Saturday, 1 December 2012

Fox Attack

Saturday 1st December 2012

One of our ornamental chickens has been beheaded, a victim of the building chaos. But a little superglue will soon fix it and we can laugh about it.

But what met Sue's eyes this morning cannot be fixed.

For one pile of bloodied white feathers led to another and then, there in the corner of the goose paddock were the beheaded remains of one of the geese.

When we moved in, before we had any experience of keeping livestock, we asked the previous owners what time they locked the chickens away, only to be informed that they put themselves away and doors were not locked.

So we continued like this for about a year, with no losses, until very early one morning I saw a fox running across the back field. From then on the chickens and ducks have been locked away every night and let out every morning. This is a complete pain and it was much nicer when the chickens could let themselves out, usually well before sunrise.

The geese, though, have been a different story. They just kind of happened upon us and we started with four males and a limping female which failed to lay eggs in its first year. Not sure of their age, they have had little purpose beyond making the place look olde worldy farmy, cutting the grass (though nowhere near as good at this as the sheep) and letting me know when anyone pulls in. But they have grown on us and become part of the farm.
For a while, when they were fighting, the pair got herded into a stable every night, but the others have always been left outside. We gave them a small house, but they have steadfastly refused to use it.
I always knew that there was a risk of fox attack, but everything had been OK ... till now.

I guess we were fortunate to only lose one. Just a shame it was the female, as we were hoping she might lay next year and form the start of a productive goose flock. But nature has a way of selecting out the weakest and she did always have that limp. Maybe she just chose the short straw last night, or maybe that limp, that slowness to get moving, cost her life.

So it's back to herding the geese into the stable at night, for the fox is sure to come looking again. I guess its the cold weather which has forced it to become more daring.

Three very subdued geese,
safely in the stable for the night.
Long term, we may now give away another of the males, or try to swap it for some eggs in the new year.


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