Fox and Hens

It’s odd how things work out. Since last year we have kept three Buff Orpington hens in our garden. They have a lovely chicken coop which sits snug inside a chicken run that I built for them, all  safe and secure. Around the property I have a few anti-predator lights that work at night and also we have a couple of dogs that like to mark their territory in the yard too. We also like to let the chickens out to range freely over the property and they do a good job of clearing insects and, more importantly, those evil Lyme-disease carrying ticks that are prevalent in this area (that’s another story).

Anyhow, today we experienced a late season snowfall (hopefully the last) so we let the chickens out earlier that usual, before there was too much accumulation. We keep an eye on them periodically and by sure luck, happened to get up from breakfast and look out of the front window to see one of the hens running quickly in front of the window – closely followed by a fox!

We banged on the glass, hollered and ran to get out into the yard and the fox “legged it,” as we would say, across the property. Thankfully, a quick check of the hen revealed no harm done, and confirmed the others were safe and sound too.

It was a truly comical, yet simultaneously scary sight to see this fox chase in such a classic pose – a plump golden chicken being chased by a sly red fox! The fox was a beautiful specimen and I am guessing we must have disturbed it just before it got into full stride, as I cannot see how our hen could possibly outrun this determined hunter.

Unserendipitously (is there such a word?) the wildlife camera that I have had set up there wasn’t in place as I took it down for some building work, so we only have our memories of it, but for the three of us who were only a few feet away it was an amazing thing to see nature at work. I’m just glad it ended happily.

We have not had issues with foxes before so I wonder it if was because the coating of snow meant that our red hens contrasted with the white snow so much that the fox could easily target them and risk coming close to the house. We live in a wooded area and there’s usually a lot of leaf litter and other ground cover that may allow some sort of camouflage.

Anyway it was certainly an unusual way to start the day, and one I don’t want to repeat. It will certainly made me appreciate tomorrow’s breakfast eggs from “the girls” a little more than usual!

160409_Fox
NOT the aforementioned fox, but a similar beast…

~Richard

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