and intimidate them by squawking, yelping, barking, or quacking. 

Guard Animals’ Response To Foxes May Differ

Animals do not always act predictably, but many animals have guardian-like characteristics that can help you in your attempts to keep the flock safe and sound. Some animals stir and holler when predators poke around, and other animals commit their lives to physically defending and driving away predators looking to bring harm to your chickens. 

From dogs and geese to roosters and donkeys, there are multiple animals used to guard and protect your chicks. Consider taking advantage of these natural protectors and providing each safety precaution to guarantee your chickens go unharmed. 

The 5 Best Guard Animals To Protect Your Chickens

Big guard dog resting in front of the house protecting chickens from foxes

There are many options when it comes to picking a guard animal. After learning more about the chicken thief culprit, you are probably ready to access the solutions to your problems. Read on to learn what animals will best protect your flock and ensure safety for each chicken and chick.

1. Guard Dogs Can Protect Against Foxes

Guard dogs are the most common animal used to help protect chickens. Dogs can be trained, are rather territorial, alert, and have exceptional hearing and smell. Each of these unique attributes helps dogs protect against foxes and other predators.

The top guardian dogs to protect your chickens include:

Livestock Guardian DogCharacteristics
Great PyreneesGentle and affectionate with chickens, strong guardian instinct, independent and intelligent
Anatolian ShepherdFearless and protective, calm and composed around chickens, territorial and loyal
Maremma SheepdogGentle and patient with chickens, strong protective instinct, adaptable to different climates
KuvaszConfident and assertive, loyal and affectionate with chickens, independent and quick to react to potential threats
AkbashCalm and reliable around chickens, agile and alert, strong protective instinct and excellent watchdog

Having a guardian dog is not the same as having a domestic dog as a pet. It’s important to train them to put a higher priority on protecting the flock than being your pet.

A study in the Journal of Translational Animal Science found that guardian dogs spent as much as 96.1% of the time near the owner’s home at night instead of near their flock when owners built a strong pet-like bond with the dogs. Depending on your flock size, it may be helpful to get two dogs to help patrol the area for foxes.

2. Roosters Are Great Chicken Protectors

It is a rooster’s natural role to provide protection for their hens. These feathery fighters will defend the safety of a chicken with its life. No other animal will work harder to see that your chickens stay safe and happy.

There are, however, a few variables to consider when picking the right breed for your flock. You will want a large enough rooster to defend against animals like foxes. And you will need a breed that is aggressive enough to fight if provoked. 

The best rooster breeds to protect chickens include:

  • Wheaten Ameraucana
  • Spangled Orloff
  • Welsummer
  • Cochin
  • Bantam

There are some potential downsides to bringing on a rooster for the job. Some larger breeds can exhibit violent or rough behavior to other breeds of chickens. Consider introducing a breed that is generally more gentle to chicks and chickens. Also, you only need one rooster per flock, as they will fight with each other if there is more than one.

3. Large Birds Can Protect Your Chickens

Turkey and geese are two birds occasionally tasked with supervising flocks of chickens. Male turkeys and geese are typically better protectors than females, but having females of the same species around may make them more protective.

Geese are very good at protecting chickens from hawks but are less talented at protecting them from foxes and coyotes. However, they can still be quite aggressive to these land-bound predators. At the very least, their alarm calls can spook a fox or alert you to the danger.

Guinea fowl are another large bird that can help protect your chickens when raised correctly. These fierce birds are known for making quite a ruckus when they see a predator, especially mink. These alarm calls can be heard several acres away, alerting you to danger near your chickens.

4. Donkeys Can Protect Chickens From Foxes

Donkeys are another common guard animal that can protect chickens and even larger livestock. These territorial animals will alert you of a predator attack with their signature “HEEHAW.” 

Aside from alarming the fox with a loud and startling noise, donkeys can also charge, kick, and bite any wild intruders that pose a threat to them and the flock they protect. Donkeys can defend against wild dogs, coyotes, and even mountain lions. It is safe to say that these rough and rowdy animals are more than capable of going up against a fox or two. 

Like any other guard animal, donkeys come with their disadvantages. These animals are very territorial and can be aggressive toward dogs and chickens. It is much better to raise a donkey with chickens from the time it is little. Otherwise, you may lose a few chickens to the donkey before it gets used to its role as protector.

5. Llamas Are Great Protectors

Similar to donkeys, llamas will bite, kick, and run after predators to protect their flock. Once a llama has bonded with its ‘herd’ (your chickens) he will guard them from any predator that lurks nearby, including foxes.

A llama guardian is always male and works alone. When a predator, such as a fox, approaches the flock, the llama will run after the predator with its head low. At over 5 feet tall and weighing over 130 pounds, who wouldn’t run from that?!

