Sad news – our rooster died on Friday, killed by a fox. The plus side is that he likely saved some hens, because judging by the feathers everywhere he put up a pretty good fight.
The fox went on to kill one barred rock (the black and white one behind him in the photo above), and another barred rock is missing. Since it’s been a few days, at this point we figure the fox must have taken her into the forest. Mysteriously there was no sign of her being killed – no feathers anywhere.
The only reason the fox didn’t take down more chickens is because I pulled into the driveway, saw him, and chased him off. This was easier said than done, because, true to his reputation, the fox slyly kept coming back, circling around in the forest and popping out to stalk the hens again. I chased him probably four times before nailing him in the hindquarter with a (small) rock, which finally made him go away.
Interestingly, he didn’t take either the rooster or the barred rock he killed away. They were still sitting on the property. This bothers me greatly – at least if I could think that they were part of the circle of life it would seem like the fox had a purpose for killing them.
And the fox? He (or she) did not look good. When I saw him I thought it looked like he had been in a fight, leaving him with a tail that was almost completely stripped, and tufts of fur sticking out on its face. After some research, I think it must have had mange, which will eventually kill it (but isn’t harmful to humans). I kept the kids far away, of course, in case it was ill. Given that we spotted it around 3 p.m. in full sunlight, I was concerned it might be rabid.
So ends our rooster experiment with this batch of chickens! Mr. Rooster died doing his duty and protecting his flock. I guess that is all any rooster can hope for. RIP, buddy.