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fence design for diggers?

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Vata Raven
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fence design for diggers?

Postby Vata Raven » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:46 am

I have looked into fencing structures that work best for animals that tend to dig, and I wanted some input on which type seems better suited for say a fox or a dog that loves to dig.

1) Dig a trench that is 3 feet deep, bury 3 feet of fencing, and attach more fencing to the buried set to allow for 5 or 6 feet of fencing above ground. The 3 feet of buried fence should prevent the animal from digging out.

2) Dig a trench that is 3 feet deep and 1 foot wide, craft fence with an L-foot design, bury, and allow for 5 or 6 feet of fencing above ground. The L-shape fencing that's buried is commonly used for chicken coops to prevent foxes from digging in.

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Ash » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:39 pm

I don't quite understand your description of number 2. Are you talking about laying fence horizontally three feet down?

The facility down the road from me with six foxes recommends covering the entire bottom. The facility dug its enclosures completely out, laid fencing down three feet deep, and then heaped the dirt back on top. I recommend the same, and from now on, every one of my enclosures will have a complete bottom on it to prevent digging.

My fencing was on the surface of the ground, but now I'm filling the enclosure with lots of dirt to cover it and so they can dig.

So I personally suggest neither of the two. I don't understand number two though, so if you re-explained that one, I could tell you which I feel is the best between your two options.

Tons of new fox owners these days though are having escapes. WAY too many escapes due to inadequate caging. So always go above and beyond with the enclosure, even if you think it may be unnecessary in the beginning. ;)
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Vata Raven » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:15 pm

Ash wrote:I don't quite understand your description of number 2. Are you talking about laying fence horizontally three feet down?

This is an L-footer fence, but buried into the ground (1 foot deep and wide is the minimal). This is commonly used to stop foxes from getting to chickens.

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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:58 pm

A difference is a fox trying to get to chickens will dig right at the fence edge but a pet fox confined to an area will dig for fun. They can dig a burrow that turns into a tunnel and it need not be near the fence to start but could end up there. A fox digging to get at the chickens will give up if it takes too much to dig, a fox digging for fun has weeks, months, years, The tunnel could eventually get long and deep enough to go under a fence that just goes a few feet down with no bottom.

An exception might be where I live, old river bottom, go a foot or so down and it's all big boulders and rocks. If you dug deep to the rock and cleared to dirt away then poured a concrete base a person could do the fence on that. Then they would most likely not be able to dig out for the same reason putting a fence in is hard, lots of rocks and boulders. Most areas don't have what is essentially a floor of boulders under the dirt though.

If you insist on doing a whole property open enclosure though one thing that should be added is electric fence around the top and bottom as well as the buried fence. It will better discourage them from trying to get out. Really wont help with the digging for fun though or against eagles and owls.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Vata Raven » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:36 pm

TamanduaGirl wrote:A difference is a fox trying to get to chickens will dig right at the fence edge but a pet fox confined to an area will dig for fun. They can dig a burrow that turns into a tunnel and it need not be near the fence to start but could end up there.

Seems like this problem easily solved if the owner even bothers to look for holes and takes the time to fill them. Unless an animal can dig itself out to freedom within 8 to 12 hours, then filling the holes would be the simple solution.
TamanduaGirl wrote:If you insist on doing a whole property open enclosure though one thing that should be added is electric fence around the top and bottom as well as the buried fence. It will better discourage them from trying to get out.

I doubt electric fencing on top is necessary. Zoo enclosures use a 45 degree angle fence attachment, this keeps animals from climbing out. One rule applies to this setup, trees are to be no closer than 15 feet of the fencing.
TamanduaGirl wrote:Really wont help with the digging for fun though or against eagles and owls.

I feel like your whole "birds of prey" problem is not something to worry about.

1) Not every state is the same
2) If it is an issue, have a safe zone built for bedtime

In my area, I would worry more about ticks. It might not be too much an issue once we start removing trees, but we currently have a mini forest around the house.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:57 pm

I guess it depends on the type of land you have. I grew up on 3 acres of forested land. It's pretty big and seems a hole could be easy to miss. But if the land is fully cleared, especially of brush and tall grass it'd be easier to check.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Ash » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:37 pm

I don't want you to take this wrong way... but are you looking for our advice? It's wonderful you're here asking questions, but several of the questions you've asked you seem to not want to hear our opinions and answers. You ask, and then ignore our concerns and comments. I don't see how that's going to help in the long run. Having had my foxes on rocky ground and still having them dig giant holes, I do think my advice counts for something. As well as TamanduaGirl's.

Once again, I don't want you to take this all the wrong way and think I'm being mean or anything. But why ask questions if you ignore the advice you receive from those of us who have kept these animals for years?

