Metaphors aren’t usually driven home with the force that I experienced on Friday. I had brought the hen and chicks to a new cage in the garden next to the house, and (I thought) secured the area with bird net.  I left for an hour at about 9:30, and when I came home, all that was left was one peeping chick and this:

I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse about my role as farmer. I totally underestimated the fox, and the hen and chicks, who I’d just taken a little movie of earlier, died as a result. The one survivor went in with the chicks the girls had persuaded me to get, and now I’m glad they did.

So another two days spent shoring up fox defenses:

I’d like to find a way to test whether this barrier of stretched bird net will work. Larry says I’ll know it works if I don’t lose any more chickens. But I’d rather test it another way. Perhaps tonight when everyone is locked in, I’ll leave a piece of raw meat inside the enclosure and see if it’s there in the morning.

All the while I was working on my new defenses, stapling ever corner, tying up holes, putting “bird-be-gone” barriers on flat areas where I couldn’t put netting, and sawing off overhanging branches, I was rather sadly humming this song to myself, a remarkably cheerful tune for a devastating event. I hope someday I’ll be able to sing it again with good cheer.

3 thoughts on “Outfoxed

  1. You should start farming and herding foxes. Set up a sweatshop and put them to work knitting Fox Gloves, and that’s just the beginning of a sweet, and cunning enterprise.
    Sorry about those lost chickens. I once hid a turtle under the bed to keep it from the very jealous family dog. So I know of which (what?) I speak. Sad, sad day.

  2. Fox Gloves–I like it. I better do something with them. The baby chicks are now in a box up on my deck, about 30 feet of sheer house wall between them and the ground, and I’m still nervous…Brought them inside tonight.

  3. I say, lead with your heart (of course read up on the ways and means of Chicken Ranching) but, lead with your heart.

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