The Seasons Outside My Back Door: Week 16 & 17 || April & May 2016


welsummer chicks welsummer chicksIt has been rollercoaster of a fortnight in the world outside my back door so I'm combining the last two weeks.

We've had the arrival of the chicks last weekend. Seeing the first one breaking through the shell was amazing. Then, yesterday they went outside for the first time with their mum, Wincey. It's been incredibly heart-warming.

welsummer chicks

Especially considering the darker side of the Spring months, which also arrived in the back garden in the last week.

"Mummy, I thought Spring meant new life," said my daughter a few days ago. We'd just found a small bird dead on the floor. I suspect the glass window of my shed. But that wasn't the only thing that had happened.

This is what I wrote on my personal Facebook page:

Yesterday a duck went missing. Fearing the worst we immediately put everyone on lockdown and got them all inside the fencing and inside their runs. All safe.

In the last hour I just caught a bright red fox with Barbara the chicken in its mouth. I shouted at it. (I actually said 'hey' as if I was saying hello which is weird) and the fox dropped Barbara. So I got the dog to chase it. It was caught inside the electric fencing. I chased it, too. Then I came face to face with it; which quite honestly petrified me, I'll never forgot those teeth (my pink plastic shoes would have stood no chance) and it finally tore a hole through the fence and ran off.

I picked up Barbara and gave her a cuddle. She's now in her coop. But shock is a real risk.

The whole area smells of fox now. I've strengthened the defences - it got though a small hole in the run where the clip had come off. And yes, I had a little cry.

It was so sad. Initially we'd hoped the duck from the day before had gone off to create a nest and gone broody. But I knew, deep down, what had happened. Seeing the fox the following day, in broad daylight, confirmed it.

I feel worse when we have a predator attack than if we have to put one down ourselves. The loss weighs down in my stomach. And I feed so guilty. Guilty for not taking better care of them. But also guilty for locking them in their runs now, too.

Spring is the season of new life. But it is also new life for the fox cubs. They need feeding, too, and my chickens and ducks were easy targets. The electric fence has been eaten away by rabbits and wasn't working. We've now ordered an extra large coop for the chickens. That arrives a week today. In the mean time, they're only allowed out their runs when we are outside too.

welsummer chicks

Still, we have the chicks. And, the other exciting news is, Vicky, Wincey's sister, also went broody. So we bought her six hatching eggs. They went under her the same day the duck went missing. Let's hope something good happens from that day.

Ready for three minutes of cuteness? This is the film I made of them yesterday, coming outside for the first time in their lives. They're one week old.

Wincey & the Chicks (first time outside!) from Helen || a bookish baker on Vimeo.

Music: Saturday by Josh Woodward