Feathers tumbled through the grass on a light breeze. It was Sunday. We just got back from a short camping trip, to find that we'd been under attack.
Our coop is secure. It is hardy, has a lock, the run is covered in wire. We would never leave them home alone if we felt they were not secure. There were four roosters for protection, and some alarming geese that usually do the job.
But not this time...
A fox tore a hole right through the wire covered run - not even on a seem. It was determined, and it succeeded in nabbing six of our flock members.
My heart sank when I saw the feathers on the opposite end of the yard - I knew what it meant. The question then was just how bad the damage was.
The first couple losses we had in the past were hard. You tend to get pretty attached when you provide that much time and attention to something so sweet.
However, it is a reality of owning livestock at times - ask any farmer, bee keeper, or fellow chicken-tender, and you'll find that this is not uncommon for smaller livestock, so you'd better buckle up and prepare for the possibility.
It's times like this that can make you want to throw in the towel. We didn't speak to one another much the rest of the afternoon- we were both so bummed. It hurts our egg production to lose laying hens, some older, some younger. We are more vulnerable with the loss of one of our roosters, too (RIP Joe Dirt).
These are also the times to learn from. We fixed the wire tear, recoverd the run, and put up an electric fence around the run, for extra protection.
Hard to believe it but a day or so later, we watched the fox from the living room window scamper over to the run in the low light of dawn, and get his sneaky little nose ZAPPED right on the end. The fox backed right off, and we have yet to see a return.
To be safe, we called the Maine Warden Service and asked for their advice. When you own livestock, if there is a predator that has become a nuisance, the farmer has the right to take action to remove said nuisance in any legal way necessary.
We called up a friend of a friend, who has done some of this removal work before, and asked for some help. With his experience, he set up traps to best mitigate the issue and has been checking them diligently. The hope is to catch the fox and rehome him to a place where he won't cause trouble. So far, no dice, but we will keep a close watch for this creeping critter.
Until then, we are on the look out for laying hens to restore our flock back to its original levels.
📷 Photography by Beaux & Arrows