JJ came over Sunday and brought with them a box containing eight runner duck chicks that had been hatched out by a professional, the eggs came from his own ducks who have a luxurious abode at JJ's microholding.
It was good to catch up with them both, they both provided the majority of the labour that cleared the massive hedge from the length of the garden last summer. As we wandered about the smallholding we chatted about the new arrivals and the never ending jobs list JJ asked one of those questions, you know the ones, the questions that shouldn't ever be asked, the question that Fate listens out for. "Any trouble with foxes lately?" JJ enquired, voice packed with innocence. I could almost hear Fate laughing as I said, "No not really" and so the scene was set.
The pictures show Rocky inspecting a small hole dig into the side of the chicken shed, a few bloodied feathers were close by.
Fearing the worst I opened the door and found them all alive and kicking, but one was carrying a nasty injury so was sent to chicken heaven to end its suffering. What seems to have happened is that whatever animal it was that had dug in, I suspect fox, had managed to grab the poor hen by its tail and had hung on and eaten its parsons nose off. This freed the hen to escape to the safety of the other side of the hut but the injury would have been fatal even if I hadn't have helped her along. Quite why the suspected fox gave up is unclear but thankfully he did and whilst I was in Manchester Tracey transferred all the remaining birds to the stables in case it came back.
So if you know any smallholders, avoid those questions as Fate is always ready to lend a hand!