Posted by: hencorner | January 7, 2011

Plumber, Farmer, Butcher, Chef…

It all started on Bank Holiday Monday…

It was a good job that we had no fixed plans for the day – I got up and made a nice breakfast for my parents who had been staying for a couple of days and then progressed to some laundry.

‘Oh the washing machine was making some bleeping noises last night’ said the OH. NB when I say ‘bleeping’ it was an error alert – not an expletive!

‘I’ll check it out’ I say as I start to unscrew the front….

OH tries to find solutions on his iPhone, texting me the suggested fault-finding procedures…. He soon backs off when I produce the nail (must have been left in a pocket!) that had been jamming the pump….

So Washing Machine is now fixed! I pop in the shower and, as I am washing my hair, see a FOX running past the window with one of our chickens in his MOUTH!

I scream for the kids to help, put on my dressing gown, and run out to the garden to chase him off… said chicken has been dropped at the fence and I manage to pull her back into our garden.

Farmer…

Sadly, poor Linen had been left, dead, on the ground. We rounded up the others (don’t forget we have the three holiday guests who were all OK) and locked them up in the Eglu Cube. Linen was put aside so that if the fox came back he couldn’t grab her and we focussed on Coucou to check out her injuries. Her leg had been hurt, but not broken, and she had bite wounds on her back… We sprayed the wounds with gentian violet spray and started a course of Baytril (well worth keeping in the cupboard if you can get some!).

Butcher…

So back to Linen, she was dead, though young and healthy… we have the chickens to keep us close to our food. Would it be a waste to just bury her? Would there be more respect and value to her life if we ate her? I’m really sorry if you are offended by the next bit….

Chef…

We decided to eat her. She’d had the best life. We knew that free-range was a risk, but we chose to take that risk to give them a better quality of life. Linen dying was our first daytime loss and by eating her, we gained and made sure that the fox took nothing from us…. As meat eaters, it helps to associate the meat with the animal, not just the supermarket. We respected her and paid tribute with Hen Corner cider and freshly pulled carrots. It was very nice albeit thought-provoking.

Chicken & Pasta?

Don’t panic, this isn’t another recipe… I just wanted to give you an update on Coucou!

Since Monday, she’s been kept indoors and she seems to be getting better by the day. At night, and when we’re out, she is safely tucked up in the pet carrier. This has been good for resting her bad leg and allowing her wounds to heal. However, when we are around at home, we let her out for some gentle exercise. She’s started to use her bad leg a bit more and enjoys a bit of hobbling about… we are giving her hard-boiled eggs as a high protein food and she very much enjoyed a portion of spaghetti in tomato sauce with us at tea time. Though she did make more mess than the kids!

It would be great to see her make a full recovery (she’s still laying eggs most days) and it would be good to put this experience behind us…

It has been a bit traumatic – but that’s life, I suppose…

Maybe I can do that planning, planting & sowing this weekend?

Have a good one!

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Responses

  1. It’s good that coucou is starting to recover, but what a horrible experience. Poor linen, than is very sad. It must have been absolutely heart-stopping when you saw the fox with linen in her mouth. I’ve seen one just panicking the girls when they’re safe in the run and that was quite nasty enough. It’s so hard to let them free range, isn’t it? But I do agree with you that it’s a much better life for them and you just have to minimise the risk as much as you can. If chickens had a choice they’d all emigrate to new Zealand, no foxes there! Hope coucou continues to make good progress and that the others accept her back ok when she returns to the eglu.

    • Thanks for this Liz,
      I’ve just started letting the other girls out of the Eglu run, but am keeping a very close eye on them….
      Yesterday, the cat jumped onto the lawn and I screamed…. thinking it was the fox back!


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