Sometimes there is a fundamental flaw in keeping poultry.... sometimes a flock can be devastated by some kind of predator.. whether you live in town or country you are never safe from animals like foxes who live cheek by jowl with our domesticated feathered friends..... every hen run could be a target.... they can get under or over and they're wylie and clever.... and they always kill every hen in sight, eating practically nothing, just causing havoc...... Other vermin can also take their toll too, as crows, rats and grey squirrels take advantage of available food and easy pickings!
Our hen run is the same as any other, we have to watch the levels and generally have some kind of pest control in place........ Earlier in the year there had been an incredible commotion one evening, in the gigantic beech tree that overhangs our run, growing for probably several hundred years in the garden next door. When we went to investigate, we found our hens were remonstrating with a crow that had been steeling corn from the hopper inside the hen house. It was trying to get away....to escape an attack... and was screaming... the rest of the noise was coming from the 50+ spectator crows who had gathered and were watching from the branches above.... our hens had ganged together and had it cornered.... It had lessened the problem at the time and has scared off the cheeky birds, who are too inelegant for their own good sometimes.... anyway they seem to have got the message!
.........However we were not expecting what we found this morning...... on the floor by the corn hopper was the lifeless body of tattered, blooded, very stiff grey squirrel......... And the hens were looking very proud of themselves... something had snapped and they had had quite enough of this pesky rodent, helping itself to food clearly meant for others... they had taken direct action and they had sorted out the problem for good!
Woe betide anything else that tries it on in their run.................
.................. Killer Hens on Watch at Grange Cottage and Fabric of the Field!!