Found one live hen, the welsommer, she must have run off and hidden under my car, and when I came out this morning she came over. The cockerel must have been too big for the fox as it looks unharmed, maybe it had a heart attack with the shock or something. Thinking of giving the welsommer to Judith and it'll then give me a chance to clean up and give the hut a good clean and if we can leave it open all winter, the frost will kill off any bugs.
Our girls were all free range, but we had their hut inside a fenced enclosure, which for 95% of it has rigid corrugated iron 2 ft strip all around the bottom, and dug in, but we had a little corner that couldn't be done like that and of course that's where it's got in. Well, looking on the bright side, it's one less excuse for Mike to use about why we can't go on holiday.
So sorry to read your news. I have to say that when we first started on our smallholding we had 30 laying hens free ranging on 2.5 acres and sold the eggs. Then Edwina Currie put her spanner in the works and we reduced our numbers to 6, just to feed the family. However, Mr Fox came along one night and did his worst. We gave up at that point. It's heartbreaking. Thinking of you.
Thought I would use this thread rather than start another.
Been out and about this afternoon, just home and as normal went to check on outdoor family. Pile of blood stained feathers in garden and one of this years hens missing. Tomorrow I will leave them all in the barn whilst we do dog training and will pick up more chicken wire when out. Tomorrow afternoon I will construct a roof on the run and for now keep the chickens in the barn and run. It is a large run and will have to do. I know the fox will be back and do not want to risk losing more. I love to see them free ranging but it is not worth risking their lives for.
Sometimes living here is just too hard!
It is horrid Jan as I love having the chickens roaming around the garden. Once I have re homed all the ducks I will let Bruno roam around the back during the day. The thing is I know the fox is an opportunist, it knows where all the chickens are and will seize the chance. I am the only one amongst 5 farms who has them free range. The barn and run are behind the house within view of the lounge and our bedroom. It is very secure but the weak link is the barn itself as the garden side the roof is only a foot off the ground as it is built into the side of a slope. By roofing the run with chicken wire it will be completely secure. The run walls are seven foot high of big posts and chicken wire with a flange at the bottom and large granite stones on the flange. The other positive is it will stop the wild birds eating the chicken feed and if there is ever another bird flu epidemic mine will be able to use the outdoor run!
I guess it is all about learning lessons.
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