If you have foxes in your area and you're raising backyard chickens, it's not an ideal combination!
We all know foxes are predators to chickens and will take any opportunity to get a hold of one.
But you may be wondering, do foxes eat chicken eggs, too?
Foxes do eat chicken eggs, yes.
If you've noticed eggs are going missing but your chickens are unharmed, it's unlikely to be a fox that's responsible though!
Do Foxes Eat Chicken Eggs?
Foxes absolutely do and will eat chicken eggs if they can get their teeth around one!
They will also go for duck, quail, and goose eggs if they stumble across a nest.
But in most cases, it's not the fox that's to blame when chicken eggs go missing.
It's more likely that another predator, such as a hawk or rat, is the culprit. I say this because a fox will almost certainly harm or kill a chicken, given the chance.
If you're losing eggs that you were placing somewhere and it means a fox didn't have to come into contact with your chickens, then of course it's an option.
Related - How to tell if copperheads or water snakes are stealing your eggs!
Are Eggs Good for Foxes?
Eggs are actually a really good source of nutrition for foxes!
They contain all the nutrients a growing fox needs to survive, including protein, fat, and vitamins.
A single, average-sized chicken egg has around six grams of protein in it, which is more than enough for a small fox.
It's not the smell of the eggs that will be attracting foxes, however. It's more likely to be the chicken feed and the chickens themselves.
So, if sneaky foxes are helping themselves to eggs, it's most likely that they're coming across them in an opportunistic way.
Will a Fox Eat Your Chickens?
Yes, a fox will eat your chickens if given the chance!
Foxes are opportunistic predators and will take any opportunity to catch themselves a meal.
They're also known to be quite brazen at times, and will enter areas where they know humans live.
So, if you have backyard chickens and you know there are foxes in your area, it's important to take steps to protect your flock.
The problem with predators is that it's often too late once you know they have a way of getting to your chickens!
How to Know if You Have Foxes in Your Area
The best way to know if you have foxes in your area is to ask your neighbors if they've ever seen one, and check with your local office.
Foxes are most active at dawn and dusk, so this is the best time to look for them if you fancy taking matters into your own hands.
You can try looking for tracks in the mud or snow, droppings, or tufts of hair caught on fences if you want to go full animal-detective.
You might also see damage to your chicken coop or run if foxes have been trying to get in.
If you think you might have a fox problem, the best thing to do is speak to your local office.
They will be able to give you specific advice on the best way to protect your chickens and tell you how people best deal with them in your area.
Related - Here are the dangers raccoons and bears pose to chickens!
What Other Animals Steal Chicken Eggs?
Rats and other small rodents are one of the most common predators of chicken eggs.
They're small enough to get into most places and will often steal eggs right out from under a chicken's nose (or beak!)
Raccoons are another common predator, as well as snakes, weasels, and opossums.
As I said, if you're losing eggs from inside your coop but your chickens are unharmed, it's more likely to be a smaller animal that has no interest in your chickens.
How to Protect Your Chicken’s Eggs From Predators
The best way to protect your chicken's eggs is to build a safe and secure coop.
Make sure the nesting boxes are raised off the ground and that there are no gaps or holes that a fox could squeeze through.
You should also collect eggs regularly, so they're not sitting in the nest for too long.
And finally, don't forget to keep an eye on your chickens! If you see anything suspicious, take action immediately.
You may also want to put down some fox deterrent or repellent as an extra line of defense, but I know people have mixed results with these.
Foxes do eat chicken eggs, but they're not usually the culprit when eggs go missing - not unless you find carnage in your chicken's coop.
Before blaming foxes, be sure to look for evidence to identify what animal is most likely stealing your chicken's eggs.
You can then take the necessary steps to fortify your coop and make sure your chickens and their eggs are safe!