It should be large enough for foxes to run in at full speed when playing.
Part of it should be shaded overhead and it should pro-vide good hiding cover.
It should have warm, well-drained, sunny areas in which the young pups may play.
Turfy or mossy ground cover is desirable. Leaves, or spruce or pine needles, make a good ground cover. Sand is good, but mud is objectionable.
The smallest pens used by the best ranchers enclose an area of at least 900 square feet. One rancher has a highly-valued pair in an enclosure of over 4,000 square feet. The usual size is a pen enclosed by one bale of wire, which is 150 feet long. Thus the area is 37 feet by 37 feet, or 30 feet by 42 feet, or 25 feet by 50 feet. In some cases the last-named dimensions are adopted and cross fence used, so that the male is shut in one end and the female in the other during the latter part of the period of gestation and while the pups are young.
Inasmuch as they must be extended into the ground to prevent the foxes from burrowing under them, the paddock fences are harder to build than the exterior. When a solid hardpan exists, the fence may be laid on it, even if it is only one foot from the surface. If the subsoil is light and open, paddocks are not fox-proof unless the fence is buried over four feet. In light soil additional precaution may be taken by digging the trench wide and by rough-concreting the base a couple of feet inwards from the fence. One rancher, on a sandy area, planned to concrete the whole floor area of his paddocks and cover it with a foot of sand. When it interferes with the drainage, this use of concrete is objectionable.
The carpet wire should be used on the paddock fence as well as on the exterior. It prevents the fox from burrowing alongside the fence where digging out is always attempted.
The following material is necessary for the construction of a paddock fence 9 feet high and extending three feet into the ground.
12 posts, each 13 feet long.
150 lineal feet of 1-inch board, 4 inches wide.
150 lineal feet of overhang wire, 24 inches wide, 2-inch mesh, gauge No. 16.
150 lineal feet of fence wire, 5 feet wide, 2-inch mesh, gauge No. 16.