The little hen in the photo above is my champion broody. It seems that she only ever lays a batch of eggs with the view of sitting to hatch some chicks, and she takes care of her brood for many months, keeping them under her wing until they are almost fully grown. Here you see her with part of her latest brood – six multicolored chicks from an assortment of eggs.
Not all is calm and peaceful in the chicken kingdom, however. Today at 4 A.M. we had a visit from an especially cunning fox who managed to dig under the coop and carry off another one of our hens. Foxes are about the meanest and sneakiest enemy a chicken owner can have – once they have set an eye on your coop, they will keep visiting with amazing persistence until they pick off all your chickens one by one… or learn that free meals are not to be had around your place. That’s why, even if a chicken is already killed, you should do your best to stop a fox from carrying it off – once they get one prize, odds are much higher that they will keep coming back for more.
I spent part of the morning reinforcing the coop, and will probably keep mama hen and her chicks inside overnight.
4 thoughts on “Chick (and fox) season”
This is the biggest reason we don’t have chickens. Our home is surrounded on three sides by a State Park and we have foxes everywhere. The Squire and I feed the birds – and of course the squirrels come along for a free meal, too. Every once in a while a fox will come down to the house to see if he can grab a squirrel for lunch. Fortunately, we have the most inept bunch of foxes you’ve ever seen! One will sit at the base of the tree waiting for the squirrel to come back down. Or something.
The Squire’s sister and brother-in-law have a hen house, but they keep the birds inside all day and only let them out when he gets home from work, then back inside until tomorrow afternoon. Not much of a life, even for a chicken.
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Yes, it does seem like you have to make a veritable chicken fortress to keep them safe!
We live way out in the country and had free range chickens and ducks and rabbits for years , then it seemed overnight raccoons , coyotes , or something finally realized what was going on , and in about 2 short days had killed and hauled away 3 rabbits , 3 ducks and a 18 chickens . We barely realized what was happening and it was over. Good idea to keep your special Momma chicken safe !
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Those things do tend to surprise one. Prior to this incident we had a whole fox-free season!