Saturday, 22 May 2010

Decimation and Disappointment

Usually when we get back from any journey off the farm we are greeted with calls, cackles and the general welcoming sound of our girls. Welcoming us back, (okay I know....they're really just after one thing.......FOOD!!), it's a lovely sight and sound. Today we arrived back from our visit to a Farm Sale to the sound of silence. Not one chicken to be seen.
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Worrying and quite scary.
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We quickly got out some corn and called the girls, from out of the bushes and the orchard a few appeared, in no great rush to eat, and more subdued than I have ever seen them. They peacefully all ate around one tray of food, all 6 of them.
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How many we have lost I won't know for sure until bedtime when I can do a proper head count. Our little flock of happy hens has been decimated by a fox or a couple of foxes. There are little clusters of feathers dotted around the farm. The only consolation is that they have been taken as food, most likely for baby fox cubs and not just massacred and left. Nature is sometimes hard to accept, but in the country you must.
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The reason we were off the farm......to buy some additional laying friends for our girls. These have now turned into replacements!!
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We bought -
6 Speckledys POL 2 (six week old) New Hampshire Reds 1 Light Sussex POL 1 Black Rock POL
5 Hylines POL
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These will all remain inside one of the houses, and our girls will be caged in the old chicken run during the day until we have delivery of our soon to be ordered electric poultry fencing. Mrs Fox is having no more of my ladies.
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And the disappointment..........it looks as though Betty the Berkshire pig has had a phantom pregnancy. Not a sign of any imminent birth (pigs rarely go past their due date). She is now in with Butch, the new Berkshire boar, a proven stud. Fingers crossed this time, if nothing happens there will be lots of sausages for sale at the Farmers Market.
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Sorry to all those of you who were waiting for pictures of little piggies, to say I'm disappointed is the biggest understatement of this year!!
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Saturday 22nd May, a sad day here on the farm.
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Sue xx

11 comments:

  1. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your chicken loss. I have been living vicariously through you the last few days since I found your bog, since we don't have chickens of our own and I sort of long for them.

    My family always had chickens when I was growing up and we found weasels to be the worst of the chicken killers because they would kill many more than they could possibly eat and then leave the poor bodies behind.

    I wish you luck on securing your little flock from future fox attacks!

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  2. Oh Sue, I'm so sorry about your hens.
    As you say, that's life in the country.
    Sorry to hear about Betty too, fingers crossed that the boar just does what it says on the tin! I know the inevitable will happen,maybe not Betty bangers for a while yet though?
    I hope the rest of the weekend goes well.

    Sandie xx

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  3. :( Sorry that your day has been one of sadness & disappointment.

    I hope your new girls settle in quickly & you can make their environment as foxproof as possible.

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  4. So sorry abut your hens, I suppose you are lucky to have six. I've heard people lose all their hens in one go. I think you'll probably have to shoot the foxes if you find them. Once they know where the hens are that's it - they'll keep coming back for more. Such a bloody pain in the arse!! I suppose you could try and replicate what the eglu does and put a strip of chicken wire underneath the electric fence to stop the foxes digging under (they don't think to step back and dig, they dig to the edge).

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  5. Sue I'm so so sorry about your hens (and bettys phantom pregnancy) sometimes I feel sorry for my hens not being able to roam freely round our field and being stuck in an fenced in paddock, but being surrounded by woods and lots of dip and hollows and good fox cover I daren't risk it.

    I hope the fox doesn't pay a return vist to your new ladies.

    xx

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  6. My heart goes out to you Sue. I know, from recent experience, it's a real blow when this happens.

    You can take a lot of pride in how you looked after them in life. And now you'll dust yourself off and carry on. That's what we do.

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  7. Oh no, what a pity, I'm so sorry to hear about your chooks. And the piggies- fingers crossed for a big litter next time xx

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  8. I hope you can fox-proof them well enough.

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  9. A very sad but, unfortunately not uncommon story in the countryside. At least your ladies have some new companions and hopefully there will be better news of your piggies in due course.
    Jenny

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  10. Thank you for all these lovely comments.

    Sue xx

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