Oh for fox sake!

Discovered an enormous egg in the horse field this morning.  (Much better than the day I discovered a headless chicken but that’s another story and best told after a few drinks.) One of our horses was pushing the immense oval with his nose but I am fairly certain he didn’t lay it. I’ll admit when it cracked I looked just to make sure it wasn’t a foal hatching, but it was just a giant yolk, no joke.

This picture does not accurately represent the moment, the egg was not chocolate (I’m off sugar so this is what I imagined), and I don’t own a horse that has hands instead of hooves, at least not that I am aware of. We’d have a heck of a time keeping gates closed if that were the case… and I would imagine they would be flipping the bird and tossing horse balls at me, often.


But back to my story, so the gargantuan egg, (it gets bigger every time I think about it), belonged to a duck. Granted I am no expert but there are ducks living next door and I put two and two together. I’m smart like that. This of course begs the question: how did the duck egg end up in the horse field? I really had no idea but am now wondering if one of my horses does have hands …

The egg discovery made me think back to when we had chickens on the farm.   I liked them, a lot. They were free range chickens of various colours and breeds all pecking and scratching around the gardens, eating out of the bird feeders and pooping and laying eggs freely throughout the barn and surrounding property.  For a couple of years, everything ran like cluck work. Feed chickens, poop and … eggs.

Our chickens all had names. We tucked them into their coop at night, lovingly counting each one. Frantic searches would ensue if one of our feathered friends was missing but it was usually found in a horse stall or behind the hay (most often not flat).  It wasn’t until Kevin was taken by a hawk and his partner Steve went missing that we realized we were sitting ducks. (see how I brought that around there?)  I guess I was a bit naive when it came to the small livestock. It hadn’t really occurred to me how many other species living nearby also “loved” chicken.

Our evening chicken count was lower each night, our feathered friends were disappearing daily and it wasn’t long before we met our new neighbours … why it was a fox family and they had a hankering for some Kentucky fried. I read somewhere that having a rooster would help to protect the hens but we had little confidence in our feathered fellow to protect the brood. Junior (as we called him) had misread the original job description. At the first sign of danger he would sound the alarm and then run for the hills.

“SAVE YOURSELVES!!”  he would bellow, and then cannon through the back yard, feathers flying and run to the safety of the pond shrubs, not giving the hens a second thought, and not emerging again til dark. We even got a call from a neighbour once to let us know that Junior had packed his little rooster bags and was heading down the road. Our rooster was in fact a ‘chicken’ and maybe not overly wise. It didn’t matter how many times I told him to lay low and stop standing on the top of the manure pile “cock-a-doodle-doing”, he did it anyway.

We trained our basset hound, Ellie Mae, to hunt fox. She was a hound and well, they do that kind of thing, right? However, “hunt” is not the right word. Whenever we yelled “fox” she would break into full cry and run, in most often the other direction, flipping on her ears and occasionally stopping to eat horse poo. This suited me fine, the foxes were just doing what foxes do and Ellie Mae was better suited hunting for the couch. The chickens needed to be cooped, the free-range days were over.

Despite the despair, chaos and ultimate bloodshed, I find myself thinking about getting more chickens. Maybe I could have one of those mobile rolling coops that could be wheeled around the property. I could attach it to my golf cart and in the case of an emergency, just drive ~ I probably wouldn’t even have to put my drink down. On other days, I think about getting one of these…

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