The Girls and I had a close encounter with a fox this morning. I don’t know about them, but I’m still shaking.
It was about a quarter to seven and just getting light. I got up to go to the bathroom. The Girls were out of the coop but still in the secure run where they get locked in for the night. It’s below the bedroom window, about 4 metres from the house.
I heard the Noisy Miners (a local native honeyeater) in the background, making their fox-in-the-area warning noise, but didn’t bother much because it’s a regular morning ritual. The fox comes back from its night-time job at the end of the street and usually crosses diagonally through my neighbour’s block before heading out the end and into the 10 acres of wilderness at the back where it lives. The Miners chase it all the way. It never comes near the house.
Never say never. Suddenly there was a cacophony of cackling and flapping from the Girls. I raced to the bedroom window to see the fox hurling itself at the wire door to the run.
I yelled blue murder and every other colour of the rainbow murder and grabbed for my clothes. The fox bolted.
When I got downstairs there were feathers everywhere in the run and the Girls were still yelling. They had obviously lost the feathers banging up against the wire and each other. It took me 10 minutes to quieten them down. Molly kept up the longest—fear, anger, indignation—she wanted the world to know all about it.
Then Lady plopped down on the ground and sat as still as a stone, not moving (she has a delicate constitution; she was ill the day before she laid her first egg). I wondered if chooks can drop dead from shock.
I went inside to make their usual morning mash with quick oats and yoghurt and when I came out she was up on her feet, but wouldn’t eat anything. She’s OK now.
When I say the fox never comes near the house, I mean in daylight. I’m not so naive as to think that it doesn’t prowl around there at night, but there’s never been any sign of anything trying to dig into the run or any fox scats or any noise. It wouldn’t be able to see the chooks up on their roosts in the coop. There might be some interesting smells but it couldn’t see the source. In any case, I regularly water the liquid from the composting toilet around the runs, hoping the smell will mask any chook smells, or it will think there’s a dog around.
Now I’m worried that, having seen the chooks, it will keep coming back. I’m sure I won’t sleep well tonight.