The sun was coming up...it was 6:50 a.m.
Ian had gotten out of bed to take Tip out to do her morning business. I layed there...and as I layed there...I heard the chickens, the roosters. Setting off their alarms.
Still groggy I knew Ian was out there and whatever might be happening he could take care of it...was probably nothing I was thinking to myself.
Then I heard him come in the door...I heard the shotgun being loaded and I shot out of bed like a streak of lightning. Running through the house with my nightgown still on I caught Ian headed back out the back door. Asking him what was going on he excitedly said,
"Its here, the fox, its here!"
"Tip has it cornered under the steps over on Derbys side."
"You have some dead chickens too."
I am standing there wondering what I can do...and realize someone needs to call Tip back away from the cornered fox right before Ian gets a shot off.
So I take off around the back and I hear Ian telling Tip,
"Don't you back down. Don't you back down Tip, you keep that fox cornered. Don't you back down."
I come around to see a snarling teeth bared snapping ratty looking thing resembling a fox under the step. Tip is barking...keeping it cornered. It has nowhere to go. Ian is having a hard time aiming as he has to shoot between the steps. I told him just tell me when to call Tip back.
He says call her back and I gave a firm COME and she came right to me. I held her by the collar just to be sure she didnt go back, but she was in the zone and was in working mode. She was focused. The fox had begun to try to dig under the lattice that was behind the steps that led to under the pool deck and the screen back porch. As it dug it would pause to look back. Dig and look, dig and look. Ian was able to get a clean shotoff as it looked up and back and dropped it with one shot. Hit it in the neck.
What a DOG, What a MAN! My two heroes!
Did you know that fox have some sort of musk gland? Let me tell you, it smells awful, skunklike. It gave off a terrible stench when cornered.
After it was all over Ian told me what all went on before I got out there.
Tip knew it was there...soon as he opened the back door. She was whining, anxious, wanted out the other door to the back. Ian let her go and she shot right under the deck and out came the fox with her chasing behind.
Ian said that at first Tip didnt realize she was supposed to be serious and was just loping after it. It appeared to be a slow runner too. Not fast like you would think a fox is. Ian yelled to Tip, KILL IT KILL IT TIP! She dug in and got serious and bared down on it. That is when she cornered it under the steps.
I was first over to the dead fox with a bucket. I picked it up by the scraggly tail and put it in the bucket. I put it in the garage away from everything as it smelled horrible. On closer inspection it was the female. It had mange all the way down its tail, on its flanks on the backs of its front legs. It had fleas and ticks. We don't believe it was rabid, as it never turned on Tip til it was cornered. Tip is covered of course, we keep her up on her shots, but I still would have wanted to avoid her fighting it as she might have gotten wounded in the process. Not to mention the mange...gross. If it was the carcoptic (sp) mange the fox had and she had caught it, it would have been bad. That type is not treatable. It can be maintained to some extent, but never cured.
Later the fox was disposed of, along with my poor chickens that were killed.
Yes, that is the part I haven't gotten to yet. All my pens are not just stapled, but wired shut, except for this one. I don't know why I never got around to doing it, but it cost me and the chickens in it dearly.
Since locking everyone up, everyone that was in pens went back into their original pens. Elvis is gone,remember he died last week, but he had been in this particular pen. There was Frisky, the Golden Phoenix Rooster. Two silkie girls and one silkie boy. Then there was Priscilla, she was in there too. The two silkies were sitting on eggs. I was hoping to have a couple of silkie babies since the fox got the only two I had hatched earlier in the Spring.
Total devastation. The corner of the pen wire was ripped open. Priscilla lay in the pen, dead, her throat ripped out. One of the silkie girls had been bitten on her back and lie there dead. Frisky was not to be found, but there were plenty of feathers to know what happened to him. We found him dead and eaten on severely on the side of the garage behind the pigs house. There was still one body missing...one silkie girl. We never found her. This was evidence that there were two involved in the massacre. One had gotten away and carried off a silkie. All the eggs the two were sitting on were gone, all eaten.
There was a bit of good news. The one silkie male managed to escape the foxes clutches. He was obviously traumatized, but I was able to pick him up and put him in the main pen with the others. The third silkie hen had been staying in a nest in the main pen, so she was already safe. Maybe with the remaining two I can get some silkie babies...we will see.
So, Elvis and Priscilla, my two main birds that were supposed to be ready to show in February are gone. That is a real downer for me.
I planned on shutting down the incubator after this last Serama hatches, but I think I will clean it out good and hatch some more silver laced polish. As it stands now I have only three offspring from Coco and Kuckoo...and I really need to have a line up for showing.
So that was just Friday mornings activities. I still have the weekend with my family here to talk about, and where I am going today to talk about. I will make that a seperate two entries though.
I am having some trouble uploading pictures to photobucket, but I do have pictures of the fox, dead of course. I will add the links on a seperate entry and not the actual pictures, when I can get them to load. That way if anyone wants to see them, they can, and they won't see them by accident on an actual journal entry page.