Remember those fables you were told as a child about the sly fox and the dumb chicken or goose? Well they are based on fact, hard cold facts. No word better describes our intelligent, resident fox. Red consistently fooled our dumb guard dog by laying his foxy scent in pointless circles. He knew that Shadow, our dog, would follow his nose mindlessly and not use his eyes. However, we soon discovered that Red was even more adept at nabbing chickens than outwitting our dog.
About five years ago, Michael was by the house when suddenly a streak of red caught his eye. He realized, with surprise, that this was our fox, out in broad daylight. Michael lost sight of him but he yelled for our dog a moment later when he saw a large, white feathered chicken in the fox’s mouth. Red looked over at the dog, who had leaped excitedly over a garden bed. The smart fox decided that the heavy chicken wasn’t worth dying for and he immediately dropped his supper. Quick thinking as always, even in a crisis, Red ran into some bushes between the chicken coop and the barn, squirmed out, changed directions and ran into the cornfield. Shadow was left in his wake, sniffing in circles among the bushes around the barn. Of course our great guard dog didn’t catch on that the fox was long gone.
Meanwhile Michael rushed over to the traumatized chicken. That chicken had not moved one feather since Red had dropped her, nor had she uttered a sound!
Chickens always cluck, especially when something startles them. The clucking then rises in pitch and speed and transforms into nerve rattling squawking. Not this stunned bird. Michael noticed that there wasn’t a scratch on her because the fox only bite down with his soft mouth. His teeth did not pierce the chicken’s skin at all, not one drop of blood. Michael gently placed the chicken back into the outdoor run and still she sat, silently like a statue!
We all marvelled at the fox’s audacity because this episode occurred in broad daylight. Red did not even wait for the cover of darkness, nor did he care that his enemy,our ‘guard dog’ was around. What he had done during daylight hours, for almost two weeks was sneaking through the long grass just beyond the chicken wire fence then slipping right into the chicken run and snatching birds. The whole process had been a silent one. It seems the chickens were as shocked as we were and none of the birds raised the chicken alarm . We were oblivious to the fox’s tricks till the day when Red became a little too bold.
We quickly fixed the fence , thereby cutting off his easy pickings. Do not feel sorry for the sly fox. He had a supply of ten chickens to last him a long time.
4 thoughts on “Not a Fairytale: The Sly Fox”
We used to sing a song in children’s church, “The devil is a sly old fox.” Thank you.
yes he is! so funny …I bet it is one of those tunes that sticks
My chickens have had the same reaction when my dog grabbed them in an unguarded moment. For some reason, the dog also held them gently and the chicken was only stunned, not hurt. I am hoping we have made a fool-proof chicken coop and run so there are no more incidents.
I had a third generation farmer tell me once that animals ALWAYS manage to get out..or in!