counting our chickens

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I love our chooks. They mosey around the chook yard and free range through the garden. They lay lots of eggs, enough for us to give a couple of dozen away every week. Perfect. 

 

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But we have a fox in the area. 

I feel very conflicted about the fox. As an animal, I like them. They're smart, right? And who didn't feel differently about foxes after reading Fantastic Mr Fox as a kid? He's just feeding his family! 'Cept this one is taking our chooks. Well, one. One of mine, in the middle of the day, and one of my neighbor's roosters, in the bright afternoon. Naughty fox. 

They had two of these gorgeous things: I called them both Casanova. They both flew into our (enclosed) chook yard to visit our girls every morning. 

Now there's only one Casanova.

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There's also an Imposter:

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I don't love the neighbor's turkey so much. He's entirely decorative, not for eating or anything. Which is a shame because he's eating an awful lot of my chicken feed. 

Then on Saturday we came out our front door to find this: one of the neighbor's chickens who had been missing, assumed snatched by the fox:

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Are they CHICKENS?!

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THREE chickens?! And an egg?

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Actually four, and we still don't know how the egg got out there. We hunted around and found her nest behind all the ferns and the agapanthus by our hot water system. 

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There was one more chick in the nest with his head a bit stuck in an egg. We gently retrieved him and Adam carried him around for a while to warm him up and he revived well (he's much perkier than this today.)

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The others braced through a small amount of little people handling before our neighbours came home and we alerted them to the discovery of the not-killed-by-the-fox hen.

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Adam and our friend Kevin shipped the mother and chicks next door to their new home and they are doing well! There's plans for a new hen house. 

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We bought our flock at point of lay. I missed the tiny weeny chick stage. 

We might have to get some more chickens, I think. 

And maybe they don't need to be free range. The pen is really pretty large. I can't bear the thought of those wee chicks being foxy's lunch. Eek. 

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Any ideas? We always had farm dogs when I was a kid and I don't think we lost many chooks. A dog? I wonder what foxes are afraid of? Midnight is not too late to begin a Google adventure, right?

xxx

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