Ferocious Mr Fox has been to call. Not Fantastic. Just Ferocious. My latest clutch of chicks and their mum his first victims this year. An adventurous bantie who had picked a perch on the edge of the silage clamp, his next.
After losing all my ducklings to my neighbours dog, I feel that the world has got it in for me and my poultry.
The news came to me via my nightly phone call to John. I am with my daughter and family for a week in Spain. At home, John has been flat out bringing barley straw back home and supervising contractors who are installing a drainage system in a grass field.
The contractors were booked for last year but never made it. With this drainage scheme completed the whole farm is now drained. It should have been finished years ago but Government support for drainage schemes collapsed so we have had to wait until we felt we could afford it.
Well, according to John we can never really afford anything, but let’s say, until we could fit it into our budget.
As it turns out my timing for going away to support my daughter with grandson Ollie, who is on the autistic spectrum, has gone somewhat awry. Plus coming to Spain for a sunshine week in what appears to be a major heat wave in Britain.
Mr Fox’s visits have apparently persuaded the guinea fowl flock that perching in the barn is not a good idea. They have all taken to joining the original gang in the orchard.
Last year the guinea fowl we reared for the freezer were a very obliging crew. Meekly going into a pen at night until their demise. Well most of the time. And most of them. So therefore very easy to catch. But now there are around seventy guinea fowl up among the apple and plum trees.
“We’ll have to shoot the blighters ( not actual word but you understand) unless you can persuade them to go back into a pen again,” John said on the phone last night.
I do understand why security slips when I am away. It takes me a long time every night to make sure all the poultry are safely back in pens. New mums, like my bantie with the chicks, often choose to find a spot in amongst the bales and have to be persuaded back, with a lot of squawking and flapping on their part, to go back into a safe, from foxes and rats, coop.
John has had a lot on, and if a bantie has decided that the des res I chose for her is not the one, he has not got time to make her think otherwise. Mr Fox should rethink his tactics however. John plans to spend tonight waiting up on the silage clamp watching for his return.
“I heard the dogs barking at about eleven each night. That is when he must have come” John said. If I were Mr Fox I would change my restaurant.