Gransnet forums


Would you feed urban foxes?

(34 Posts)
Artdecogran Sun 26-Apr-20 21:06:55

I have a fox that visits my garden and comes right up to the patio door every evening. I have only lived here since November and I am wondering if the previous old lady owner fed it. I am only wondering about feeding it due to reports of cats and swans being attacked by foxes because they don’t have their ready supply of fast food to feast on. I have a McDonald’s about 200 yards away that has been closed since corona. Should I feed it to stop attacks on cats and swans etc. I have 2 cats of my own but fortunately they’re house cats. What would you do please.

GabriellaG54 Sun 26-Apr-20 21:10:11

No. It's wild and you will simply encourage it to continue coming to your door. They are not pets and must be left to fend for themselves.

gillybob Sun 26-Apr-20 21:13:40

I often see the most majestic fox sitting at my front door in the middle of the night . I’m so tempted to feed him/her but we normally just look at each other for a brief moment and it runs off into the night . There were no houses before I moved here over 9 years ago .

Hetty58 Sun 26-Apr-20 21:17:57

Personally, I wouldn't feed it or encourage it to trust humans. A lot of people don't like foxes so they're safer if wary. If you do leave food out, don't put it near the house.

Foxes eat birds, rats, mice, frogs worms, insects, fruit etc. and there's a plentiful supply. Of course, they'd rather have a 'ready meal'.

I'm suspicious of reports of cats being taken. Foxes don't usually risk being injured. They would go after a kitten or poorly cat though ( a good reason to keep them indoors).

Tangerine Sun 26-Apr-20 21:20:00

I wouldn't feed the fox in your position.

SueDonim Sun 26-Apr-20 21:25:26

I probably wouldn’t but it’s tempting. A friend had her pet rabbits taken by a fox recently. She assumed it was desperate because she has a secure garden and the pets were what has always been until now a secure enclosure. Very distressing. sad

BlueBelle Sun 26-Apr-20 21:32:30

I love foxes but I think the other posters are right you shouldn’t but it would be very tempting you are so lucky I d love to have a resident fix

tanith Sun 26-Apr-20 22:01:06

No don’t feed it, foxes are perfectly capable of finding their own food. They are wild animals and should be treated as such.

toscalily Sun 26-Apr-20 22:08:13

No, there are now too many urban foxes and too many people who think it is acceptable to feed them, it is not.

SirChenjin Sun 26-Apr-20 22:09:08

No I wouldn’t - they’re wild animals who are more than capable of finding their own food.

Callistemon Sun 26-Apr-20 22:16:00


They may find their own food which you would find undesirable to have around eg rats.

SueH49 Mon 27-Apr-20 00:32:34

You feeding them will not stop them attacking cats etc.

ninathenana Mon 27-Apr-20 07:33:27

We have foxes that live under a wooden building just the other side of our back hedge. It's lovely to see the cubs frolicking in our garden., whilst a parent sits on guard on the fence between ours and our neighbours gardens. Last year there were 5 and each time they appeared in day light which they did 2-3 times a week. We would count to see if they were all still alive.
We have never fed them, and don't intend to.

Witzend Mon 27-Apr-20 08:27:12

We’ve often had foxes in the garden, but I’ve only ever left food out during very cold, snowy spells. I don’t think I’d do it otherwise.

I will confess to having bought Asda’s Smartprice dry dog food for the purpose (I don’t think they do it any more) and once got very dirty looks from the checkout operator, who evidently thought I was too stingy to buy nice food for a dog.
But I’m pretty sure a neighbour’s very well fed cat was helping itself, too.

Charleygirl5 Mon 27-Apr-20 09:45:19

I would never feed them- they are wild animals and can fend for themselves.

nightowl Mon 27-Apr-20 10:50:31

I’m afraid foxes can’t easily find their own food as we encroach more and more on to what was their territory. More and more housing, roads, railways being built through greenfield land and formerly protected places. The average lifespan of an urban fox is, I believe somewhere around two years. Most are killed on the road. Latest scientific studies indicate that the fox population has fallen by 40% since 1995.

