27 Feb

The local foxes are continuing to howl and bark very late into the night, and that is a winter sound heard across the length and breadth of Great Britain. Lionwood is directly behind our house and contains the stand of Oak, Ash & Sycamore that shade our garden mentioned in an earlier post. There is an established fox den in there somewhere, although I have yet to find it. Every 2-3 nights Oz our Collie puts up a fox and chases it; sometimes across the open grass of Pilling Park, but more often in the gully of Lionwood behind the house. Each time he chases the fox in the gully Oz is lead on a chase that ends up in one of several a briar patches, and on the park he usually gives up halfway across the cricket pitch and returns to me.  The other night was slightly different as he managed to put up 3 foxes which I believe to be one vixen (probably in season) and two dog foxes (pursuing said vixen), and it was almost 90 minutes before I could get Oz back to me and under control again.  Every night for the last week Oz has begun barking at about 2.30 am and we think that this is in response to the local foxes: Lois & I are too sleepy to acknowledge the noise the foxes are making at this time of night.

Urban Foxes are now a real problem across the whole of the country, and the hunting ban of 6 years ago was in my opinion a very wrong decision taken by the then government, who were just trying to pacify certain elements of our society and to grab popularity and votes. With the reduction of Fox control by hunts has allowed the fox population to expand to the point where it is almost out of control. Nailing my colours to the mast I am pro Fox hunting. I grew up in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and was surrounded by three hunts; The Belvoir, The Cottesmore, and the Quorn. The general public were not given the full facts about the consequences stemming from the Fox hunting ban; Skilled craftsmen and labourers alike lost their jobs, skills have been lost, large amounts money were taken from rural economies, and habitat was lost.

The loss of this habitat has rarely been reported in the press or mentioned in the media; after all it was only cover provided to encourage foxes for the hunt. These covers were essential oases of varied deciduous hard wood trees, and hedgerow that support all manner of life: plants & fungi, bushes and trees, insects and invertebrate, birds and small mammals. Without the need to provide cover to encourage foxes this habitat has now all but disappeared to make way for agriculture and has taken away all the life that they supported. Bird and mammal numbers have plummeted to all time lows, and several species may have already reached or gone beyond a point of any recovery.

With this loss of cover, rural foxes have been pushed into areas that already supported urban foxes, and to make matters worse some householders are actively feeding the damn things, and that includes a near neighbour of ours.

One of our neighbours deliberately feeds the bloody foxes because he likes to see them, and this has culminated in young cubs actively entering all of the gardens near to us as they scavenged for food from bins and compost heaps. One evening in late August we had 3 cubs in the garden

Norwich city council has also introduced recycling buckets for waste cooked food in our area, which has lead to an increase in rat activity, along with encouraging the foxes. With our intention of embarking into the realms of poultry keeping this year, no doubt we will be visited by these two species of vermin.

There are certain steps we will be taking to lessen the impact and visitations of rats. The Chicken feed will be stored in a metal container, the chickens will be fed from a proper food dispenser, and the base of the chicken coop will positioned about 18 inches off the ground. I have also been given 3 Fenn mk 4 rat traps, which I will place inside short tunnels made from sections of 200mm diameter drainage pipes, rats are naturally attracted to tunnels to use as cover, and these pieces of pipe will also keep the baited and armed traps well out of the reach of Oz’s inquisitive nose.

On a brighter note, Lois & I postponed the start of the 9 sq/mtr project and drove over to Sea palling with the intention of walking down the beach as far as Horsey Mere to see the Seals and seal pups currently ashore there. We really should have begun the woodworking, and garden tidying, but decided we needed to get out of Norwich for a few hours. Most of the photos that we took of the Seals & pups can be seen here: http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about25647.html and now a day late I have begun cutting out the halving joints in the reclaimed pallet stringers to make the frames of the new planters.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: