After work I like to go sit by the coop and let the chickens run for a bit. Their pens are filled with sand, so it gives them a chance to run and eat grass and catch bugs. We have a baby coop next to the big coop that we currently keep all the little babies in.
So a couple of days ago I let out EVERYONE all 45 of them. (The 6 Cochins stay out most of the day.) Everything went fine and everyone was happily chirping. Sold two and then was down to 43.
Second time I let them out, Coach our large rooster, killed one of my inlaws mutt chickies. So we now have to lock him up when we let out the little ones. I think he's mad that this is Helmet's flock and not his.
So today we are down to 42, well until about 10 minutes ago. I had everyone out. The teenage Silkies & Showgirls were trying to sit on my lap and watching my every move and I was watching and checking on everyone to make sure all were healthy and happy. (Even had a fan going to try and cool them off!) Then I hear Helmet scream and everyone drop. A small hawk flew out from behind me and picked up a chick and took off. By the looks of it and counting heads, I think it was a little black showgirl. The hawk grabbed it and flew back over the house as I screamed at it.
The teenagers were in shock, hiding under my table and looking at me. The babies, most laying flat against the ground, soon jumped up and ran for their coop. Everyone's freaked out. I'm freaked out. Actually, I'm upset. I feel guilty.
I know I shouldn't. I was trying to let them have some fun as they love running and eating grass and grabbing bugs, but I feel horrible that this happens on my watch. I think we are going to have to start moving them inside the run (taking the house off of it) to the grassy areas. It's not as big, but it's the only thing I can do at the moment. Maybe eventually we'll buy a covered gazebo we'll let them play in in the evenings.
So now I'm down to 41 chickens.