Friday, May 27, 2016

Chicken Update, Fox Attack & Upcoming Tour

Hello, everyone! This is a quick update post because I've been swamped on the work and home front.

As you know, the third book in my 'From Kenya, with Love' series released this month (June for UK/Aus). I've also been working on a proposal for a new series for Heartwarming. But just to add a little spice to my writing schedule, my eldest...who is graduating from high school in a few weeks...broke his wrist during a track and field meet. It wasn't just any break. The whole thing involved CT scans and a visit to a hand specialist because of the nature of the break. He's in a cast and will be fine. We've also had our share of illness, out-of-town visitors, end-of-year homework projects etc...

Then this past week, as if things weren't crazy enough, we had our first fox attack. It wasn't pretty. Almost three years with backyard chickens and we never had a fox problem. I know they're around (it's a given, living in the country), but they've never bothered coming into our fenced backyard, especially since our dogs run around there and leave their scent. Well, our dogs are not out at the same time as our flock because they love chicken and not in the guardian dog way. Unfortunately, so do foxes. This gorgeous red fox attacked right in the middle of the day. From what I could see, our three roosters did nothing to stop the carnage. We lost 3 hens, plus several were injured but got away. I've been nursing the most severely injured girl in my makeshift basement chicken clinic. She was seriously cut up on her back and suffered a leg injury. I've been spoon feeding her (and watering) because of it, but she's been a trooper and, amazingly, is recovering!

I kept the flock locked in their coop for almost a week and, when I tried to let them out for a few hours, the fox came back. This time, she had her jaws around a hen's neck but I stopped her in time. For now, the flock is staying under lock.

I love all wildlife and understand that it's spring and that fox has kits to feed. I just have to build a secure pen with buried hardware cloth and only let them range under supervision in future. Unless I get a guardian dog, but I don't dare right now. The pup might learn bad habits from my two zany dogs.

On the bright side, I have a broody hen sitting on a clutch of eggs. We haven't been through this before, so I'm hoping it all works out and we have baby chicks in a few more weeks. I'll keep you all posted!

Finally, for anyone interested, I was recently interviewed at Romance Reader and the post includes a giveaway. I saw some familiar 'faces' there, so thanks for the visit and comments!

I also have an upcoming excerpt/review tour with Prism Book Tours, June 5-12...and that also includes giveaways! You check out the schedule HERE.

I hope my U.S. friends all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your fox attack. We've been seeing foxes by us too. Fortunately the chicken coop is built inside an aviary (for lack of a better word). When we built their pen, we ran two by fours on the top and covered it with poultry netting.

    Some roosters are more protective than others. It's instinctive in some, non existent in others. Not so much a breed characteristic as it is a personality trait.

    1. I hear ya, Maria! The roosters I have now are Black Coppers and nice in that they don't attack us like the last one (an easter egger). They've been great with hawk defense, but I guess they gave up with the fox. Plus, it's a large area so I guess if certain hens didn't stay with the group, they had to choose between who to protect. Just guessing here. We have a few not so bright hens who don't pay attention to alarm calls and just keep munching away ;).

      When we built the coop, we had plans to add a secure 'aviary-like' run with a hardware cloth skirt buried around the bottom. In fact, I have the welded 1/4 in hardware cloth I'd ordered, but we ran out of time etc... Plus that false sense of security since the fox never entered our yard. I LOVE the free ranging, but I think now we need to get the 'aviary' built for high risk times or when we can't be outside watching them free range a few hours.

      With our two dogs, I don't want to get another as a guardian yet. I'm tempted to get a donkey (I love them :)! I've also heard male urine works. Hmmm....

  2. I am sorry to hear about the fox attack. Yes, they have to live, but it isn't easy seeing the carnage.Fingers and toes crossed that your broody hen brings it off.
    Glad to hear your son will be fine too.

    1. Thanks on my son! I'm hoping to get some baby chicks but I've heard that some hens can hatch them, but then end up not protecting them well. I hope this girl does both. It'd be so cute to watch mama and babies!

      The fox are just so active this time of year here. We're seeing them a lot! I just have to manage things differently so that everyone is happy.