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!

Thursday 5 April 2012

Fox attack, again.

Have just come inside after burying 8 hens in the wood. One other hen is MIA, presumed eaten by the foxes who killed the other hens. Remaining 3 live hens (Yarrow, Marjoram and Nutmeg) are rather traumatised and unhappy.

We have never  lost so many to the fox in one go before, we had 5 taken in one go a few years back  but this was worse as only one hen was taken and the rest were hidden in the wood ditch for us to find - really  horrible to see :-(
2 of the "new" ex batts survived - Yarrow ( aka Limpy Hen) and Marjoram, also Nutmeg hen, because she is an escapologist hen and was in the garden rather than with the others. And I now only have ginger hens, - all my other coloured pure breeds and hybrid girls died.

I am SO sad, I am still crying now. Burying them was horrible. Especially Comfrey, Cumin and Marigold the ex batts. I felt I had let them all down, somehow. :-(((((
by not protecting them enough from foxes.

RIP Lavender, Treacle, Cocoa, Cumin, Comfrey aka Flappy hen, Marigold, Pearl and Opal hens. I shall miss your feathery antics enormously.

(update Sweetie re appeared the next day!) 


  1. Poor hens, and poor you!!

    Not a nice thing at all, we know horrible Mr Fox all too well.

    As for your ex-batts, feel happy that at least you gave them a taste of freedom and the fresh breeze on their backs for a time, when normally they would have been pet food by now, not much consolation I know but some.

    RIP all your lovely girls.

    Sue xx

  2. We have hens, They are in their fenced run (sides and top is fenced ) and only out when I am home...we have foxes in the woods adjoining my pastures that have even come up as far as the barnyard to see what is going on..I think you need to make a largish fenced run, maybe with a 6 ft fence since the foxes now know what you have and where you are...

  3. Hello Sue and Lynda

    Lynda they have a fenced roofed run and were "got" free ranging when we were around, between 11 and 2 pm....so unless I never let them out I do not know what else to do..

    Am so sad about the loss of my lovely girls.

  4. What a sad event, I'm so sorry you'be had to go through this again, and on such a scale :-(

  5. Thank you Jennie - how are you doing? Are you ok?

  6. Sometimes Lynda, however hard we try to fence in our girls and make them safe nasty Mr Fox will get in, in fact sometimes it's the fences that make him stay close and kill for the sake of killing ALL the chickens, when free ranging at least they have a chance of escape if they all scatter in different directions.

    I have had girls taken from behind electric fencing, while free ranging, even from right in front of the house when I have been close by.

    We can only do our best, and we hen lovers usually do. You are not at fault in letting your girls free range Compostwoman.

    Sue xx

  7. Good grief, what a shock and you must be feeling so sad :( I would feel the same in your position so do give yourself time to adjust. But don't blame yourself. Don't feel bad about your ex-batts either, remember what you DID give them. It's just nature at its cruelest unfortunately but remember they did all have daily enjoyment and contentment. Nobody knows what the next day will bring and I'm sure whilst they were here you gave them a brilliant life. Quality, not quantity. Hope that some time will bring you some peace again xx

  8. I am so sorry. My aunt has a similar problem in Italy, but it is dogs, not foxes, still, really upsetting, and she is also scared of the dogs too...

  9. I have so much sympathy for you right now. I have hens too and have lost to the fox before now. Sue is right - you can only do your best for your girls so don't blame yourself totally. It is the fox that is to blame and not you. Wretched creatures! And the hens have had a taste of the good life with you.

  10. It is just bearable to lose one when you know it's going back to feed the cubs but a killing frenzy is so senseless.

    Similar to when a dog gets the taste for slaughtering and kills lambs, the only option for a farmer is to put it down. Is there any way for you to get the fox population culled?

  11. Hello Lucy, Alessandra, Jo and Tpals

    The surviving trio of hens are now only let out of the huge walk in run ( seriously - it is big!) when we are right there next to them - as fox has been around every day!

    Have decided to get 3 more ex batts from next round of re homing and , until we have the new padock area sorted out - that will be all as I can manage them inside the Mega Hen Pen and just let them free range near me if I am outside near them.

  12. Tpals - I lost Nightshade hen to the fox last week and yes it was sad but one is understandable and she was taken away - but to kill 9 and only take 1 is so horrible...

  13. Checking in to see how you are doing. Did you find anybody who deals with problem fox populations like this?

  14. Tpals - there is no one available to sort out a fox - we have a friend who is willing and legally armed - but cannot come and stake out the area 24/7 - and nor can we so will just have to be very vigilant. Thank you for the concern though :-)


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.