I personally do think the birds of prey problem is something truly worth thinking about. Like maybe have lots of trees or shelters on your land to make sure a fox wouldn't be an easy target. I would personally leave most of the trees in, if possible. Would give a lot more coverage. :)
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Vata Raven » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:28 pm

Ash wrote:I do think my advice counts for something. As well as TamanduaGirl's. Once again, I don't want you to take this all the wrong way and think I'm being mean or anything. But why ask questions if you ignore the advice you receive from those of us who have kept these animals for years?

I am not discounting the advice or experience, I am just over here trying to think of something else. There has to be more leeway to housing a fox instead of sticking them into a 6-sided cage. All my dogs were diggers, so I understand that concern, only reason they kept getting out was because we have cheap cattle fencing that sits right on the ground. So, after reading other posts on other forums (chicken fencing, and digging and jumping dogs), I figured a deep fence with a fence attachment to prevent climbing/jumping out could work with an exotic pet with similar boredom activities.
Ash wrote:I personally do think the birds of prey problem is something truly worth thinking about. Like maybe have lots of trees or shelters on your land to make sure a fox wouldn't be an easy target. I would personally leave most of the trees in, if possible. Would give a lot more coverage. :)

To be honest, I rarely see preying birds in my area. We have turkey vultures, but they mainly eat dead animals. The eagles live closer to the river, and as for owls, I hear one every so often and only seen one. Our land do not have much for animals these types of feed off on. No garden for animals to bother, no fruit or nut bearing trees, but deer do jump into the yard to eat the grass.

Ideally, I would want to rebuild the house. Basement for the animal, the under porch fenced in and a way for them to get to the porch area itself (that being fenced in as well), and night enclosure by my bedroom. With my current luck, I might not get a fox next spring.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Owls are very good at not being seen and even a hungry small one could go after a bigger animal. One time a small owl flew over when I was walking my dogs at twilight and circled around eyeing my white dog(15 pounds) so I pulled him close and it moved on then. I also do know someone who lost a chihuahua to a turkey vulture but to be fair the dog was sleeping in the yard so it may have thought it was dead but once it had it it flew off with it when confronted. Long as you are aware of the risk it's your choice to take. Just want to be sure you do know the risks and make your choice based on available information. I mean a lot of people think taking exotics in public is too big of a risk but I do take mine for walks. Everyone has their own limits.

I like the idea of a night enclosure that will take care of owl issues. I also like the idea of a large enclosed piece of land as a supervised play area much better than as a primary enclosure. I actually kind of like the idea but I'd probably go with no more than an acre, personally, to ensure I could keep a close eye on them the whole time and get to them quickly if there was an issue. Of course since anteaters are climbers I'd need to take extra precautions an overhang wouldn't stop them. I'd be far to paranoid to ever leave them in something like that unsupervised though, no matter how secure it seemed.

I had heard from owners before that their fox could easily jump a 6ft fence and this fox is jumping a 5ft(my best guess) fence without ever touching it. https://vimeo.com/50472174 If the fox jumps onto the over hang from the ground, well the result is obvious. I think you'd need at least a 7ft fence, that would put the overhang edge at 6ft or higher.

One reason people are sensitive about a new idea like this is that if he did get out and something did happen incidents like an escaped fox being in the news are the sort of thing that help push even more ban laws than there already are. So the threat is perceived as being to more than just your own fox.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Vata Raven » Sun Aug 21, 2016 2:25 am

TamanduaGirl wrote:Owls are very good at not being seen and even a hungry small one could go after a bigger animal.

True, if I do hear the stray one every so often (maybe once a week) it is somewhere nearby, I think.
TamanduaGirl wrote:I mean a lot of people think taking exotics in public is too big of a risk but I do take mine for walks. Everyone has their own limits.

I just planned to go on to the park and give my pet lion a casual walk, nothing too crazy. But seriously, I think taking your exotic (not things like lions and bears) out for a walk seems like an exercise to for further socialize your animal.
TamanduaGirl wrote:I actually kind of like the idea but I'd probably go with no more than an acre, personally, to ensure I could keep a close eye on them the whole time and get to them quickly if there was an issue.

An acre seems reasonable. I think we have about 2.5-3 currently, but factor in the forest that never been cut down and the section we parks our cars outside, our space left would be between 1-1.5, I imagine. Would there be a problem with the fence perimeter covering the front and back? Both seem smart, just in case it does slip through the front or back door.

TamanduaGirl wrote:Of course since anteaters are climbers I'd need to take extra precautions an overhang wouldn't stop them. I'd be far to paranoid to ever leave them in something like that unsupervised though, no matter how secure it seemed. I had heard from owners before that their fox could easily jump a 6ft fence and this fox is jumping a 5ft(my best guess) fence without ever touching it. If the fox jumps onto the over hang from the ground, well the result is obvious. I think you'd need at least a 7ft fence, that would put the overhang edge at 6ft or higher.

There are two types of fencing add-ons.

