i have two exchequor leghorns who've been with us since saturday morning. this morning in my wisdom i decided to let them roam the garden whilst i was at work.
it's a sunny day and i'm surrounded by geriatrics who live to get their electric garden tools out so realistically with the broad daylight, sound of lawnmowers and hedge trimmers and presence of people and dogs it was unlikely even the the most brazen fox would visit.
got home to find one chicken sat in her house looking miserably lonely and one chicken nowhere to be seen. no feathers, no sign of chaos or gore but just gone.
picked up ds from school and announced the bad news and he, like me, assumed some bastard fox had been at it again. half an hour after we got home i hear ds yelling and the dogs barking and the missing chicken has appeared in the garden next door and i happily went and retrieved it feeling massive relief and then a neighbour from three doors down in the other direction appeared saying the other chicken had been in her garden earlier and she'd brought it back.
so they've had a great day of mass free range but rather stressful for us. we did clip their wings on saturday but clearly not well enough.
Leghorns are especially flighty - you can't let them free-range after only a couple of days and expect them to have their bearings - need to keep them in for a week or two first. Clipping makes no difference to that - and i wouldn't advise clipping a hen as a matter of course anyway.
And yes the fox will come in broad daylight and be brazen - i had one chew holes in electric netting during the day whilst it was switched on!
ps - my exchequor leghorn used to get confused come bedtime and insist on sitting on top of the henhouse at dusk - this in turn caused my other hens to get back up again and join her!
sim. i actually had to force mine into bed the other day because they weren't having it for some reason. usually they take themselves off well before dusk but this one night they were planning on camping out.
i've kept them in since this incident and only let them out for brief spells whilst i'm in the garden. come summer holidays i'll be off work for 6 weeks and will be able to give them more time free ranging the garden with me around to keep an eye on them.
previously i had ex bats so i'm learning the difference now between those and these girls. flightiness is definite key difference.
they are lovely birds - really tame and human friendly due to being raised from chicks in a garden centre connected to an agricultural college hence being handled constantly by students working there and used to people all around them. they seem happy enough in their run but i don't want that to be the limit of their existence.