It was a few years after we arrived in Charfield, perhaps 2004, when we started keeping chickens. Today, for now at least, we’ve stopped. Last night unbeknown to us, Mr Fox paid a visit and murdered our remaining three chooks. He dug in under the chickenwire, crossed the run and got into the coop (through, it has to be said, the poop door that hasn’t been closed at least in five years). It was a tad messy.
Today, I’ve been breaking down the coop, which was in any case at the end of its serviceable life. Post- Janet’s kidney transplant, along with a ban on unpasteurised dairy and grapefruits, she is not allowed to eat the eggs, and so it’s unlikely we will keep chickens again. I shall mourn the bright yellow scrambled egg on toast, as well as the bustling inquisitiveness and burbling conversation of our girls.
What I won’t do is place any blame on the fox, who was doing exactly what is natural to him (or her). I won’t be changing my stance either on the ridiculous “sport” of fox hunting that our current and probable next government seem hell bent on bringing back for the gentry and the forelock tuggers. It is, to human eyes and sensibilities, barbaric and brutal, what a fox does to a coop of sleeping chickens. But not that barbaric.
The natural world doesn’t operate on human laws. Next door’s cat doesn’t understand about the Wildlife and Countryside Act, nor about protected species, any more than the fox. It just sees birds and slow worms and frogs, and does with them precisely what it wishes. Actually, that’s exactly what humans do, so perhaps the natural world and the human world aren’t so far apart after all.
Fox among Chickens
Nature red in tooth and claw
No more chookie fun
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