Livestock & Deadstock

This is not the first time we have posted or written about this or celebrated the relevant wisdom passed on to us by one of our guru’s in Bulgaria – Tracey MacDonald.

Last weekend (which was Orthodox Easter) we did a recount of all our birds – in particular counting how many males and females we had of each species, checking which females were sitting or set on clutches – and identifying the males as some were being a bit naughty some days!

Anyway, this evening (Tuesday 18 April) at “Bird O’Clock” – which is what we colloquially call the time that we go down and put the birds to bed, check them and lock them up until the morning – we were very disappointed, *gutted actually to find that in the area where all our birds (Indian Runner Ducks, Geese and Chickens) hang out during the day there were the remains of a chicken with no visible wounds and from our known flock there was also another chicken missing and a duck also missing – so the predator had taken away 2 complete corpses and left 1 for dead.

Based on our experiences over the past 8 years, this was almost 100% certain that this was a fox attack. The weather this afternoon was very “foxy” i.e. damp, overcast and a little bit drizzly. It’s the season when the vixens will have delivered their Spring litters – and so dog-foxes and vixens are almost solely concerned with bringing home food for the cubs.

After checking the remains (not many visible) we checked the fencing and found a freshly dug hole in one place which looks very likely to have been the place the predator(s) came in. We also commented that that fence is between us and a neighbour at the corner of our property – but the whole neighbour family is in the UK working, so there are no dog(s) on their property and they are also not keeping any other livestock while they are away (like pigs) which are often good deterrents for predators.

This is not our first fox attack – but it is always disappointing, and/or annoying, and/or frustrating, and/or really grumpy making! But we are past a lot of that – now it is up to us to make sure we repair the hole(s), clear up the remains – and perhaps be more vigilant when the weather changes to more fox friendly conditions – and trying to physically check/count the flock during the day – which is what usually happens but of course some days you get involved in other stuff!

Best of luck to all you other critter keepers!

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