It was inevitable. We’ve had our first losses to a fox or foxes.
This morning, early, I heard the guinea fowl making a racket outside, including the one elusive one (which we are still unable to catch in order to pen her with the rest) squawking and scolding near the house. They’re irritatingly noisy birds at the best of times, and they take fright and scold at anything and everything. Pot plants are particularly scary.
So I thought, the kangaroos are going through the woods, or the parrots have gone to investigate or something. Or the lone loose guinea fowl finally got hungry and came to get some food from around the chicken run where the chickens scatter it by scratching for the tastiest bits.
After all, although the guineas have been remarkably quiet since their move to the A-frame pen in the woods, they’re usually noisy. Maybe they’d finally settled in a bit and were feeling confident enough to scold whatever was near them. I mean, every other time they’re fussed like that it’s been because holy shit there’s a new plant in the ground, or a parrot was nearby aiming for some of their food, or (once) a blue tongue was sitting in the sun next to the chicken run.
When I went to feed them and top up their water, though, I found that this time there actually was something scary. I’m guessing fox from the mess, but it could have been a cat or a dog I guess. We have four guinea fowl left (including the loose, wary one), out of the fourteen we had yesterday. I found four corpses, all inside the guinea pen. Six are just gone.
I’ve spent the morning carefully checking the pen for gaps, and fixing them. I found four spots where the fox managed to dig its way into the run – either there was a gap between the cable ties holding the wire together, or there was a flaw in the wire itself and it unraveled enough to push loose. So those are fixed, and the wire overlaps are reinforced, and I’ve pushed heavy logs against the base of the pen all the way round. No way to know if it’s fox-proof now, but it’s at least a little more fox-resistant.
At least the chickens don’t cry wolf – when they make a fuss, it’s because there’s something to fuss about. After lunch I’m going to check the chicken runs to make sure those are as fox proof as I can make them, just in case.