Chicken Tragedy - Sad Day

Unfortunately something killed Henrietta, one of our hens, last night.

We allow our chickens to free range during the day. They always go into the coop as it is starting to get dark, and then we close it up and lock them in for the night.

As John was going to check on them around dusk, he found some frightened chicks that had been scattered - a few had made it to the coop, but a  couple were still out and all seemed upset. He caught the couple that he found outside and put them inside with the others. He did his count, and one was missing. We began searching immediately for our missing hen. We did not find her, but we did find her feathers. From the looks of it, it must have been a hawk. We know there is a nest in the area, and we have seen some flying occasionally.

Our chickens had always done well to stay somewhat hid while they were outside of the coop. They would tend to go from cover to cover, i.e. bushes. There also are guinea birds that are similar size that have been fine running around our yard for years, so we took for granted that the chicks were somewhat safe. We just weren't careful enough. We didn't take the right precautions. We learned a very valuable lesson the hard way. We like all the chicks in our little flock, but admittedly, Henrietta was definitely one of our favorites. She was one of the more friendly hens in our group. We will miss her.

So how are we going to change things? For now, the best that we can do is to keep them in the coop unless we are able to supervise them. We will plan to expand their coop/pen as soon as we are able.

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