Q169: A lot of my chickens were killed last night by foxes, what can I do?
Advice from DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) advocates better protection of stock, rather than fox control.
To discourage foxes from coming to your property you should:
- Secure food waste in bins
- Use fencing to protect pets and livestock from foxes.
If the problem persists you can use approved control methods but you must not:
- Use gasses or poison
- Block or destroy fox earths if they are occupied.
Please see the link in Related Information for Government guidance on approved control methods.
The Hunting Act 2004 does recognise the need to control wild animals which farmers and others regard as pests. Whilst there are exemptions to the ban of fox hunting, a number of conditions must be adhered to if the hunting is to be lawful:
- The stalking or flushing out may only be undertaken to prevent the wild mammal causing serious damage to livestock, crops, games birds, wild birds, food for livestock, growing timber, fisheries, to other property or to the biological diversity of an area. Stalking or flushing out may also be undertaken in relation to obtaining meat to be used for human or animal consumption or participation in a field trial.
- The stalking or flushing out takes places on land which belongs to the person doing the flushing or stalking or he has been given permission by the owner to use it for that purpose
- The stalking or flushing does not involve the use of more than one dog underground
- As soon as is possible, reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the wild mammal being stalked or flushed is shot dead by a competent person and that the dog used is kept under close control so as not to prevent the shooting of the wild mammal.
The exemptions outline above are contained in Schedule 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. For the full Act see the website in Related Information.