Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A tough lesson about nature.

Jamie and I returned home on Sunday evening to find Lady Sussex and Audrey running free in the backyard. Initially I laughed in surprise that they had somehow escaped. With a quick glance at the chicken coop I realised the situation was far less innocent. The chicken coop was destroyed. One wall had been completely demolished and the floor of the coop had broken and the metal all bent out of shape. 

I couldn't see Betty or Maggie anywhere! I called for Jamie and he came to check. We found piles of feathers around the yard and paw prints up the side of the house (I matched these to fox paw print examples online). I was devastated when I realised my chickens had been killed. I stood in the yard crying while Jamie raced to patch up the coop in what daylight was left.

I had spent hours when we first got out chooks blocking every hole along the perimeter of the yard. I chicken wired the gates and secured their coop. It appears the fox has squeezed under the gate and pushed the chicken wire away. We live in a suburban area so I still can't quite believe we even have foxes here! We had only been gone for one night. We looked all through the yard but couldn't see their bodies anywhere.

~ Betty & Maggie ~

Last night we had a big storm, which uncovered their bodies buried shallowly IN the chicken run (so sad!) I cried again. Jamie and I cleaned it all up, and buried them both next to the pond. I have never had a pet killed in this way before, it came as quite a shock, and I am still really upset about it. I know this is 'nature' but I just feel so bad for them :-(

I am really thankful that we still have two chickens alive, and mark my words, we are upgrading this chicken coop set up to be fort knox! Jamie is already drawing up the plans.

Sam xox


  1. We had an article in our paper about this being a big problem as chickens become more popular pets, as they really need to be put in a shed at night as foxes will ALWAYS find a way to get in through wires. I'm sad for your loss, hope that the new housing will keep the rest safe!

  2. aww that is so sad! I would not expect foxes to be in a populated area either. Corey's family live on a farm and they had to get rid of their chickens because of foxes. The pesky little buggers!

  3. Oh no, this is so so sad! I honestly can't imagine what it must have felt like to discover that...I would have cried too for sure! Good luck with upgrading the coop so it's even safer!

  4. Oh Sam I am so sorry! Your poor girls!
    With regard to foxes in urban areas, they are commonplace in towns and cities all over the UK. Especially London which as you'll know, is VERY heavily populated. They're devious little sods as I understand it. Even to the point of wandering into peoples houses. There was a terrible case of twin babies being savaged in their own cots!
    They are extremely adaptable to changes in their environment so as cities expand they just adapt rather than move out. They take advantage of the plentiful scavenging opportunities available in cities as opposed to hunting in the wild.
    I think time invested in bolstering your defences will be well spent. This may be of interest too:


    So sorry. Big hugs.

  5. It's so sad when this happens to animals we bring in to our yards. We had no problems with foxes with ours in Tasmania - but did have to watch out for hawks whilst they were free ranging. The girls were pretty savvy though and hid under tree when one was circling. Keep persevering, the fresh eggs are worth it :)

  6. Poor chickies!!! Foxes are devious little buggers.

    RE: Kathy's comment. My parents have lots of chickens and ducks in Tassie and they have a lot of trouble with crows and hawks carrying off smaller chickens. Dad built a nursery for them that is separate from the main chook pens and covered over the top with netting as well as fenced. No aerial attacks! They keep the growing baby chickens in there til they're big enough to fend for themselves

  7. Oh no, sorry about your little chickadees Sam! Our chicken coop has a bottom on it as we have a lot of foxes (apparently) in Brisbane. Hopefully your new little fort-knox will be super secure!

  8. Ahhh so sad about the girls...hopefully you will be able to acquire some new friends...

  9. It's so hard isn't it? My first experience with chickens was so horrible I thought I'd never get any of my own- I was housesitting for my cousin while she was in Germany for two weeks, and lost BOTH of her chickens to raccoons- one because I didn't secure the coop door well enough and the other just vanished in broad daylight. It was terrible and gory, and it took me three years to have the confidence to get my own again.

    Best of luck to your remaining chooks, and I would recommend more than chicken wire- using welded wire makes things much more secure, and putting a bottom on the coop makes it impenetrable.