I have just seen a small fox slinking away from the chicken enclosures.
Naturally, the second I saw it I ran outside into what’s left of the snow (luckily I had my boots on and wasn’t just in my socks!) and am relieved to report that All Is Well. I don’t know if the chickens even noticed their visitor, though Dolly started clucking furiously once I’d finished checking the hedge. The others just wanted to know if I was brining them more warm porridge!
I don’t know if it was me running up the orchard that scared it away or if it has been before and recognised the electric netting but it was definitely going away from the chickens into the hedge when I saw it out of the window and since the chickens weren’t at all worried, I think it’s safe to assume that nothing was tried.
This isn’t the first time this winter that foxes have come a calling. On New Year’s Day, I saw a beautiful young fox, bright red and standing tall, in the pig field, right by the gate opposite the kitchen window. For about a week, the dogs had been barking furiously at something in the field but I couldn’t work on what. On that day, however, they were in the car not tied up outside as it was an extremely cold day, so the fox had no deterrent to prevent it from sauntering to just yards away from the house.
It saw us looking and vanished.
A few weeks later, towards the end of January when we had a sudden hard frost after days of drizzle, the guys heard a yelping one evening that sounded like a dog getting “bitten” by the electric fence. It wasn’t the dogs, however, as mine were with me in Cardiff and theirs was fast asleep by the fire. And it didn’t sound quite like a dog… No guesses what made the noise!
There are no rabbits in the field so the foxes tend to keep away – why come so close to the dogs when there’s nothing to eat? But, when it freezes or snows, they get desperate and desperate foxes try anything.
Thankfully, I always make sure the chickens’ battery is replaced regularly!
I’ve also got in the habit of leaving the fence on at night if it’s going to freeze, just to make sure that any visitors don’t twig that the fence is harmless if it’s switched off. I’ve learnt that from my pigs!!
Hmm, I’ve got a battery that I charged up last night. I just might give that to the chickens, just in case…