5 days ago a fox forced its way into my chicken house and took all four of my girls, leaving a trail of feathers and mangled chicken in its wake. I know that’s a horrible description, but that’s how it was. My four lovely little chooks. Em, our veteran hen, who’d survived our first attempts at hen keeping and laid us countless pure white eggs over the previous 3 years. Little Amy, such a character, the youngest hen but so determined to find her way to the top of the pecking order. Placid speckledy Kate, who was just recovering from some unpleasant bullying, and Bella Big Bum (below), my beautful, fluffy, stroppy, determined and huge bluebell.
My husband and I were obviously mortified – we were responsible for these creatures. What had we done wrong? What else could we have done? I knew I’d been the person who’d put them to bed the previous night and I’m still going over and over it in my mind – were they secure? Would they still be chuntering at me in the garden if I’d checked it one more time?
Fact of the matter is, probably not. The fox is known as a wily beast for good reason. But I cannot be beaten. We’re investing (even) more time and money in the coop and run and we’ve reserved 4 ex battery hens who will arrive towards the end of the month. I hope that as we ‘recharge’ them I can come to terms with what we discovered last Wednesday morning and hope that in time I’ll be able to relax and have confidence in the Fort Knox-esque chicken run we’re creating.