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Fox attack

The run expansion is finished.

I put 2″ X 3″ wire fencing on the top of the run, it came with black plastic coating.  I don’t know if the hawks will see the fencing or just look through it.  If they try to fly through it, well , should be interesting.

I dug a trench around the chain link dog run sections and wired 3′ wide chicken wire 18″ up on the chain link and 18″ into the trench.  Then I partially filled the trench with small rocks ( New England grows small rocks and I have a pile that I have collected over the years) before filling in the rest with dirt.  This should discourage any digging under by predators.  This is why I am sore, ditch digging is for younger people.  I dug about 45 feet of trench.

The 2 doors, one on the original run and the one on the expanded run latch at the same place roughly, where the 2 sections are 90 degrees to each other.  So when you open both doors out and hook them together opened, they form a chain link wall allowing the chickens to roam from the old run into the new run without getting loose.  This will allow us to separate the chickens or introduce new chickens in a controlled way.  I already locked them in the expanded run while I cleaned out the old run.  Worked great.    I placed a salvaged wire mesh for a top over this and we are done.

2 X 3s holding up the wire fencing on the top of the run

2 X 3s holding up the wire fencing on the top of the run

trenching with rocks and chicken wire
trenching with rocks and chicken wire

completed section

completed section

trenching

trenching

in the background you can see how the doors are when opened.

in the background you can see how the doors are when opened.

Ed

 

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After the fox and hawk attacks on my chickens, I’ve started with the run expansion.  This will give the ladies and Jack more space since they aren’t getting the free-range time that they used to.

September 5th 2013

September 5th 2013

The left side with the door is the original run, the chickens are all in the new run exploring.

From the side.

From the side.

I still have to put fencing over the top and bury chicken wire in the ground all the way around, then it will be secure.

But it is a good start.

Ed

 

Jasmine went broody July 2nd, https://mygardenmychickens.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/broody-hen-and-other-stuff/.  We tried ice packs and then just pushed her out of the nesting box.  She would stay out for a while and then run back in.  She lost a lot of weight and her comb is a sick looking pale pink, not the red that it was.  After 40 days of this I decided after everyone else has laid their egg for the day, I would push Jasmine out and close up the coop.   This worked. Or, she was just ready to stop. She was broody till August 18th, 48 days.  She is now eating better and not broody BUT, she is molting.  Jack had destroyed many of her feathers so this should be a good thing, but, she isn’t laying yet.  She needs to produce feathers not eggs at this point.

Broody and molting, two more things, I didn’t know about.  CHICKENS!!!

August 4th was the First anniversary of our first egg. Care of Jasmine.  The total number of eggs produced from our 5 hens for the year is……………..1675.  That is a lot of eggs.

I posted a mystery flower picture,  https://mygardenmychickens.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/end-of-june-garden-up-date/, in this post and no one made any guesses.  With that success I will do it again.  Anybody know what this flower is?

8/7/13

8/7/13

I made a very short video of Ini when she was in the big house after the fox attack but I don’t know how to post it.  Will ask for help and try again later.

I don’t always read all of the information about things, like directions or seed descriptions.  I ordered an organic cucumber seed this year called Silver slicer or something like that.  Well, after cucumbers started to form I wondered if they were alright, they didn’t look right.  So I went back and read the seed description.  This is what they look like.

Silver cucumbers and one regular pickling cucumber.

Silver cucumbers and one regular pickling cucumber.

They taste fine.  I made my cold cucumber soup with them.  These leeks, the first of the year, were also used in the soup recipe.

Leeks 8/21/13

Leeks 8/21/13

I got a late start with my squash seedlings this year and didn’t know if I would get any.  The summer squash didn’t do very well, two Patti pan squashes and no others. But my pumpkin and Butternut squash look real promising.

Butternut  8/21/13

Butternut 8/21/13

Pumpkin 8/21/13

Pumpkin 8/21/13

That’s enough for now.

Ed

I let the chickens out yesterday at noon, went in and had my lunch, then checked on the chickens and went back in.  Then they started squawking.  My wife and I ran out, a fox had one of the girls, Miny, pinned to the ground.  We must have scared the fox enough because Miny broke free.  I then was down from the deck, saw 2 chickens running behind the run with the fox right behind.  I started screaming and running after them.  The fox didn’t seem to care that this mad-man was closing in on him.  He finally turned and saw me but just trotted off keeping ahead of me. He’s gone into the woods, I’m trying to catch my breath and waiting for my heart to stop pounding.

I can’t take this DRAMA.  So, the chickens are in lock-down.  I’ve been very lucky, 3 recent attacks and everyone is still here.  BUT, I need to be much more protective.  I am about to go from being known as “that guy down the street that has chickens” to ” that crazy guy down the street that stands watch over his chickens with a pitchfork in his hands”.  I’ve been called worse.

Miny is fine, lost some feathers.  I think I lost a couple of years off my life.

Ed

P.S.  Why didn’t Jack attack the fox??  I thought that was his job.  He does sound the alarm but rescuing the fair damsel, not so much.

When I decided to get chickens, I did a lot of reading,  I needed to learn a lot.  One of the things I saw mentioned many times was that if you have chickens, you need to be prepared to lose some to predators mainly.  I made a very secure coop and run for my chickens, my biggest fear was from hawks when they free-range.  I wasn’t too concerned about the four legged predators because I didn’t let them out until mid to late morning and they are not allowed out unless myself or my wife were home.  We didn’t stand watch over them but would check on them periodically .

Yesterday, Saturday, I was out working in the yard, the chickens were out a scratching and a pecking, my wife, Lil, was on the back deck watching us. About 11:00 am I went in for a drink, Lil, screamed and was running off the deck. I ran out and Lil said a fox had grabbed Ini.  There were a small pile of feathers by the screen house and I followed a trail of feathers into the woods and out back to the field, where I lost them.  Fox and Ini were gone.

Lil had secured the chickens in the run and had picked up the feathers. She told me later this was for the service.

Ini's feathers  8/3/13

Ini’s feathers 8/3/13

My chickens were a lot noisier before this attack, why didn’t I put them in the run??  They sensed something was wrong.  I’ve lost my first chicken at 16 months.  My wife and I were heart-broken.

Well, it is still Saturday and I have errands to do.  Drove downtown, didn’t even turn on the radio, just kept playing the morning over and over in my head.  Told a couple of people what had happened, Laura, who also has chickens was very sad for me.  As soon as I got home I went to the run to see how everyone was and one of the chickens is out, running around the run.  The door is closed, there are chickens inside, how did you get out?????  I’m ashamed to admit, but I have a hard time telling the ladies apart, I didn’t know who was out or why.  I lured her into the run with sunflower seeds and then counted heads.  SIX!!!!  1 rooster and 5 hens, INI IS BACK!!!  the fox didn’t get her, Lil’s scream must has scared the fox.

I yelled for Lil and we checked out Ini. She had a 3 to 4 inch long slice on her left side, it looked like just the skin had been cut open but she needed to be stitched together.  Lil sews beautiful quilts but din’t feel qualified to sew a chicken back together.  Me, out of the question,  so we took her to a vet. A holistic vet in the next town.  Dr Margo Ramon of MASH (Main St. Animal Services of Hopkinton)  her phone number is 508-435-4077. I don’t know which came first the phone number or the name.

Ini is home, stitched up and living in the big house for a few days till she heals.

Ini in the big house after the fox attack 8/3/13

Ini in the big house after the fox attack 8/3/13

Earlier in the day, Lil had asked me what my plans for the day were.  This was not what I planned.

Ed

 

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