I add clean, fresh hay in the den boxes for warmth and scatter some on the pen floor for entertainment. Many of the foxes love to roll in the hay and toss it up into the air. They'll make little tunnels and nests and hide treats in it. They really enjoy it and it's a lot of fun to watch.
Next is a thorough cleaning of water buckets. Taking the buckets out of the pens is one of the times when sneaky foxes like to try to escape. This is one reason I incorporate a "lip" of wire about one and a half to two feet tall in the door way of the pens. Foxes are clever little guys who like to try to outsmart their humans. Mine have learned that hauling buckets through an open door leads to the perfect moment of distraction and an opportunity to escape. About two years ago that is exactly what Misty did. She watched closely as I was going in and out a couple times and perfectly calculated when and how to slip through the door. Once on the outside of the pen, she simply stood there and waited for me to notice she'd gotten out. As soon as she knew I saw her she started swishing her tail and bouncing all around trying to get me to chase her. She led me on a nice little game of tag, letting me get just close enough to barely touch her and then running a few more feet just to turn around and stare at me, taunting me to catch her. I was just about to have to call for back up when a bag of manure became more interesting to her than teasing me. While she was shoulder deep in the bag I was able to sneak up and grab her. This is a perfect example of why a perimeter fence is a great idea lol!
Today's winter prep work, however, was virtually drama-free. I did get climbed by the gray foxes, which is to be expected any time I enter their enclosure. And I got to enjoy a nice fluffy roll in the fresh hay.
So, with a few new claw marks on my back and neck, and one less usable hair tie then when I started (all thanks to the gray foxes lol) winter prep work is done for another year!