Upon arrival on site this morning, we discovered that there had been a fox attack. The fox had managed to get into one of the broody coops, got the broody hen and made off with all the eggs. It’s been several years since we had a fox attack because everyone has strengthened their coop designs. Every time a fox is spotted on site, we always check over our coops.
Whilst my husband was busy feeding the chickens, I popped into the greenhouse and played with the chicks. They are still growing! I don’t know when they will stop growing but if they keep going as they are, they will be bigger than a Buff Orpington! Three eggs collected and all fed and watered, we then started to check over the coops. A part of the wire on the door of the main coop had come loose so we borrowed a screwdriver from Cliff and screwed it back into place. With Cliff’s help, we checked all the way around the outside of the coop, ensuring that there were no gaps in the wiring. We found a gap near the door and we used a staple gun to fix it.
The front of the coop, which you can see from the shed, has been used as a bit of a dumping ground. We have ‘stored’ the greenhouse frame and the greenhouse shield there for a couple of years. When we took down the greenhouse shield (that was a horrendous job!), I kept it so that it could go up on the roof of the main coop. Three quarters of the main coop has metal roof sheeting but the last quarter is open to the elements. I really would like to have a full roof but in view of the fox attack, we decided to use the greenhouse shield as extra roofing. Foxes are good at climbing and I worried that it would be able to climb up the sloped wire frame and jump down into the coop. Once loose in a coop, a fox goes into a killing frenzy and will kill all of them. Cliff, armed with a screwdriver, managed to separate the two sections of the greenhouse shield, and with help from my husband, they heaved the wire frame up onto the coop roof.
The first wire frame had some loose wiring so the second frame was rested so that it slightly overlapped it. I helped by using a large stick to hold up the frame from inside the coop as it was pushed onto the roof. It looks a little scruffy but hopefully it will stop the fox for the time being. As an additional precaution, we moved the black compost bin away from the side of the coop. Whilst my husband shovelled the compost back into the bin, I sorted through the remaining stuff that was previously inaccessible. I made a reasonable throw away pile and we took two trips to add it to the pile on the car park. Hopefully the skip will be ordered soon as the pile is getting quite large!
Before we left, we had a check of Leia and Rey’s coop. We know that Geoff worked hard to dig in wire around the coop to prevent a fox digging under the coop but we found a couple of gaps in the fencing. Although it is unlikely that those spaces were big enough for a fox to get into, we took no chances. Cutting a section of wire, we wedged it into a space between the nest box and the run as well as adding some heavy bricks to block a smaller gap at the other side of the run. Pleased that we have done as much as we can to help protect our girls, we started to wander back to the shed.
Phil dropped by and generously offered us some beetroot, pumpkin and courgette plants. He is such a great gardener that if he offers you a plant, you say yes immediately! We look forward to getting those in tomorrow! As my husband put the plants safely in the shed, I took the opportunity to start to paint some of the stripes on the tree stake. Using the masking tape borrowed from Sarah and Liz, I marked out three stripes. Carefully, I used the sage colour to paint the stripes as it should contrast well against the seagrass. I couldn’t finish the stripes as the top section of the post was still wet after painting over a missed section. I have left the masking tape on so I can do another coat of paint tomorrow.
So the plan for tomorrow is to get in the plants from Phil and to dig over the last section of the plot. We will also move the broody coop from its current position to the back of the plot now that Cliff has put his chicken back in his coop. We also need to choose where the new raised bed will go – Bradley has kindly donated it from his plot.
It seems you have wonderful allotment neighbors! What a blessing.
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