Snakes and foxes

Today, I needed to clean up the coop. Take out the empty feed sacks from winter and pick up strings. As I entered the coop I almost stepped on a fat fast moving small 18 inch rat snake. It has just eaten an egg and was headed out the coop. I grabbed a pail and put him in it to show to my husband. Eggs had gone missing for the last 2 weeks and I suspected a snake. After showing my husband I drove the snake to a field away from our place and set it free. Turns out snakes will eat an egg then wrap around a tree to crush the egg. If they eat a glass egg or a wooden one they will die. I have 2 wooden eggs that are missing from the coop. There have been a lot of snakes this year.
We also have a fox that has been getting our daytime free range hens. We had 21 now we only have 18 hens. We now have to photograph our hens to see who is missing. The locals tell us a fox will eat all the chickens until all are gone.This is very frustrating. We have let our shepherd lose to watch over the flock. So far we have not lost anymore hens. The good news is that in 2 weeks we should have baby chicks hatching again.

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