Poor sad and lonely male pheasant had a very narrow escape last night. I was watching him busily grubbing around the base of the cob nut tree when I noticed a movement the other side of the sheep netting and there was the young fox just making his way into the garden. I was in a bit of a predicament as the pheasant was between me and the fox so if I made too much of a sudden movement it would chase him right into the waiting jaws of the fox. Luckily the fox caught sight of me at the window and ran out of the garden so male phes lives for another day but was this what happened to the female phes I wonder.
Later that evening the same young fox was sitting in the field staring at something near the woods so I got my binoculars to see what it was and there ambling along was a vixen with cub trotting behind. Maybe the young fox was her cub from last year.
We kept hens for about 10 years or so and in all that time only two were caught by foxes. One was lost in a daylight raid and the other was caught at night the one and only time in the whole 10 years I forgot to shut the hen house door. Luckily the dog barked and woke us up and we all ran down the garden screaming (don't know what the neighbours thought!) but the fox took fright, dropped the hen and turned tail out of the garden. After a clever bit of stitch work by the vet and a months recuperation in my daughters bedroom, henny, thankfully was as good as new.
I still like foxes though and think that not enough is said about their uses in the countryside. Some years ago when the farmer first started with sheep he killed of all the local foxes. This caused an explosion of rabbits in his wheat fields (there were literally hundreds) and an explosion in rats and mice. Needless to say the farmer has never totally wiped out the fox population again.
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