We used to have around 3 or 4 foxes on our fairly long road. I haven’t seen one for a few years now. If I were lucky enough to have one in my garden I would feed it. It might encourage it to stick around and kill the rats and other pests as well. (Although I have a soft spot for rats, having kept them as pets when DD was younger).

The Fox Project is a very good source of information to counter all the misinformation that’s out there.

SalsaQueen Mon 27-Apr-20 10:54:47

I'd feed it. We used to have one that came to the back door (and into the kitchen, a couple of times), and I hand-fed it with ham, cheese, eggs and sandwiches. We had 2 cats at the time, and it never bothered them at all. A few months later, the fox stopped turning up.....then it arrived one evening with 3 gorgeous cubs in tow.

grannysyb Mon 27-Apr-20 11:06:54

Kind hearted people used catch urban foxes and take them out into the country, and leave them there. My late brother in law said that the locals would shoot them as they didn't want them eating their chickens. Foxes can carry a really nasty kind of mange which can infect dogs. I would never feed them.

oscaro11 Mon 27-Apr-20 11:13:21

We have a cat and 3 foxes that live at the end of our garden. They have never attacked our cat. We’ve lived here for years with cats and various fox families. We give them our left overs after a meal with a few dog biscuits. They wait every night at the end of the garden. They do no harm. If I thought my much loved cat was at risk I’d never do it.

Oopsminty Mon 27-Apr-20 11:18:36

I confess to having fed foxes! We did do a spot og Googling about it before we went ahead and it appears to be an OK thing to do!

I wasn't feeding them intentionally but one night saw them rooting around under the bird table.

So I used to leave them some bits and bobs.

We had a camera set up and during the night we always used to get a couple of cats ambling by

We have footage of the foxes sheltering under bushes as they watch the cats

Clearly not aggressive types

We ended up having the road dug up due to water pipe problems and the foxes disappeared and never came back. I think the 24/7 pump drove them away

It almost drove me away as well!

glammanana Mon 27-Apr-20 11:20:28

Very early morning you can see a family of foxes in the car park near where I live it looks like they are on their way back to their lair which is behind the Community Centre opposite they have been seen on the bottom Road at the entrance to our Road and always take the same route back home,my husband always left some dried dog food at the entrance to their lair.

icanhandthemback Mon 27-Apr-20 11:26:14

That's a difficult one because an animal lover would not want any animal to starve but neither would you want your chickens eaten or kittens taken. If I were going to feed them, I'd feed them away from your garden. Apart from anything else, fox dirt is highly smelly and you really don't want that to clear off your garden!

When I had chickens I used to actively deter them, now I don't, I just live and let live.

Alishka Mon 27-Apr-20 11:49:04

Years ago, we had mange sweep through our local fox population, it was really distressing to see, as beautiful creatures gradually lost all their fur. So a neighbour contacted whichever assoc. has a specific interest in them.
They delivered a cage and some 'stuff' which we were told to put on jam to help cure them of mange.We were told to make a jam sandwich, put it in the cage and wait for the fox to enter the cage to eat it and at that point the door to the cage would close and trap the fox inside, whereupon the assoc. would come along and take it away.

Fine! What could possibly go wrong?! Well, first off a cat regularly kept getting trapped inside (curiosity killed...and all that) so that didn't work. So we abandoned the cage idea and just used to make doctored jam sandwiches for it.

My neighbour took over that job. Sandwiches cut into triangles with the crusts cut off grin

Did the jam sandwiches help? No idea!

EllanVannin Mon 27-Apr-20 11:51:44

I've put a lamb leg-bone out at night and it's been gone in the morning so I know the fox isn't far away.
The backs of houses opposite to where I am do appear to be woody areas and I know at one time that the RSPCA took away some cubs once from behind a stack of wood. They would probably be released into a more safe area, but I don't think the vixen was with them sadly.

almostelderly Mon 27-Apr-20 11:59:07

Foxes are wild animals and living in an urban environment does not make them pets. My son lives in Haringey. He and my daughter in law had a house cat for 4 years. It ventured out into the garden one day and was mauled to death by a fox.