Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fox Alert

The flock was attacked by a fox!  Thunderstorms were keeping Puck and I in the house, and when the storm was over I didn't realize something was wrong until the hen named Marshmallow slammed against the dinning room window with a loud squawk and shower of feathers.  What's going on out there?!? I rushed to the window just in time to see the fox, claws and fangs bared, leap onto her back and grab a mouth full of feathers.  Oh no!

I yelled and rushed outside which startled the fox enough for Marshmallow to escape.  In the instant I realized the fox was after the chickens the noise that I wasn't tuned into suddenly penetrated my brain.  The guineas were making a racket, and all the chickens were upset.  There were feathers everywhere.  

I chased after the fox but got distracted by the carnage.  How could this happen so quickly?!  I could see one dying hen and piles of feathers.  I spied the fox on the other side of the garden and I ran after it, with no shoes on.  Scat!!

The fox ran into the longer grass of the back field, and when I stopped at the edge, hesitating to enter the weeds without shoes, it stopped about a fifty feet away and looked me right in the eye.  I almost flinched, but then I mustered my courage.  I shouted at it - bad fox!  Get out of here! And looked for something to throw at it.  I had run from the house with a bag of dried dates in my hand, but didn't think they would make very good weapons.  Why is there never a rock or a big stick when you need them?!  I felt like a cave woman standing in my bare feet yelling at a predator with my fruit in hand!

After the fox sauntered away I went to assess the damage.  The mamma chicken was very alert, and had all her chicks close by.  

The guineas were sounding the alarm, but were safe out of reach on top of the coop.  

Marshmallow was looking pitiful in the back of the coop, one of the buff hens was dead, and two of the barred rock hens were missing.  They left lots of feathers behind.  Two days later, the fox returned an stealthily took Marshmallow and another barred rock hen.  During the day, and while I was home.  

We've been very alert since then.  It's so hot that I hate to keep everyone locked up.  We mowed the long grass and trimmed the tall weeds.  We borrowed a trap, but the wily fox managed to steal the bait without getting caught.  I've been told that if we don't kill the fox, it will come back until all the chickens are gone.  

Everyone needs to stick together.  

Keep your head up. Stay alert.  

This is no time to lolly-gagging, Puck.  There's a fox out there!

Seriously, chickens, you can't just stand around arranging your feathers.  It will be back!

It's time to get your heads out of your... wait.. where is your head? 

Oh, there you are.  Pay attention!!

Mamma, if you must take your babies for a walk, make sure you take a couple of guineas to sound the alarm if the fox is spotted.  

The fox made a big commotion with it's first killing spree, but now he knows to be silent.  I found barred rock feathers on the driveway the day Marshmallow and the other hen disappeared, but never heard a squawk.  

I do lots of head counts now, and I'm afraid to come in the house before it's dark and everyone is put safely to bed.  Cross your fingers that the trap works better tonight.  


Anonymous said...

Oh, Rain. I'm so sorry. Did the trap work? Aren't the foxes raising cubs now? Lousy time to be a chicken!!


rain said...

The trap is not working. So far all we've caught are possums. I read that foxes have big cubs now, and are foraging farther to feed them. We've spotted him just behind the coop, but he hasn't taken any more chickens lately. I don't mind to share, but he's sort of greedy.

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