This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

I've been a bit worried of late because of the foxes round here.  We get a lot of foxes passing through here because there is a golf course very near to us as well as a canal and a nature walk place and so there is a lot of green area close by ( this is a small area where kids used to race up and down mounds of earth on their BMX bikes but the council have recently "upgraded"it - not been there long enough to have developed much for foraging yet ).  It seemed like two foxes had taken up residence just a couple of doors up the road and didn't just pass through.  As I've been off work, I could see the garden well from my seat by the window and could watch them as they came many times a day to size up the possibilities of chicken for dinner.  They would check out all the hen runs and the rabbit hutches and I got so worried for them.  One fox was red-brown all over and quite big.  The other was redder in colour and slightly smaller and had a white tip to the tail.  They didn't seem bothered by me unless I ran at them - and I wasn't capable of running.  In the garden, several times they passed within 8 feet of where I was standing.  I was a bit gobsmacked that they were so bold.

One day, when I was out in the garden, one came over the fence from next door on one side, just where I was standing by a hen run. I waved my arms and hissed at it - no voice so could only hiss.  It didn't like the hiss so popped over the fence the other side and stood and watched me through the wire for quite some minutes.  Obviously the spectacle of a mad woman waving her arms was found to be very entertaining.  There was nothing to hand to throw at it so over the next couple of days I made little piles of sticks and stones around the garden so that they would be there if needed.

We have several pieces of heavy duty wire netting apart from those that fit under the hen runs, so we placed them around the hen runs, as well as planks with bricks on that would be hard to dislodge.  We hoped that we would make it very difficult for the foxes to dig underneath the edge of the runs*.  The runs and garden look very ramshackle but at least the runs were made more secure.  It took my husband and me a couple of days to do this as we were not strong enough to do it all in one go.  Afterwards, I could look out the window and watch the foxes but be fairly confident that chicken would not be on their menu.

I hate foxes as they kill indiscriminately just for the joy (!) of killing.  They make an unearthly noise too - usually just as you are dropping off to sleep.  I haven't seen or heard them for almost a week now so hopefully they have moved on, or been moved on if some homeowner got the council involved.  There are at least two other henkeepers around here so they will be relieved too.

* The pieces of heavy duty wire mesh have large size holes so the hens can still scratch happily and do what hens like doing.  However, on several occasions, I have come home from work to find that the fox has been digging holes under the wall of the run only to be stopped from getting at the hens because of the wire over the floor of the run.  This has happened several times during the daytime, but only once at night.


  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Angela said…

    Please Jo, can you post the recipe for Clementine Cake on your blog, as my server won't let me open DownToEarth. Thanks!

    hope your voice is getting better. My throat has got progressively worse and today I have a runny nose and very tight chest.

    blessings x


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