I’ve been a little slower on the crochet front over the last ten days. I am still progressing fairly well with joining pieces of blanket together, but my primary focus has been outdoors.
Because, sadly, last Sunday night, a fox got into my chicken coop. I woke up last Monday to find one chicken disappeared, rather messily; one chicken dead of fright/shock; one chicken very loudly unhappy; and one chicken cowering under the coop with an injury to her comb.
I was not a happy chicken-keeper. Sigh. Urban foxes are determined little buggers, and this one found a weak point I’d overlooked, and exploited it ruthlessly. Well, I say ruthlessly – as I say, it only actually made away with one hen. The other casualty had no wounds, so must have died of fright. And the loudly unhappy hen, Flora? She’s top chicken, and fiercely protective of her flock, and I do think she probably stopped the fox getting more of a meal. She certainly tried to keep me away from the injured hen, that morning!
Obviously my two survivors needed to be safely homed while I secured the chicken yard, and one of my carers kindly took them home to put them in with her young flock. Meanwhile, I ordered heavy duty wire netting (‘foxes cannot bite through this!’ the shop claims), a staple gun, and two boxes of 5000 staples.
Overkill? Me? Nah. Armed and determined, I set to work.
By Wednesday of this week, I had fox-proofed the hell out of my chicken area. I have netted the base of the coop and the run. I have netted the base of the nesting box. I have secured additional bolts onto things. I have padlocked shut the nesting box. Operation: ‘Not My Damn Chickens, You Bloody Fox’ is now complete.
So my two survivors, Flora and Fern, are home again (Flora is the bluebell, that beautiful slate grey chicken, and Fern is a nera, the darker hen). Flora has already laid again; she is clearly recovering fine! Fern is quiet, and they’re sticking close to each other, but I think they’ll settle back in okay. I’m going to get some new hens next week, as well, and I definitely think Mother Hen Flora will be happier with more chickens to boss around/look after.
I, meanwhile, am a walking bruise! Oof, that was an awful lot of hard work. And staple guns are clearly designed for men and people with large hands. I couldn’t operate it with just one hand, I had to use both, which slowed me down, rather! Still, it’s done. I will recover. And so will my lovely ladies. The fox can go and find itself a meal elsewhere.