Fox attacks on hens loses a nursery in Northchurch thousands in revenue

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A nursery is launching an appeal to help replenish and protect its chickens after attacks from foxes have culled numbers to a critical level.

Sunnyside Rural Trust has just 20 chickens left from its flock of 300 after a series of attacks this year.

Site manager Ray Deacon has put in efforts to stop the foxes getting to the much-loved birds using high fences and electric wire but the cunning animals have still managed to get in.

The trust needs a protective run and more chickens, which is going to cost about £5,000, and it is going to start an ‘adopt a hen’ initiative.

Spokesman Maggie Grand said: “We work with adults with learning disabilities and caring for chickens is a very popular activity.

“Seeing the flock’s numbers reducing on a regular basis has been very upsetting for trainees and staff as well as customers, who have been disappointed at not being able to buy free range eggs.”

It means a loss in revenue of around £2,000 each quarter for the nursery and it desperately needs more chickens so that it can make money once again from selling eggs at its site in New Road and at Berkhamsted’s market.

Site manager Ray Deacon said “We have built a run between two coups with wire at the base and aviary walls which has at last given our chickens protection but still allowed them to roam outside within this area.

“It’s been several weeks now and we haven’t lost any more to the foxes. Our trainees love the chickens and we look forward to getting back to having a large flock to care for.”

The launch of the appeal will take place at the nursery where Berkhamsted Rotary Club will kick off the fundraising with a donation.