We’ve had chickens for many years now. We like the way they forage in the garden; we like to watch them interact with each other (they are stupid animals); but most of all we like their eggs. We have only hens; some we buy Point of Lay, but we’ve also hatched 3 sets of chicks in our incubator.

In the last couple of years we have had terrible trouble with a local fox. I think it has annihilated 4 flocks of birds, and hence we have been chicken less for 9 months or so. The fox comes typically at night and slaughters everything it can see, not even bothering to eat them all. Foxes are cunning, and we are constantly surprised at what they can do. As a vegetarian of 25 years, I have always been against fox hunting, a surprisingly big issue in British politics. This viewpoint has been sorely tested over the past couple of years. The one member of our family who truly hates foxes is our dog, Bluebell. Whenever she sees one, she sprints like Usain Bolt barking manically. She hasn’t yet caught one, but it won’t be pretty when she does. If she’s in the house, she wails like a banshee.

Today, we set about the task of creating a Fort Knox of a chicken pen. Tilly tore down the weeds that had accumulated in the chicken area. Lorna repaired one of our chicken houses and put together the new chicken pen. I banged in posts and wire netting and creosoted the henhouses. We have a dug in outer pen with no overhang. We have a dug in inner pen, complete with roof. It is impregnable…..just like all the others we have constructed. Honestly – short of installing Nancy in a look out tower with an air gun – I don’t know what more we could do. It took the three of us most of the day to complete.

We will buy some new hens next week. I’m looking forward to fresh eggs.

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