The fox got in amongst our chickens yesterday afternoon, and killed one of the big Buff Orpingtons.
We had moved their portable fence and chicken tractor to the lawn in front of the house while the field was being hayed. Without the acres of tall grass to obscure the view, the hens were too much temptation for the fox, who pushed her way under the fence and chased them around until I came shrieking out of the house and made her drop one. (I was tempted to let Wolfie out to teach the fox a lesson, but thinking that he might chase chase her all the way to the Mason-Dixon Line I kept him indoors.)
The hen the fox had been carrying died in my arms. Another one seemed to be in a bad way, so I took her into the chicken house and gave her a drink of water laced with that old-time panacea, organic apple cider vinegar. It\’s hard to give a chicken a drink, hard to know whether you are saving the critter\’s life or drowning it, but I had to do something.
After the sun went down we moved the rest of the hens into the chicken house–if the fox was half as clever as she looked, she would surely be back, and the birds would be better protected inside their permanent house and fence. The hens seemed to remember their old haunt, and hopped readily up on their roosts. The fox-traumatized chicken had survived my ministrations and seemed o.k.
Every couple of years we lose a chicken to the fox. With only seven or eight birds in the coop, it\’s easy to get attached to them, and I find their deaths hard to take. Still, I am not angry at the fox. These days everybody–the birds, the rabbits, the chipmunks, the coyotes–has young to feed, and if you look at it from the fox\’s point of view, she was just being a responsible parent. Thinking of that, I asked my husband to carry the dead hen into the woods, to provide sustenance, if not for the fox, then for some other hungry creature.