The wily one..

You learn a lot about life from chickens.

A few weeks ago a fox pegged off a few of our finest two legged friends. It was very upsetting to have a fox treating a chicken coop like a drive-thru KFC but in my best David Attenborough inner voice I told myself to forgive it – after all instinct is instinct. We take fish from the sea – they take chickens from farms. Life is life.

Storm, the cuddliest mother in the flock was lost in this first meal. I think it is ok for a 29 year old to cry about chickens. I’m not sure on the actual benchmark when you get mature enough to ‘just deal with it’. We found a gaping hole in the roof of the chicken coop, next to a tree which looked like the obvious fox entry point.

A few weeks passed and we began to trust daylight again and had started to let them free range once more. We’re still not sure exactly when this latest massive attack happened, but it was seemingly overnight, so the fox may have just opened itself another door somewhere.

On Thursday morning five more had gone seemingly overnight. Only one young chick (now named Lucky) and our two ducks remain.

Rasputin, the jovial lady-loving lad is gone too. He was special, a handsome immense rooster – I’m sure he put up some sort of fight for his ladies. Our two ducks were also spared. I can’t imagine never seeing cheeky Rasputin again…he had a presence.

I respect the cunning creativity and wily ways of foxes….I don’t want this fox dead….I just want it to stop eating my chickens. I hate fox hunting and if the truth is known, I love foxes – even this one. If I came face to face with it I could no more kill it than hug it. The thought of it dying in agony by using fox bait just because it dared to eat my chickens seems like nothing but a warped way of handing out some sort of punishment or justice.

It’s not like this fox is laughing behind my back and licking its chops like in the fairy tales….this animal is probably scraping out a living in an increasingly urban environment, adapting and struggling just to get enough to eat each day and may have even taken our chickens back to it’s den for some young cubs. Watch any documentary about predators and you truly can’t help understanding them. The status of foxes as a pest species is a human made problem and now the fox is marginilised as a pesky chicken killer because of it. I can’t be angry at it and I don’t want revenge. Forgiveness is my tragic flaw.

Maybe I could try reasoning with it…I think what we are going to try is to rebuild the flock but also acquire 2 geese as protectors – but some people say this doesn’t work. I don’t want to restrict my chickens to life behind chicken wire…but for their own safety we will need to for a while.

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