Monday, June 21, 2010

known visitor and unknown visitors...

First, the unknown...

So, looked through, got to Noctuinae (cutworm or dart moth), and feeling like it's along the lines of Lacinipolia, but I am NOT an entomologist. Pretty much going by the pictures (SO scientific, I know). The head seems less fuzzy than most I've seen among the types that look close, but I don't know if that's terribly significant.

Oh, but I can tell you as a gardener here, there's LOTS of cutworms around! (grr....)

Anyhow, these are my guesses re: this handsome creature.

Next up, the known. 3 or so days ago I found scat in the driveway that I checked out and concluded was fox (we have gray fox).

This is what biologists do. =) Squat on the ground and poke apart poop with random rocks or twigs. Charming, I'm sure.

Haven't seen or heard evidence of fox in the area for many months, so as a biologist and chicken-keeper, this is an interesting development.

Well, that guess was VERY much audibly confirmed last night about 10 minutes after lights out. That classic fox "bark" that's more like a scream/cry. I got out of bed and listened verrry quietly by the open window upstairs, scanned around the two coops for any sign of movement, and mentally reviewed how well I did or did not lock up the hens last night....

Happily, all 4 hens are here and accounted for in the morning, but I did NOT do a good job putting them up (not all security measures were in place), so it's time to crank up the security!

We lost our first chicken to a fox, and I have NO desire for a repeat. Foxes can EASILY climb up the 6-8 food wood posts lining my garden and do the same to get out. InSANEly nimble creatures.

Consider us warned and wary. But of course, ever-curious, too. =)



  1. Well, good luck to you! That's part of the reason I don't keep a vegetable garden, too many other critters that want to devour what I'm waiting for. Bad enough with the fruit...

  2. Did you notice the orange hindwing on that moth? It's also Noctua pronuba...

  3. @ skeptical moth: I did NOT notice that. I am an IDIOT! Good grief. I'm going to have to start assembling a "moths and beetles already identified" document so i go there first.

    =) Sorry 'bout that. But, thanks again!

    @ Town Mouse: yes, very understandable. My favorite (food) gardening book says he just plants enough for him AND the gophers et al. 'cause it's tough to keep alllll your produce. =)

  4. Actually, I lost my chickens to wild dogs, not foxes. So, did you see the fox climb the fence?

  5. Wild dogs?!? Yikes! Sounds awful. =(

    Yes, just a day or so before this happened, I saw a fox climb up a pine that USED to be right next to our garden, plop down into the garden, root around for something tasty, then run up a pole to get out. I was quite surprised.

    We have since chopped the pine down--it was a) shading my garden, b) obviously providing WAY too easy access to the garden/chicken run.

    Sorry about your chickens. =( I wish people were required to pass a responsibility test before they were allowed to get a dog.


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