Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

The Killing Fields

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our happy hens

our happy hens

Very sadly after our weekend on Dartmoor last week we returned to find a fox had killed three of our chickens. It was our fault as we normally have house-sitters but thought we’d chance it for a weekend having seen no sign of any foxes for the last five years. Five years ago our entire flock of sixteen were torn to shreds. Luckily of the three killed this time two were the old Light Sussex hens but annoyingly the fox had also taken our new Buff Sussex hen. They’d certainly put up a fight as the blood and feathers were strewn around the chicken orchard and the pig pen. Fortunately the remaining nine hens seemed fine and remarkably stress free. Perhaps we should be using hens for combat in Afghanistan!

We’ve had our run in with foxes over the years. We used to have a wonderful Welsummer cockerel called Prince Naseem who was huge, proud and a real fighter. When the fox first attacked Prince Naseem’s flock he took on Mr Fox and amazingly survived, but ended up with a permanent crick in his neck. From that day onwards his head was always at an angle which is presumably why he didn’t win the second round with the fox, who came back to massacre the entire flock leaving all of them injured and dying. Before Prince Naseem I had a wonderful White Jersey Giant which I had hatched out after buying her as an egg from the rare breed centre at Onibury outside Ludlow. Edwina was beautiful and very tame. She was the only hen at the time who ate from my hand. When the fox got her he slashed her in three places but I thought she might survive so I kept her alive for three days but eventually she died. I felt terribly guilty for prolonging her agony.fox-hounds-copy

I was so cross when all the chippy, ill informed, anti foxhunting crowd and townie lot were calling for foxhunting to be banned all those years ago. If I had my way I’d kill every single one (fox that is!). Fortunately the ban has been totally unenforceable with the result that just as many foxes are being hunted and destroyed anyway, with farmers resorting to shooting them as well. If anything the fox is worse off and what is so ironic is the foxes have moved into the cities where they are causing havoc with domestic cats, bins etc.. I just wish that less time was wasted in this country on making laws that are ill thought through and useless, based on an appalling lack of knowledge and facts. I don’t personally hunt but I have many friends who do and they are a friendly bunch from all walks of life with an innate understanding of country life and respect for country ways where man and nature have co-existed successfully for centuries.

I have now replaced my latest three casualties with two Marans and a Welsummer from Gobbets Rare Breed Farm near Burwarton. They are twenty weeks old so should start to lay in the next month, fingers crossed.

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Written by Sarah

January 23rd, 2010 at 4:50 pm