They say that coyotes and foxes seldom occupy the same area. Both range a rather large territory and it does seem that once we cease hearing the coyote cries, it isn’t long before a fox pays us a visit and tries to pilfer one of our chickens. We lost a hen recently to a red fox and now the chickens are relegated to stay in the coop rather than roam at large as they would prefer.
Pursuant to our desire to let the farm go au naturel (to a point), the wildflowers and grasses have continued to grow. One drawback to this reconciliation with Nature is that the fox has more cover to sneak up on the chickens. Just beyond the “yard” that we mow, the tall grasses are mixed with chicory, milkweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, and a multitude of other wildflowers that make it hard to see a hungry fox sneaking up on his intended meal.
The unwelcome fox visits us every afternoon, hopeful that the chickens will be set free, whereby they can provide his next meal. He knows our schedule and that the dogs are up during the heat of the day. When the dogs detect the predator, they let him know that he is unwelcome, but thick-skinned varmint that he is, he continues to come around looking for a free meal.
We are down to a rooster that is living on borrowed time and five hens, four of which lay regularly. They provide all the eggs we can eat and I sell the rest to a produce store in town. I really don’t want to lose another one of our hens, so, for the foreseeable future, they are “cooped up.” We’ve been through this before. Eventually, the fox will lose interest and move on. We, the chickens included, just need to be patient.