Friday, July 2, 2010

Not so fantastic

Yesterday, I awoke to the muddled screeching of chickens (If you've ever heard a panicked hen, you know exactly what I'm talking about) looked out my bedroom window to find a FOX-- long, lean, surprisingly tiny, angling after Dionysus, one of the non-cooped roosters. An inhuman warning issued from my throat, sort of a growl-bleat-scream, and the fox swiveled its beautiful head, fixed those yellow eyes on the house a moment, and melted into the tall weeds. Gone.

So now-- 30 some chickens later-- we know for sure. Our predator is a fox.

We've considered trapping it but have been told it's likely feeding pups and, being incurable softies, we can't quite fathom displacing a mama. (Yep, I know this says something unfortunate about our farmer-ness as does the fact that we can't slaughter or even sell off our old ewe, Copper, because we've had her so long.)

The other option is keeping the chickens cooped. We've done this for a few days-- the Maggie's Farm version of "Move along folks, nothing to see here." but felt so sorry for the free-ranging flock that we let them out again today.

And guess what? There she was, the not-so-fantastic Mrs. Fox, creeping along beside the back fence. The guinea fowl saw her first, started up a racket as only they can. (Up until now, we hated those %$$#$@ guinea hens, but they've been worth their weight in eggs now that there's something beyond crows and dogwalkers for them to screech about) Dan went to check on the situation and the fox melted away into the weeds again.

"I think," said our 8 year old, "Our chickens are going to go extinct."

Any suggestions?


WeldrBrat said...

You have only 1 fox - but now maybe pups = multiply your trouble. Your choices are few... one or the other... predator or victims.

lisa said...

Sadly, Your choice is to lose your flock or displace the momma.

joven said...

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joven said...

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joven said...

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Robin said...

With multiplying foxes soon there will be more trouble for your other livestock.

Laurel said...

I am so sorry! We've lost four hens this year, including our "pet," and we're at our wits' end so far. They are really unhappy being cooped. Got a rooster, have been keeping the dog outside, trying to put them up early -- still. Ugh. So maddening!

Perri said...

We seem to be in a holding pattern here since this last post. No more casualties... Knock on wood!

Here's what seems to have helped:

We only let the chickens out when we are home.

We leave a dog or two outside during the day (they free range in the yard just like the chickens)

AND we actually respond to the pair of obnoxious guineas that used to drive us crazy. When the guineas start screeching, we send the dogs out check what's up.

So far so good...

But I'm not counting on it.

Laurel: My chickens hate being cooped too! But this middle road seems to be working.

Suze said...

You poor thing. Such a difficult decision. Unless you leave food for the foxes somewhere way away from your birds. Might that work?? I can't wait to read the rest of your blog... and thanks for the Frappaccino advice! I'm going to take it first thing in the morning!