Friday, 10 June 2011

The Fox

Living in the countryside has many sides to it, both good and bad. Personally I find the clean air and lack of town noise outways most of the bad. We grow a great deal of our own food, both fruit/vegetable and meat.

Max hunts with the local chasse and our freezer is supplemented with a few pheasant, rabbit, haunch of sanglier (wild boar) and chevreuil (deer), if we are lucky a hare. Only a certain number of pheasant, deer and hare are allowed to be shot each year and the hunt is issued with a "bracelet" for each animal in their quota. If you shoot an extra one, even by mistake (ie if you have one bracelet and two people each shoot a hare at the same time), there is a fine. (Yes, it is controlled.)

In return for his hunting invitations Max joins the local chasse for the occasional battu which are held throughout the year to keep down the foxes. Make no mistake about it, there are a lot of foxes, they are a nuisance and they do a great deal of harm. The battu are usually, but not always, requested by the farmers and the dates and areas concerned are posted at the Mairie.

This is the sight that greeted us when we went out to feed the chickens this morning. I make no apology for the photos although I have tried to keep them "long" shots. Believe me, close up they are not nice.

Our chickens are shut in at night. The fox dug his way into the pen and forced the door of the hut open. Several were left in the pen but we found two on the lawn outside; in addition, as we can't find them, he must have taken one adult and one baby back with him (or eaten it here I suppose).

Obviously I can't be sure, but we were told that this was probably done by a young fox. An older fox takes a bird back to the den. A young fox is learning the joy of killing and "plays" with his new skill until all the fun is lying on the ground around him.

Even the three chicks were taken.

In all we lost five chickens and three chicks. We have informed the head of the local chasse who will come and see us later today. The next battu is not for a few weeks but I for one will welcome them.

1 comment:

Polly Pierce said...

This has happened to my flock twice, wiping them out and discouraging me from ever keeping hens again! Still, as more of my friends are stocking up I'm experiencing that whistful yearning once more...