Well, I'm officially thoroughly bummed out today…I lost my Class A red frizzled mille fleur “Needlelace” today to what I assume was a hawk, or some sort of bird-of-prey. I had moved her and her 2 cohorts, along with Napoleon, my red mille fleur roo, to their new outside coop with their own private run. It was an attempt to introduce them to it gradually, letting them adjust to their new surroundings for a few hours, then putting them back in the main coop at night. After a day or two, they would have been less apprehensive about spending the night in their new “digs”. I spent an hour or so with them, and things looked to be going well, so I came in for lunch, and when I later went back out, I couldn't find Needlelace anywhere, and the rest of the gang wanted OUT as I opened the gate to their private run. After searching everywhere, thinking perhaps she flew out over the fence to get back to the main coop, I found a pile of feathers in a corner of their new yard, obviously from Needlelace. The hawk, or whatever, had pinned her in the corner and then took off with her. We have plenty of predators here in coastal SC, so intellectually I knew this day would eventually come, but…it still hurts.
Tomorrow will be spent fortifying the chicken yard…I will go out and try to find some ornamental owls that get mounted to a post (they supposedly do a good job keeping hawks at bay), and I will string fishing line overhead in their private run. I have read that this prevents hawks from swooping down to catch their prey. Napoleon and his girls ran back to the main coop and have not ventured outside again, so I guess it will be a while before they're ready to make the move!