We’ve been keeping chickens for some years now, and never suffered serious losses before. But we didn’t padlock one of the doors the other night, and one of the many local foxes took advantage of the opportunity. Foxes can undo latches and shoot back bolts, so by morning only one of the bantams remained. A few feathers showed where the others had met their end. The bodies had been taken, so presumably they’d ended up as dinner for the fox cubs. It’s still that time of year.
Brilliant. A whole new generation of vermin. At times like this I wonder about the mentality of people who feed the urban foxes. Do they encourage rats and cockroaches as well? It wouldn’t surprise me. We’re overrun with pests: squirrels, pigeons, and magpies and other corvids. All feasting on the food left out for them. Still, nice to have some wildlife now that the songbirds have mysteriously and quite coincidentally disappeared.
The surviving bantam was our handsome Buff Sussex.
So we’ve gone single breed, and bought five more Buff Sussex hens and an unrelated cockerel. The boy is still quite immature, so we probably won’t be breeding from them until next year. But we hope that he’ll be able to keep the flock in order.
The surviving hen is almost indistinguishable in appearance, but whilst the others will scratch if you throw them some Alphamix, she will come to Jean’s hand to be fed (bottom left in picture):
And while we’re on the allotment, look at the broad beans and onions!
Foxes are the fabric of our vastly diminishing landscape, they are beautiful creatures and not ‘vermin’. Our old dog fox is regularly fed by me and in return keeps the rat infested dykes around our Lincolnshire home down. Our local council no longer poison or trap so called other pests but leave the fox population to do it for them, much cheaper. Make sure you lock up the hens in future!.