We collected two new chickens from the ex-battery hen rehoming project yesterday – Flamingo and Errin.
Because you have to gradually introduce new chickens to each other (to allow the “pecking order” time to be sorted out) I had to split the chicken coop into two separate areas – one was the old wooden coop, the other, the newer “conservatory” with repurposed dustbin as sleeping quarters.
As expected, yesterday the chickens fought, so we had to separate them.
This morning we were awoken by Millie who thought there might be a fox in the garden, judging by the noise. There was, but my security measures had kept the bugger out. Yes, he was stood on top of the chicken enclosure scaring the bejesus out of them, but he was outside still and couldn’t get in.
Score one to us.
This evening, just before bed, Millie and I went out to check the chickens had found their dustbin bedroom and gone inside. Millie got her boots on and ran out into the twilight garden while I struggled to get my boots on.
And then she screamed that one of the chickens was dead and ran back inside.
Sure enough, one of the new chickens has had her throat ripped out and is lying outside the enclosure. The other is stood perfectly still inside the enclosure – so still that I thought at first she was dead, too!
Somehow, perfectly silently, an animal (we’re assuming a fox, but we don’t know) has somehow peeled back a slightly loose piece of chicken wire, jumped into the enclosure, pulled a chicken out, killed it, and left its body outside. The other chicken hasn’t been touched.
This is particularly frustrating as we literally haven’t seen a single fox in a year. Not a single one. They used to roam the streets after dark – you’d always see them on your way home from the pub.
Not a single sighting in a year then, suddenly, within 24 hours of us getting more chickens, we have a sighting, an attack and a death.
Poor Millie was quite traumatised (it wasn’t a pleasant sight, but it could have been a lot worse, believe me!).
Me, I’m just annoyed and sad.
The remaining chicken is quite obviously terrified. I’d put 50/50 odds on her being alive in the morning – not because of foxes, just because of stress and fear.