Tuesday, May 26, 2015

chicken worries

Yellow iris along the edge of our farm pond

Here on Roundtop Mountain in Pennsylvania the weather this past Memorial Day weekend was about as perfect as it gets.  It was sunny, not too hot and frequently with a pleasant breeze.  That changes today, when the weather turns mid-summerish—hot and humid, if not yet too hazy.

Somewhat against my better judgment, I let my chickens out this morning. Last night the local red fox barked for half an hour or more, so close that I could see its eyeshine, if at the far edge of that light, in my headlamp.  It was close enough that when I was out with the dogs, they barked at the sound.

I have learned that if I don’t let my chickens out to roam the forest, I won’t come home to any unbroken eggs. They will lay eggs while inside their coop, but they end up broken before the end of the day when I get home.  And being in the coop all day makes them grumpy, too.  The biggest black hen typically gives me an unhappy peck if I don’t let her out.

So last night the fox barked from 9 p.m. until 9:30 or so, though I didn’t hear it the rest of the night. I just hope there’s enough activity from my neighbors and Roundtop people during the day to keep any wandering foxes away from my chickens. And I hope those girls don’t decide to go on one of their expeditions away from my cabin.

Usually, foxes are only really active at night, but this time of year, with the kits investigating life outside the dens, the parents don’t always have a normal schedule.  I’m just hoping that fox family is sleeping this hot, sunny day away.


Robin Follette said...

The fox are out and about all day here in Maine. I think our resident vixen didn't survive our horrible winter. She usually dens nearby and passes the house with her catches on the way to the kits, but I haven't see her this spring. She didn't bother our ducks or chickens (we have dogs so she goes around our yard to trot on the road)so it's kind of sad. Mine birds are in because of hawks. It's always something.

Carolyn H said...

Robin: I wonder how old your missing vixen was? Perhaps it was just age that did her in. My chickens survived the day, fortunately. it's now been several days since I've heard the fox barking, and the last time I heard it, I think it was one of the younger ones and not one of the parents--it had a slightly different sound. And you're right--it's always something.