However, the evidence seemed pretty clear yesterday: small hole in the fence, lots of feathers, only two chickens left where there once were three.
The two who are left seem like they've had a bit of a horrible experience, poor girls.
The one of the right had gone broody anyway. See the smaller comb? She's been on the nest for several weeks now and has kind of shrunk all over. In fact we'd just decided to get her some fertile eggs to sit on; something we've never tried before. The other night we er, hatched this plan over a couple of wines, and I Googled "fertile eggs Adelaide" and hastily added "chicken" on the end. Voila: Chooknet, and the promise of gold-laced Wyandotte eggs (same as our girls but different colouring) by the weekend. Dontcha love the internet?
Anyhow the chookyard has been reinforced with rocks and wire, and we plan to roof the entire thing with more wire netting. There was actually already a small hole in the wire where the fox got in; we'll be more vigilant in future. We'd only had to worry about chooks working their own way out before.
In the meantime we're shutting the girls in their nest house each night. Still hoping to get the fertile eggs over the weekend. And maybe another full-grown chicken to help convince ms. non-broody that the yard is safe again. Wyandottes apparently make excellent mothers and I've been researching how to look after a hen and her clutch.
We're nervous for our girls, but determined that this won't stop our chook-keeping.
And I suppose I can still enjoy Fantastic Mr Fox, the movie. After all, as he keeps telling Mrs Fox, he's a wild animal. Even if he's not native to Australia, and introduced by some tally-ho nincompoop who wanted to hunt. Grr.
- Jane x