And Then There Were Four

four chickens

Well, sad news for my chickens… two of them are gone. Disappeared. Simply vanished into thin air. I went out to check on them yesterday afternoon and could only find four of the six. I hoped that when the sun went down and they all went back into the coop for the night that the other two would show up, but no such luck.

I’m not exactly sure what happened to them, but I suspect a Chicken Hawk probably had something to do with it. There was no sign of any sort of struggle; no feathers on the ground or anything like that. They’re just gone.

I let the others out again today and prayed that nothing would get them. A couple of hawks circled overhead all day long. I’m sure they were the culprits, and now that they know just where to look, I’m afraid they’ll be back often.

So, any advice on how to keep chicken hawks away? I really want to let the chickens free range. I hate the idea of keeping them locked up all day every day. Is there something that I can do to protect them other than build a chicken run? They have lots of woods right behind them to hide in, is that good enough? (Well, I guess it wasn’t good enough for the two who were snatched away, huh?!)

Oh, and another chicken question (Don’t laugh at me, okay?) … is the chicken with the red comb (pictured above) a rooster?? We think it might be, since it’s the only one with the red comb growing. They were all supposed to be girls, but he could have gotten mixed in with the group. I’d love to know for sure!

Thanks, I’d really appreciate some feedback from all you who know a thing or two about chickens! I’m really loving having them, and can’t wait for the eggs to come… if they all last that long, that is.


Kendra
About Kendra 1106 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

15 Comments

  1. We had something – my dad thinks maybe a snake or cyote – pretty much wiped out our flock last summer. We were getting 15 – 20 eggs a day, and by the end of the summer, there were only a handful left – these were caged chickens in a chicken run. However, our guinea run loose and have multiplied – only they run amuke all over the neighborhood. Lately they’ve been getting into the neighbors gardens. Not good. Most of us have at least 3 – 5 acres around here.

    Wish I had some answers. I know that there was an interesting chicken coop on the blog “The Deliberate Argrarian” (probably spelled it wrong). He has all kinds of chicken advice.

    While it is likely the chicken with a comb is a rooster, we have more than once had these end up being hens with just more pronounced combs. My sister had one she named Sarah, then Abraham, then Sarah, then Abraham, before she layed her first egg and became Sarah for good. We’ve had more than a dozen of these surprises. We also ended up with a rooster with a very small comb and no spurs. It took a long time to figure out he was a rooster!

  2. Oh gosh…I’m so sorry about your chickens! I’m wondering if a chicken tractor would be helpful? I keep mine locked up all day…and let them out only when my husband and I are with them. I’m overprotective…what can I say? 🙂

  3. Oh, forgot to mention – if you have a coon in the area it could also be the raider of your two chickens – I had to keep mine up at night because of the coons grabbing them.

  4. Just a note on hawk invasions….
    We have 2 pens- one for younger chicks and one for my laying hens and rooster. The older pen is covered with deer netting (or sometimes called animal netting-black) to keep them from flying out. We have not covered the little pen to keep the hawks from flying in. It is rather inexpensive ($12 a roll)

  5. I know how aggravating losing a chicken is. This week I have lost 5 of my chicks as well. Mine were in the pen and my guess is that a hawk flew in and grabbed them as it wanted them. I was missing 3 on Tuesday and 2 more yesterday. I don’t know about the colors, if it makes any difference. My Barred Rocks were the first to disappear, then a Buff Orp, then one of my white ones.
    I went ahead and put the remaining 6 chicks into cages until I can get the top of the pen covered. Hopefully the hawk or whatever won’t bother the 5 adults I have in the pen. But now that I think about it, their egg production has been down this week. I’ve heard that when hens are stressed they won’t lay. So maybe that’s the problem.
    As far as telling them apart, I have been around chickens all my life and have never been able to tell them apart until they’re grown, so if there is a for sure way to tell I would love to know how 🙂 Good luck with your chickens. I sure hope neither of us lose anymore of them.

  6. I think the thing about white chickens is true. We have Rhode Island Reds and a hawk got all of out white chickens (baby Americanas and Lakenvelder) but no Rhodes.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your chickens. If they were mine I would go with a large chicken run. Might not be what you really want but it would certainly ease the stress of worrying about them and the hawks, and I’m sure relieve the chickens stress too. Good luck!

  8. One thing we got as advice was to not get white chickens. They stand out like a beacon for the hawks. We got Ameracunas and Buff Orpingtons as they both have camoflauge colors if you can free range them in the woods. Sorry to hear about your 2 chickens. I also only feed my girls at night – that way they come home to eat the good snacks. We do have a run for ours, but it’s not covered and they flew right over the 6′ high fence panels, so they free range, within our enclosed backyard. However, they have been seen in neighbor’s yards too. I’m like you, I’d rather they were free and happy then cooped up but it’s a safety trade off too.

  9. I’m so sorry about your chickens too! No advice since I’ve never had chickens… yet. If your chicken truly free-range, there is probably no way to keep the hawks from finding them!

  10. I am so sorry about your chickens! It could have been a hawk. The chickens do have to learn to hide in the trees or under something. They just have to learn to be more “street smart”. I have a bunch of hawks that circle around mine too. It’s kinda scary.

    I wouldn’t laugh at you, about know whether or not that one is a roo. Some of mine I couldn’t tell until they were about ready to crow, lol! I think that one you are asking about may be a rooster because it has a bigger red comb and more pronounced wattles compared to the other ones.

    Good luck! I hope they stay safe!

  11. I know some people get a dog…have you seen Greenpa’s posts on free range guinea fowl and chickens? Just started to read them for myself since we may be getting chickens this summer. I have been enjoying reading everyone else’s stories! Anyway – I am really glad you are continuing to write…thanks for the inspiration!

  12. I have no advice for you, but wanted to say I’m sorry that you lost two chickens. I hope you figure out something to keep the others safe.

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