10 March, 2009

Under siege

I think it will only be a matter of time before we lose a chicken/s to a fox. On the second day running, in broad daylight, I've surprised a fox lurking on the wooded mound on the other side of the chicken field. It's not really fair to say it was lurking. It was of course going about its perfectly natural business of stalking something to eat - could be a rabbit or it could be this chicken.

I say this chicken in particular as she (a Maran) has taken to hedge laying and has chosen the not particularly safe hedge bordering on the wooded mound. I found the eggs the other day having suspected that the Marans had moved nesting site from the safer and more convenient house. Then I saw one coming back from laying and went to look in that direction. I found 5 beautiful eggs and left the warmest, following Suzanne's advice to leave an egg so the chicken will continue to go back there. Mind you I'm not sure I should encourage her to. Perhaps I should retrieve the eggs and cut the bracken down to make the area less tempting for nesting. Then maybe she will move to a safer place. Meanwhile, it seems she's the only one doing this. There were five eggs in the nesting box as per usual. And I'm not sure the other Maran has started laying this spring.


Joanna said...

The foxes seem to know instantly when there are domestic fowl new to their patch. We've found they often just keep their eyes on the chickens, letting us get careless, and taking them when food is a little more scarce.

Funnily enough, over the years we've lost many more chickens to dogs. In a way that's more upsetting, because it's pure destruction

Lovely to find beautiful Maran eggs in the bracken


Veronica said...

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that your hens remain safe and sound! I think your idea about cutting the bracken down is a good one - two of my hens were laying eggs in secret last summer but they stopped when I did clear the areas out... good luck! Warm wishes, V xx