We have recently acquired three new hens – replacements for two which were slaughtered by a fox.  It’s not the first time we’ve lost hens to foxes, but we’ve noticed recently it’s happening more often during the daytime – surprising when we’re around a fair bit, and we have a dog who lives in a run outside. 

In the summer time, our hens have a coop and an enclosed run, but in the winter, when there’s no danger of them eating all the seedlings or young plants in the veg plot, we have tended to let them have the run of the garden, only shutting them up at night.  This seemed to work well for a while, but we’ve now had two or three day-time fox attacks over a relatively sort length of time.  Thus our new hens are now shut up in the run for their own safety.

We are torn.  They look fed up in the run.  But we feel responsible for their safety, and so think it best.  If it were left to the chickens to decide, I wonder if they would prefer their freedom, along with the associated risk, or if they themselves would choose the safety of the run? 

It’s a fine dilemma: we are brought up to be sensible, to take responsibility, to undertake risk assessments – but make life too safe and secure and it becomes hardly worth living. 

If you’re a chicken though, you don’t even get to make your own choice!