This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

fox!!

A red fox walked through my backyard today not 20 feet from the window where I was. It was heading toward the chicken coop. I wish I'd gotten a picture as it was a beautiful animal, but I jumped up and ran yelling "Stay away from my chickens!"

Now that the local wildlife has found my hens, I'm wondering now if I should add that layer of chicken wire I'd been meaning to add at the base of the run to protect against digging predators.

The main predator of chickens that I've heard of around here is hawks. Red tailed hawks are big, but I don't know if one could fly off with a chicken. A friend of mine had a hawk get into her run's open door this winter and drag off a chicken. (I'll have to ask her if it was a full sized hen or a bantam.) I don't think it flew off with the hen, but was able to drag her out of the coop. It did not end well for the chicken.

I was looking up how long it takes for chickens to reach their full size. My hens are 6 months old now. What I found is that chickens grow for about 18 months. So I guess my girls have more growing to do. Ginger and Penny will eventually be 5-6 lbs and Bertha 10-12 lbs, if I can keep them safe....

Usually when I let my hens out of the coop, I stay and guard them. Last fall I would rake nearby. Now, I mostly just stand and watch. I wonder if I could train the dogs to guard them? Suzie and Skippy are good about being out with the chickens, even without me around. Silly Suzie usually joins the chickens in their foraging as she loves the sunflower seed I scatter. Skippy and I watch and shake our heads at her.

9 Comments:

Blogger Lara said...

Fox are definitely to be admired--I can't help but like them and their sleek beauty despite the fact they're planning ways to get to my chickens. Hawks, I've heard can grab grown chickens--I suppose it depends on how big the hawk is. If they can grab large rabbits….

Best of luck keeping your gals safe. Crossing my fingers your eggs will start showing up soon!

January 19, 2014 5:54 PM

 
Anonymous Marian (LondonUK) said...

We get a beautiful fox in our garden, it has a magnificent tail. The church at the back of our house has a large garden area which is where I think they live. As soon as it hears the dog 2 doors down bark, it's off! So Skippy and Suzie will be a good deterrent couple with the additional wire.

Marian (LondonUK)

January 20, 2014 5:23 AM

 
Blogger ArtLover said...

What did the fox say? ;) (I couldn't help myself!)

January 20, 2014 11:02 AM

 
Blogger GirlRural.com said...

I'd skip the chicken wire which is pretty weak and add some good hardware cloth. Once the foxes have found your chickens it's only a matter of time. I know I feel the same way about raccoons. I've seen a couple so now the girls free ranging time is going to be limited.

January 20, 2014 12:32 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

The fox didnt say nothin'. Or maybe I heard him muttering, guess I'lll have mice for dinner instead of chicken, they were sour chickens anyway....

I'll switch the chicken wire on my shopping list to hardware cloth. Thanks. I hope the new snow will deter the predators a while. It deters me from putting down the extra layer on the ground. I saw two racoons walking near the coop last week, though they didn't seem to have an interet in the chickens. I suspect a raccoon could just open the latch on run. Do raccoons eat chickens? Or just eggs?

January 21, 2014 11:14 PM

 
Anonymous Joe said...

Growing up, we once went out to our chicken coop to find several of our hens without their heads. A family friend said it was a tell-tale sign of a raccoon attack. So yes, raccoons will go after chickens.

January 22, 2014 7:00 PM

 
Blogger Woods Forest Home said...

Raccoons do go after chickens and can easily get in through chicken wire. Hardware cloth/wire is much safer. Weasels can get in through chicken wire pretty easy too.

January 22, 2014 9:55 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

My chicken run is lined with chicken wire. I suppose I should replace the whole run? In addition to adding an edge along the ground. How do weasels and raccoons get through chicken wire anyway? Do they bite through it?

January 22, 2014 10:47 PM

 
Blogger Denise CountryMini said...

Love your blog Kathy! Just found it. Sounds like the cloth is the way to go and I would definitely put it on the entire run too.

January 24, 2014 11:28 AM

 

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