We know that free-range chickens risk predation by many other animals, but the fox(es?) has been whittling down our flock with annoying enthusiasm. We lost the last Partridge Rock on New Year’s Eve, and the only Cuckoo Marans (the dark brown egg layer) yesterday. Now, the flock numbers ten.
Foxes are beautiful and we understand that they also need to eat, but finding mutilated chicken carcasses is frustrating. The dogs have been walking the fenceline with us – hopefully, the scent marking will deter the intruder. There’s scat in several places on the property, but it’s difficult to tell if it’s fox, coyote, or another animal. It’s kind of “in your face”, though, to find it so close to where the last two hens were killed.
Sometimes the chickens just don’t seem to be as attentive to their surroundings as they should be. Here, it could mean the difference between making it safely back to the coop at night or being left in a pile of feathers under the brambles. Girls, pay attention out there!