Fantastic Mr Fox?

Blood flows, feathers fly,dead_chooks
on the ground their bodies lie.
Reynard has come by.


As I walked towards the chicken coop this morning, no birds came running towards me. All was silent and still, except for the feathers drifting in the breeze.

It took me a while to locate all the bodies, lift them from the blood stained ground and pile them up, stiff and cold, outside the gate to the coop.  It took longer to locate the hole, only about fist sized, where the fox had gotten in.  

Of nine hens, I have one left – an old Araucana who hasn’t laid for years, but has avoided the pot because she raised so many chicks she has earned her keep indefinitely. There were 7 corpses – my lovely hefty black Minorcas, the amazingly productive Isa Browns, and the little white bantam leghorn.  Only one hen missing – Geoffrey, a white Araucana cross, the only one with a name. I’ve never seen a fox in a killing frenzy, just the results, always the same – one single missing bird and lots of dead birds. Not all the dead hens were injured, some just died of fright.

I buried them in a shallow mass grave in the new raspberry patch.


Filed under musings, poem

18 responses to “Fantastic Mr Fox?

  1. The touch of sadness comes out so well in the Haiku; as if the melancholy has given birth to the poem!

    • Thank you – I’m aiming for melancholy in how I feel about it, but right now still dismayed and frustrated.

      • I can understand. Losing a pet is similar to losing someone from the family. Must have been quite a harrowing experience for you to see them in that state in the morning. My sincere condolences on your loss.

        • Thanks – my daughter was most upset. The missing hen was hers, and I think that was worse than finding it dead. I had to reassure her that it would have been dead before the fox dragged it away. It’s just one of those things that happens. We’ve lost hens to all sorts of predators, including hawks and eagles.

  2. Sorry to read about your fox attack. I’m sure it hurt. Nice you could turn to poetry.

    • Thanks. I think it was worse this morning going down to the coop, because I knew what I’d find. I think a lot of people have an idealised and unrealistic Lion King “never take more than you need” view of nature. Foxes go nuts and kill everything in sight, cockatoos pull up beds of seedlings for fun… The five Muscovy ducks have survived but are clearly traumatised, and have minor injuries.

  3. So sorry about the chickens, it must have been devastating. Your poor daughter, it is so hard to console young people when they lose a pet. Glad the Muscovy ducks survived, hopefully, they will fully recover.❤👩‍🦰🦊❤

  4. Pingback: Raspberry canes | anotherkatewilson

    • Thanks Nick ❤ It happens. It's so frustrating – I really thought the coop was predator proof this time.

      • We used to coop chickens as kids:
        a constant battle of wits & cunning.

        The only coop that had, in dim memory,
        any joy (for hens & us!) was the one where
        the chicken wire passed beneath the soil…

        but that was the 1970s & foxes probably have
        an app for that scenario now! 🙂 xo

        • It dug under the one section without a concrete rim… The wire was buried a little way down, but obviously not far enough. 😦 I think having the pig in her pen helped, which is next to the chicken coop, but she moved into the woodshed for winter. Maybe I need a llama, my neighbour has llamas and has found foxes kicked to death outside her coop. But then she has eagles nesting above hers and they pull the heads off the chooks…

        • …’red in tooth and claw.’

  5. Llamas are great protectors; good as a sheepdog, but bigger. I feel for your loss. No person or creature passes from my life but I hear that bell toll and see part of me pass too. I wish you peace.

  6. Pingback: a henhouse full of roosters | anotherkatewilson

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