Tag Archives: grey foxes

Escalating Chicken War

Getting ready for spring seems more work than the spring rush. Maybe the escalating chicken war is the problem.

Cold weather is not my idea of work outside weather. This has slowed down putting up chicken wire on the fences.

In the meantime garden preparation for spring planting is clamoring to be done. Peas and greens will go in the beginning of March. Potatoes go in the middle of the month.

Cream Cat comes over
For some reason Cream Cat assumed I needed help working on the fence and his bid for petting was the help I needed. He got his petting, then sent on his way so I could finish working on this section of fence.

I divided my time and got some of each done. I had lots of help and observers. Cream came by demanding he be petted. The chickens came by to check out what I was doing before taking off into the pasture. A deer watched from the other end of the north pasture. An armadillo came by and complained about having its pathways wired closed.

The next day rain threatened. I concentrated on the garden preparation as wet compost is not easy to lug to the garden.

The back garden gate post was rotting off. I shored it up with metal posts. It collapsed as I worked on putting the compost in which entailed weeding. The chickens were delighted. I put in a new post.

In the meantime I noticed my escalating chicken war. The new wire is across the road section. The chicken goes through the barn lot to the small pasture through the fence and on to the front yard.

hen reason for escalating chicken war
This Speckled Sussex hen is the ringleader. She refuses to stay in the chicken yard. She leads other hens to the front yard. Now she is taking them out into the pastures. She considers me the enemy to her freedom. I see her as fox dinner.

Other chickens joined the culprit. Still others were off across the north pasture. An escalating chicken war was getting frustrating.

News arrived the grey fox is back. He is moving his mate into his old haunt for the spring and summer.

Now I wouldn’t fault the fox for grabbing the chicken parading around the front yard near where he plans to live. The chicken shouldn’t be there.

However I really don’t want to lose any laying hens. I like bringing lots of eggs in every day.

The escalating chicken war is now pitted against time. And I am losing.

Watching Wildlife

Since no dogs live here, watching wildlife is a fun pastime. Wildlife can be a problem, but seeing it is still a treat.

Raccoons and opossums generally come after dark. When they become a nuisance, the livetrap is set out and we see them in the trap before taking them elsewhere.

ground squirrel watching me
This ground squirrel might be looking for a new place to live, but the yard is definitely not a good choice. Foxes would find it a delicious morsel. These squirrels are cute creatures. I hope this one found its way to a safer territory.

Ground squirrels seem to be everywhere lately. These are belligerent characters when challenged. Mostly they are a blur crossing the road with their tails held straight up.

Watching wildlife on the road is important. Many dither or panic as the vehicle comes up. Snakes and turtles tend to stay put and need persuasion to get off the road.

copperhead snake on road
Copperheads are poisonous, true. Most are not aggressive and will take off given the chance. Their bites make my goats swell up, usually a leg, and hurt for a day or two. Then the swelling goes down and all is fine. In cooler weather snakes bask on the gravel road for the warmth. This includes green grass, black rat, hognose, ring and middlin brown as well as copperheads. It’s a great opportunity for looking at them as they lie still unless disturbed. I make sure they get off the road before driving on as so many people deliberately run over them.

The local coyotes have given us some special opportunities for watching wildlife. The coyotes tend to stay back on the hills and in the ravines away from the pastures and buildings making the areas safer.

Deer bed their fawns down in the tall grass in the pastures. One was next to the pasture gate and discovered when the goats went traipsing out.

watching wildlife as a fawn takes luck
A motionless fawn curled up in tall grass is a brown hump easily overlooked. Normally I see them as a small, white tail disappearing in the distance. This one stayed put as the goats and I tromped out past it, never seeing it. I saw it on my way in from the bridge.

Coyotes kill foxes making them rather rare in the area. One pair has moved by the house to raise their four kits.

This is the second year this pair has been here. Last year half of my hens disappeared. I am more careful this year and keep them up most of the time.

The fox family is very shy. Any hint we are around sends them into the brush. Luckily the house has lots of windows.

watching wildlife from inside the house keeps shy foxes in view
Grey foxes are like small dogs in size, about double a big house cat. They are pretty and fun to watch. The kits are growing up and mother fox is taking them out into the brush. She is very attentive to them, but demands immediate obedience.

The male fox sometimes curls up out in the back yard. His favorite spot is a ways out from the bathroom window making taking pictures easy. He does know I’m there, but doesn’t find me a threat as I am in the house.

One day the kits were out in the same area. Mother fox let them play a few minutes before leading them off across the yard and into the woods.

Watching wildlife is fascinating. It is also a matter or luck: being in the right place at the right time, camera in hand.