1) coyote rollers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVrrRGltqTc I hope the animal learns quickly and trys not to keep escaping, seems like a leg injury could easily happy.
2) lean-ins: http://www.dogproofer.com/product-p/hou ... er-arm.htm Do seem to add to the height of the fence.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:51 pm

Neither option would stop a tamandua or probably other climbers that can grip, like monkeys. They can climb just hanging upside down from the overhang till they can get over and they can get a hanging grip from a roller and still pull up to the fence or even dogs sometimes figure out the bit were it doesn't role to get a grip. My idea if I ever did it would be line the fence with sheet metal so there would be no where to get a grip but they could still wind up surprising me. Anteaters have grappling hooks for hands. It would just take finding a small crack or something to get them into to climb up or pull sheets or boards off the fence. So like the idea of electric fence line to stop them even trying. I think either a few lines along the bottom and/or a line at the top too. One line at the bottom could stop digging attempts but sniffing or reach above that line would not cause shocks so more is better. But I'd still keep an eye on them. I fantasize about sitting working or reading or something while they are out instead of following them around like I do now. Current plain wood fence is way to easy to escape from for them, plus the yard u's around the house so can't see them from one spot. But maybe will do at a future home.

I do know of one person who lets their arctic roam in the yard, but I think they keep an eye on him, plus he's disabled and can't jump like a normal fox. But he uses a electric line at the bottom and one at the top(just in case), plus a dig guard and pavers around the fence base. He said it only took a few zaps for him to keep a distance from the fence at all times. So I would really add that to the design. If a person can discourage even trying they will be much less likely to find a weak point.

It looks like if you used that particular overhang it adds a foot plus some to the fence so that could be good. I think the lowest part of the over hang should be at least 7ft. I mean I've seen my domestic house cat jump right up and land on the top of a 7ft post without touching anything and since people have said their foxes could clear a 6ft fence no problem I'd think 7ft at least to ensure the overhang is higher than they could jump.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Ash » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:04 am

TamanduaGirl, my perimeter fence is aluminum with puppy picket fencing. The pickets are vertical, so there's no way for it to be climbed. Might be an idea worth considering for your anteaters. The metal makes it slick, and they wouldn't be able to grab any horizontal bars except at the very top (and they couldn't reach that far).
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Ash » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:40 am

Sorry, Vata Raven. Back to your fencing idea.

I personally wouldn't take the risk with that kind of setup, but if that's the way you choose to go, then I hope it works out for you and your fox. :)

So if you're determined to have an enclosure like the one you describe, I would recommend the fencing being buried down 3 feet, if possible. I think the deeper it goes the less chance a fox would dig that deep. Not that a fox couldn't, of course, but I think it's less likely than the other option. Or if you buried three feet of fencing at a 45 degree angle from the surface. That actually might be better, but it would mean a lot of digging.

As far as height of the fence above ground, I recommend it being no lower than 6' if possible. My fox can jump from a sitting position about 6' high for the right kind of treat, which means a fox could potentially jump up high enough to grab the overhangs. So I think a persistent fox would be able to, but if yours actually has all those acres to run around in, then it's likely he won't be interested in what's on the other side of the fence. So could still work out that way.

For your question about fencing in the front yard, I think that's mostly up to you. You could always have a catch cage (double door entry) thing going on with your porch, so if he got out he couldn't go anywhere. That's an option. My foxes have a catch cage now, and it really puts me at ease.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:44 pm

I'm sure they could climb the puppy picket from what I'm seeing as they still have cross bars they can grab that hold the pickets.

Sheet metal can look really nice with some trim and paint.
http://arto.akrondmc.com/wp-content/upl ... ences1.jpg

Though I might keep the inside plain metal to assure myself there's no change of them getting their claws in a seem at the post but could make the outside nice for neighbors and the inside could paint a garden mural on or something.

---------

I would keep the front separate from the back yard as that's easier if you have visitors ever than their needing to call you or use an intercom to be able to pass the fence to get to your door, would be a bit discouraging. Or heck if you ever need to call emergency response you want them to be able to get to you without breaking into the fence your fox is in.

Could just have a double door entry so he can't accidentally slip out into the front yard as one door would always be shut. One way would be a screened in porch then the front yard it's self could be left open if you want or just short fence. Though I'd recommend getting perforated metal screens so he can't claw through them. Though regular is okay if he's never actually allowed out there and you'd always grab him the instant he slips past the house door into the screen porch.
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Re: fence design for diggers?

Postby Ash » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:50 pm

My fence only has a cross bar at the very top. The pickets go all the way up and only have a 1.5'' gap between them. If you're ever interested, I'm sure I could find the people who made ours. :)

WOW, actually I love how the sheet metal looks. Very classy-looking from that photo. If for whatever reason I need to build a perimeter fence again, that's an option I would definitely consider.

...

I hadn't thought about emergency response coming and not being able to get in. That's a good point. Backyard only with maybe porch access like mentioned would be best, I think. Plus, it keeps the animal out of view away from people who might see it in the front yard and then try to set it free or something.
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