Protection from predators

If you have an enclosed pen in which the hens roam around in, it's good practice to do a quick check around the perimeter to see if any predators have attempted to break through or burrow under.

The area in which I live sees not only foxes but badgers, pine martens and birds of prey all of which are a threat to the hens. To reduce the risk of attack, I have installed an electric fence which every now and then I check its' strength (with gritted teeth and much reluctance)...that's if one of the neighbours dogs hasn't kindly already done that for me!

Spring tends to be the foxes most active time of year as they're having to feed their young so it's best to be extra aware during this period. Locking the hens away at night improves their chances against a fox attack. You must also ensure that your coop is strong and durable. I've heard foxes can break into wooden coops although these must be the most determined of the lot!

Male urine is apparently a good deterrent as is human hair which can be stuffed into an old pair of tights and hung around the outside of coop or the pen perimeter.

For extra security I have also invested in a Foxwatch deterrent device and at this moment I'm writing this, to date I have yet to have been paid a visit from Mr fox.

You should also ensure that your bins are secure and that there is no food to encourage fox activity.

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Top Tip

Boiled eggs
When selecting eggs to hard boil, choose eggs which are over 3 days old to avoid the egg white clinging too much to the membrane (which can make peeling more tricky).