Sunday, July 05, 2015

Rethinking Foxes

I encouraged Bert to go visit Paddy in the Old Folk's Home today as I needed to get my head showered.

Getting one's head showered features in this Van Morrison number. It's a Northern Ireland thing.

He took the dogs with him (not Roy) as he intended to take a long walk afterwards. When he got back he told me he'd walked the fields around Maxwellswalls where his mother's people had come from. He started off at his mother's home place. It's not being farmed now and has turned in to a beautiful wilderness. He spotted one lizard, ten hares (he counted them as the dogs raised them) and an old dog fox with raggedy ears.

While he was communing with nature on the land his family once owned (they don't any more and there hangs an interesting tale) I weeded, planted vegetable and annual flower plugs, home grown. An enjoyable evening indeed. When Bert returned he was excited to tell me about the critters he had seen. He also reported that the dogs had got very excited about the hares but had taken the fox in their stride.

I've been rethinking foxes. After the last raids on our chickens, six lost altogether, I was raging, got Bert to keep the gun handy in case the cheeky bastard turned up in the yard or round about. Although we both had misgivings as it was cubbing season. An adult fox killed can mean slow starvation for the young ones. Then last Monday I spotted a fox cub dead at the side of the road, close to our lane. For some crazy reason I dwelt on it all day. And then I thought about foxes for the rest of the week. This is my conclusion. Foxes are just pesky but they deserve to have their lives. If they get my chickens it is because I'm not looking after them properly. I'm going to try very hard to keep the run fox proof and if one of my feather-brained flock jumps the fence because she just hates to lay her eggs along with the other hens and Foxy finds her, well, that's just one of those things. Foxes just be foxy, chickens be stupid and humans just need to make the best fences they can. Ours don't have the huge run they did before. They have an enclosure within an enclosure but it is still a lot bigger than most chickens enjoy.

Long run the fox. And I really mean that.

Interestingly Ganching has also been blogging about foxes.


Susannah said...

The new chicken run sounds good. I love foxes BUT I haven't lost any chickens to them. I've lost chickens to raccoons and weasels. When we have foxes denning in our hillside, there are no groundhogs to eat up the vegetable garden! Ganching's fox has a very unhealthy diet.

Nelly said...

There is always something to dishearten the poultry keeper, not to mention the gardener! We don't have weasels here though my sister in Kerry lost her whole flock to a weasel in one go. I agree, town foxes do have very unhealthy diets. And I had nightmares about those kittens.

Brig said...

We have always tried hard to be good stewards of the land. That includes all the critters. Only hunting those that caused damage beyond the normal scope of things.

Nelly said...

I'd agree with that Brighid.

Tabor said...

Good Zen balance to things. All animals have their place, including us!