Some of our chickens can be a little high-strung. One of our Rhode Island Reds is very vocal about wanting out of the coop in the morning and also about wanting a treat. Some of the bantams will squawk at the smallest thing. And they all get a little upset when we let the dogs out. But there has been cause for alarm recently.
We had the covered area on the side of our house still set up as a "chicken nursery" when it was time to hatch our second set of chicks. It had its flaws, but, for the most part, it was nearly the same as it was when we hatched the first chicks. The only thing different was part of the fencing was two feet tall instead of four feet. During the first couple of weeks after the seven chicks hatched, something must have attacked them during the night. I found the mother out of the nursery and sitting on her chicks near the hen house. When it got light enough, I discovered there were only five. Within a few days she and her chicks were living in the hen house and getting along with all the other chickens.
I've always assumed that there were always hawks around our house. I felt like we really didn't know the extent of it, since we're not in the yard from sunrise to sunset. But we have been seeing a lot more recently. Earlier this week, between trips into the back yard, a hawk must have gotten one of our chicks. We could not find it anywhere. The next evening, Ella saw a hawk on top of our mother hen, and scared it off. Then another evening a hawk must have gotten another chick, because, when I let the chicks out in the morning, I only counted three. So we're down to three chicks. Ella is a little upset about all of this, but there's not much more that we can do. We just have to hope they grow up fast.