Tonight we had the local fox visit our chicken coop. It is one of the backyard chicken wrangler’s worst nightmares – predators. We had lost chickens before and each time took another step to protect them better based on what happened. This time unfortunately the fox actually got into the coop. It was not a case of them finding our free range chickens.
We lost five birds, one of the bigs (last year’s hen) and five of the littles (this year’s 8 week old chicks). I am sad and mad at the same time. A fox came in and cleaned house literally. They were taken from the coop this time. Yes the gate to the run and coop was open. The fox took more than he could use at one time and ended up burying carcasses for later use. I am mad because as the keeper of livestock, my job is to ensure they are fed, watered, kept healthy and safe. We failed them. I am sad because being a victim to a predator is not a nice way to go out.
Now the battle is on. We are looking at options to improve how we allow our hens to have outdoor time without putting them at risk. This fox hit the jackpot today and we are fairly certain that he or she will be back soon. There are lots of options for us to explore. We are looking for something that can be done relatively fast, easy and inexpensively. We will keep you posted as we work through solutions to this problem.