You’ll notice if you come to visit us here at the Stanton House Inn that we have one fewer chicken. Hopefully, you won’t notice much fewer if we’re vigilant enough over the next few weeks.
The good news is, the local wildlife of Greenwich is on the rebound! Guests have excitedly (or with queasy faces) been reporting their encounters with local predators: hawks eating birds, and foxes eating whatever critters they can find. This was all well and good until the bad news kicked in: those same foxes have recently discovered how delicious chicken is.
A few nights ago, I went down to put the girls (ie: Naomi’s daughters) to bed and I noticed a lot of squawking. I didn’t think anything of it, as they normally get nervous at dusk that I won’t come and let them out of the chicken tractor.Naomi’s forgotten all about her children and decided she wants more, by the way. She refuses to get off her new clutch of eggs. Jokes on her, though, as I’m not planning on getting any more chicks for her to foster this year.
Tonight was different, though–the gate of the tractor had been ripped open, and white feathers were all over, leading in a trail to a fox standing in the middle of the secret garden, with a very much deceased white chicken hanging in its mouth.
The fox saw me, dropped the bird, and stared. But he refused to abandon his catch until I started cursing, waving my fists, and running towards him.
I then was left with a cluster of frightened chickens, one chicken that didn’t seem to mind the situation much anymore, and a fox sitting on the wall of the garden ruins, waiting for me to turn around to either snatch its prey or grab a different, still living bird. It felt a bit like being in Jurassic Park, surrounded by velociraptors in dense brush–except the velociraptors were too little (and not quite vicious enough) to attack me, only my babies. But that’s just as frightening, and I got nervous that every clump of plants (of which I suddenly realized there were a ton) from the chicken tractor to the coop was hiding another fox.
The fox was brave and quite cunning, but nothing beats brute force and me when I’m angry. I had to chase the fox away multiple times before we could finally get the remaining girls into the coop, where they remained for the next day as well.
Knock on wood we won’t lose anymore soon. It’s a bit disappointing that she was killed after we’d spent all spring and summer getting them to their laying age, but that’s nature. Just as they’re about to lay, we always seem to lose one to some sort of canid. Hopefully we’ll be getting eggs from the rest soon!