Wednesday 4 July 2012
The fox is slaughtering our chickens, and I'm powerless to stop it.
The fence is up, but it's virtually useless until I get a nesting box shelter built.
And without a place to roost inside the compound, the birds will have to be led in and out every morning and evening.
Adding extra chores to the day will only add to the frustration.
What's worst is that the birds are being taken from right under our noses.
A few moments of inattention and another bird gets stolen away to it's death.
The fox has grown so confident that it is stealing birds from within only a few metres of the house.
It is watching our every move all day long.
The forest is thick around the house.
We have been pushing it back for years, but there is even more ground cover than before.
More than enough to hide a sneaking fox.
We don't ever see the thief; and it's always too late once the birds sound the alarm.
If I had the same time available to me as the fox does, then I could at least protect the birds.
But I can't spend my days hovering around the chickens.
The fox will never strike while I'm paying attention.
No amount of patience will give me the opportunity to strike back.
Even once the fence is complete, the fox will start to test it and will find a weakness.
The only way to end the loss is to cage the birds; but I'll only do that for the young birds.
Fortunately, I should have a replacement flock built up by the time the fox steals my last mature bird.
In the meantime, I can hope that the fox makes a mistake.
Maybe it will end up in the fencing enclosure, trapped.
It could accidentally expose itself while I'm at the ready.
I could take the battle to the fox and try to track down it's den;
but that's a long shot.
Chances are, that I will lose this fight.
Tried and tested fencing is a sure way to keep the losses to a minimum.
...all I can do is keep hatching chicks.