When Allison returned from the US, she worked out that we were missing a number of ducks. It seems that Mr Fox had been jumping over the gate to the orchard behind our house, and removing one duck every couple of days.
Allison was less than pleased with this situation. She moved the ducks to the bottom chookhouse, once a pen for racing pigeons, to which we have added an outdoor area fenced from (under)ground to an enclosed roof. She locked the alpacas in the surrounding woods paddock just to be sure — they hate foxes and can kill them.
Alas, on the first night under this arrangement, the fox dug under the outside wire and took several more ducks, wounding a couple more. So much for the alpacas.
This leaves us with one pair of mallard ducks, including our sentimental favourite Nellie. The male has a damaged leg, and we hope he’ll recover.
We have three muscovy girls left — including one with a bodgie leg from an earlier attack, which I would have euthanised if it hadn’t been such miserable weather at the time.
For some reason we still have all three indian runner ducks that someone gave us. Maybe they’re faster, or smarter, or just taste bad to foxes.
We’ve had three years without any problems, and now even careful precautions aren’t working. Our idyllic rural lifestyle really takes a beating at times like this.
Allison was by this stage apoplectic. We and the wwoofers spent the weekend building fortifications.
Fort Knox, once the bottom chookhouse, now has galvanised roofing iron buried in a trench, as well as heavy iron bars laid along the edges, and the whole lot covered in field rocks. There is an internal sliding steel door to provide an extra layer of defence. I was just able to dissuade her from electrifying everything.
Alcatraz, aka the top shed, already had heavy steel walls and a buffalo-proof external run. It now has a new door, a gate to cut off half the run, and rocks.
God help the fox should Allison get her hands on it. Because we’re being organic, we can’t lay poison baits. Because we front the highway, we’re not meant to shoot on the property, and I might not be safe with a gun. There’s no way Ally is getting one in her current mood!
We do nevertheless have some plans for Mr Fox, suggested by our neighbours, so we’ll see what comes of them. Further suggestions most welcome.