Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Sunday 19 June 2011

Blasted foxes. Have just lost 3 more hens.

Blasted foxes.
Have just lost 3 hens to one. RIP Queenie the Blue Orpington, Vanilla the Cream Legbar and Pearl the White Leghorn.
They were killed right by the hen house, at about 3 pm this afternoon, with us around and about the garden! All other hens v.traumatised and 2 looking like they are in deep shock - may lose them overnight I suspect, they do not look at all good. Am so cross, and upset.
 I am very upset. I loved them all, Queenie was a bit useless in the egg laying department but was so pretty.
 Vanilla I got as an egg and Ruby Dorking hatched her out ( and then was killed by a fox - !)

 and Pearl was just lovely. 

am seriously thinking of giving up keeping hens - if they are going to be killed like this it just feels so sad..
Vanilla's mama Ruby Dorking was hatched out by Sweetiepie the Marans, who didn;t get killed by the foxes, today...despite being 5 and senile( even by hen standards! )
So am watching second generation of my loving care being killed, here...so sad.
I am SO fed up -


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry. Our chicks are still young but I can't imagine losing them. We know that we have too many predators here to let them free range so we will have a fenced run for them. I do wish I could have them roaming about but with dogs, foxes, coyotes and all the aerial predators we've got it just wouldn't be fair to them.
    Hugs to you.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that. Foxes are beautiful animals but they can be a real pain. I have never been foxed and can't imagine your grief.

    Keep well.


  3. You seem to have three choices, keep feeding the local fox population with fresh chicken, stop keeping chickens altogether, or keep chickens in a secure pen which foxes can't dig or jump into or get in in any other way.

    Chickens are great to have around, but I wouldn't keep at it if they kept getting eaten by foxes.

  4. NO, I have 4 options. The fourth one is to carry on with them shut in their fox proof run during the night time and morning, and let them out to free range in theafternoon, accepting that I will lose hens sometime BUT the hens will have a great life in the meantime.

    It simply would not be possible to build a totally fox proof run for 12 or more hens, which would satisfy my concerns for their welfare by letting them have a free range life. The walk in run they have at the moment is not really acceptable for them to live in permenantly, and it is huge.

    If this means I lose some, sometimes - I don't like it and I WILL complain about it but I accept that this may well happen.

  5. I have just read on another blog to leave the corpses out for when the fox returns but sprinkle them with mustard powder, apparently he'll soon decided he doesnt like your chickens. I don't know how long for and I haven't had a problem with foxes so far but it may be worth a try! all the best, Debbie

  6. Sorry to hear that. Just found out the bad news from Annie in Australia. She found out from my blog that there are 6 new baby ducks on the pond in Stadtpark in Vienna. What a small world we live in. (I used to live next door to Annie)

  7. Wow, Badger :-)) Very small world, whit hthe magic of the internet...

    Debbie, thanks for the suggestion but unfortunately the fox(es) took the birds with them!

    Picking redcurrants in the sunshine at the moment with feathery lady helpers...(!)

  8. Isn't it a bit odd for the foxes to be hunting in the middle of the afternoon in broad daylight?

    I have lost a couple of hens too, but I have a smaller flock AND they are fenced in (for all the reaons fullfreezer mentioned). We have lots of coyotes here...

    Feel me patting your shoulder in sympathy :)

    This life we are blessed to live has its moments, like my husband always says, we are not the only part of the food chain....and all of God's critters gotta eat.

  9. Oh no! They were beauties, all of them. I can send you my German Shepherd/Rottweiller mix, he loves chasing foxes.

  10. Sorry to hear that, CW.

  11. I'm so sorry to hear about the chicks. Do you think you will put a fence up?

  12. We do feel for you. Last spring we lost 5 birds to a fox until one early morning when our neighbour spotted it and dispatched with his shotgun.

  13. So sad :( I only have two girls and I keep them in a run all day, only letting them out as much as I can but only when the dog and I am in the garden with them. Its an on going chicken keeping dilema, let them free range happily and risk them being munched or keep them penned and have them around longer.. personally, I think I'm responsible for mine and I do my best to enrich their time in the run so they don't miss out.

    Lovely blog btw, I found you through Martin and Amy's blog :)

    H x

  14. Hello, I came across your blog recently I am new around here but have lots of similar thoughts on home grown produce and I just wanted to say how sad it is when you lose hens. They are the funniest of creatures and give hours of entertainment with or without being good layers - that seems to be secondary to me (has to be really my lot are useless in that department!) but the fox is horrid. When I had a visit from the fox he took my gorgeous boy Jarvis then 4 more my choice was shut them indoors or get rid of the fox. The fox went! As lovely as they are if you live in a town but they are no friend of the smallholder (well the ones who like their own eggs anyway). So I know how you feel and I am sorry.

  15. The next week I lost Cumin the Gingernut and Goldie the Rhode Rock - both lovely hens, both taken while I tuned my back for ( literally) 5 mins.

    Hens now in lockdown. No more losses since but it is not how I want to keep hens.


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.