It’s really not a sight I would wish on anyone, which was why, at 4.30am last Wednesday, I came to be hiding in a lilac bush wearing nothing except a pair of Hunter wellies. Twenty minutes earlier, I had been asleep in bed when I awoke with a start to the dread noise of the chickens flapping and calling in panic.
* Subscribe to Country Life and save 40%
Racing downstairs, I grabbed a torch and some wellies and raced outside to find chickens running all over the garden, one dead and another injured. I didn’t spot the culprit, but it was clear that I was going to have to catch the frightened birds and lock them up for safety, as whatever had attacked them was sure to return. It was when I caught one in the herbaceous border that the milkman arrived and I leapt into the lilac bush.
I suspected a fox as it’s May, the prime month for attacks, but as we’ve had stoats in the garden and there are mink on the river below us, I wasn’t sure of the attacker. However, when I took the terriers for a walk the next day and, uncharacteristically, the remaining chickens came flying across the lawn to attack them, I felt sure that it was the fox.