Other Common Tips to Deter Foxes From Your Chickens

Urban fox cubs exploring the garden

Block Off Or Eliminate Denning Areas

Don’t allow foxes to use your shed, crawl spaces, garage, or any part of your property to den or feed. These pests can get comfortable and make themselves at home rather quickly. 

Use hardware cloth like Thinkahead Hardware Cloth 1/4 inch 36 X 50 ft to seal off any openings beneath the buildings on your property.

Trim up the trees and bushes at the edge of your property. If the foxes can’t find places to sneak and hide, they likely won’t come around at all. Check out our article on where foxes go and live during the day for more ideas about where these sly creatures might be hiding in your yard.

Use Bright Lights & Sounds

Foxes do a lot of their prowling and hunting in the dark. For this reason, foxes can sometimes get spooked away by bright or flashing lights. If you can put up a motion-detected light near your flock at night, you might just prevent a fox attack. 

Try out HMCITY Solar Lights Outdoor. You won’t have to run electric out to your flock because it runs on solar. It’s motion-activated, so the sudden light can be startling to sneaky foxes.

Loud sounds are another fox deterrent. Something as simple as clapping your hands or yelling can scare a fox off. Head over to our article on sounds that scare foxes for a complete list.

Build A Fence And Secure Coop

Another effective practice that keeps foxes away is building a fence around the perimeter of your property or at least around the chicken pen or coop. Speaking of coops, if your chickens do not have a safely enclosed coop to rest in at night, the foxes can make away with your chickens more easily. 

Don’t fight this battle on your own if you don’t have to. Share your concerns and new-learned tools with neighbors, or else your efforts could be useless. If foxes are feeding and living comfortably next door, the chances that they will strike at your chickens again is very high. 

Don’t Feed Them!

Never feed a fox! Don’t feed them directly, and try to prevent indirect feeding as much as possible. Here are a few accidental ways you could be feeding foxes:

  • Bird feeders: While foxes may not be directly attracted to your birdfeeder, they will definitely be attracted to the rodents that scurry around looking for seeds.
  • Pet food: if you feed your pets outside, foxes will be attracted to the pet food. If they get one bite, they’ll surely come back for more night after night.

You can read about the plants that foxes eat to see if you have them in your yard.

Use Deterrents

There are plenty of fox deterrents you can use to keep these sneaky critters away from your chickens. Bonide Repels-All Animal Repellent works great on a variety of animals, including foxes.

A multitude of scents can be used to keep foxes away from your chickens. Scents work by overwhelming a fox’s sense of smell, making it difficult for them to sense other foxes or find food. Things like garlic and hot peppers work great, but you can find a full list of scents in our article on surprising smells that foxes can’t stand.

Still, Experiencing Problems Protecting Your Poultry?

You have tried guardian animals, coops, fences, lights, and noise. What else can you do to put an end to your fox frustrations? The best thing you can do if you’ve tried home remedies without success is reach out to a professional.

A pest control specialist can identify what is attracting foxes to your property and provide different techniques that can keep them out. They also have access to products that aren’t available to the public. Use our nationwide pest control finder to connect with a pest specialist.

That’s a Wrap!

Securing your coop, defending your flock, and ensuring a fox-free environment is an extremely tough gig. I hope that we have shined a light on some safe and efficient ways to keep your chickens safe from fox attacks.

Guardian animals are reliable and effective when it comes to alerting you of the presence of danger. Using a guard animal and putting our other suggested precautions in place should prove successful. 

To recap, the 5 best guard animals to protect your chickens include:

  1. Guardian dog
  2. Large birds – Geese, turkeys, guinea fowl
  3. Roosters
  4. Donkeys
  5. Llama

If you decide to use guardian animals to protect your chickens, it’s important to understand that the animals will have to be trained. But with enough time and patience, your guardian animal will be protecting your chicken flock in no time from those sly and sneaky foxes!


Bestman, M., & Bikker-Ouwejan, J. (2020). Predation in organic and free-range egg production. Animals10(2), 177.

Dal Bosco, A., Mugnai, C., Rosati, A., Paoletti, A., Caporali, S., & Castellini, C. (2014). Effect of range enrichment on performance, behavior, and forage intake of free-range chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 23(2), 137-145.

McKellar, R. A., Kreplins, T. L., & Fleming, P. A. (2023). Chicken’s best friend? Livestock guardian dog bonding with free-ranging chickens. Translational Animal Science7(1), txad014.

Moberly, R. L., White, P. C. L., & Harris, S. (2004). Mortality due to fox predation in free‐range poultry flocks in Britain. Veterinary Record, 155(2), 48-52.

How to pest proof your home in under a day e-book by Zack DeAngelis

Download My Free E-Book!

 Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *