Well, we could go back to last year when a fox took 2 of my ducks right out of the yard at dusk. Probably about a week apart. We caught his picture with the trail cam. My husband stayed up late one night, and woke up in the middle of the next night. He crept out with a rifle, but no fox was to be seen. That had been just about forgotten though when he made his appearance again last week.
Last week a fox went into the coop at about 9pm and snagged one of my beautiful French Black Copper Marans hens. The light was on and he waltzed right in! Talk about bold! I wasn't home but I got back shortly and when I did evening count, I was down one. Jessica was missing! I grabbed my flashlight and looked all around outside for her (thinking she had just forgotten to come in...or was roosting somewhere weird) and then I saw the feathers. Lots of black fluffy feathers in clusters all over the yard. I ran in the house for the thermal camera. If she was hurt somewhere I would be able to find her more quickly by using the camera. I screamed for my husband to come out and ran back out powering up the camera on the way. He came out to help me look and just a few minutes later, he spotted her. I ran into the woods to pick her up, but it was too late. She was gone. She had a few bite marks, but amazingly little blood on her. I took her into the garage to bury her the next day and the search began.
Whatever had gotten her had dropped her, presumably when I came out. I was sure it would still be looking for it's meal. So we waited. We crept outside quietly every hour or so and scanned the woods with the camera. Finally we saw it. Roughly the size of a mid sized dog, long tail and pointed ears. It was a fox. Hubby tried to figure out how to shoot while holding the camera and a spotlight...but that wasn't working. It was kinda comical though. Sorta like a juggling act. Thinking back, I wish I would have snapped a picture of the fox. After all, I was looking at it's heat imprint through a camera, duh! I just didn't think of it. I was too concerned with figuring out how to shoot it. We all know that if a predator gets a free meal once, it will be back! We finally gave up and went in for the night.
I was pretty upset about it and mentioned it to a few friends the next day. You know how that goes...somebody knows somebody who can help? That's how we got a trapper. He came out and set his traps and they've been out there in the woods for a few days. I'm just waiting, with this weird feeling inside. I mean, it is the circle of life...right? No matter how big and bad of a predator something is...there's always something bigger and badder hunting it! The hunter becomes the hunted and all that jazz. It just feels weird....I mean, what if he catches the wrong fox? How would we know? LOL That is one goofy statement right there! The WRONG fox???? Any fox would eat my chickens I'm sure, so how could it possibly be the wrong one? ...and where does it stop? Do we quit after we catch 1? Then what if it is the 'wrong' one? The original one will eventually come back since he almost got a meal here. *sigh*
So far we caught a cat and a baby opossum. Gosh they're cute when they're little. Those tiny little ears...awwww! We caught him in one of my raccoon traps and let the little bugger go. The cat was caught in the fox trap....and true to the trappers word, the cat was just fine when we sprung him loose. (FYI....I have no idea who's cat that is, but that is at least the 4th time we've caught him over the years. lol) If we get the fox, he will meet a swift end that's for sure! It won't bring Jessica back, but it will make her sister Cleo just a little bit safer.
So now we wait....pit in my stomach and all. We just wait.
Jessica was buried beside her mother and father under the big maple tree by the duck pond. I miss her little face peering up at me every morning begging for treats. Her sister went into super-laying mode over the next few days and is trying to be broody now. I think she wants to make herself more friends. I have a surprise for her though. She doesn't know it but there are 6 FBCM babies in the garage almost ready to come live with her in the big coop! Funny, I ordered eggs extra early this year and kept kicking myself for it saying "I should have waited" Now I'm so glad I didn't wait! Cleo will be so very happy to have new friends!
I'll let you know how it all turns out!