What is the best way to keep a fox mother and her kits from burrowing under the cottage? Would playing loud music inside work as a deterrent? Is there a way to get rid of the smell?
Unfortunately, cranking up the radio won’t scare Ma and babies away. Nor will flashing lights at them or doing the Mexican hat dance. Long term, deterrents don’t work. If foxes have decided to live under the cottage, they’re going to put up with everything you throw at them. Try clearing out the area under the cottage. If you are able to crawl underneath, it won’t be an attractive spot for animals. If that doesn’t work, then sealing off the space with a plywood skirt is the only option. Here’s the trick: Dig a one-foot-deep trench around the bottom of your cottage and attach a two-foot section of hardware cloth to the bottom edge of the skirt. Bend the wire in an L-shape (one foot down and one foot out). Backfill the trench. The foxes will dig down to get in and stop when they hit the buried fencing.
If you can’t tell whether or not the gang is underneath the cottage while you’re sealing it up, leave a dog-door-sized opening as the only access and plug it with a moveable object, such as a ball of newspaper or a piece of cardboard. Then wait a maximum of three days. If you check back and the blockage has been disturbed, the foxes are probably still coming and going, so you’ll need to create a flap door that only opens out (make a frame that allows the door to be pushed out but not back in).
As for the smell, live with it for now. A proper seal-up and time is the only way to get rid of the stink.