Well, I had them safe in the pen, with a vari-kennel with straw temporary house, encircled with an ex-pen (dog exercise pen, basically portable fence panels--this one is 5 ft high.) That way they could "talk" to each other through the wire and nobody gets hurt. This would be fine if it weren't for the cold, wind and rain that suddenly appeared (Ohio weather, there's nothing like it!) Well, I put the little ones in the vari-kennel with food and water and placed the whole thing in the hen house at night. The hens had their beaks out of joint this morning though when I decided to let all run together to see what would happen.
I pushed back the ex-pen without thinking up against the back fence I had hooked it with. This made a little wedge area and the little girls went back there to escape nasty Gloria and Bonnie Blue. They were stacked up back there when I left but had access to food and water. I put the crate against the gate as they were escaping through the door gap.
Now this pen has netting over the top and is made of sturdy dog run fence. They have the best I can afford. It never occurred to me that it wasn't enough...
I came home from errands to find a hawk staring at me and poor Buffy (one of the three young ones and a Buff Orphington) half-through the fence and decapitated. It was like a bad dream. My wonderful neighbor Gerald came over to clean up the carnage as I am just too old to grow up and do it myself. All the while, five hawks were slowly circling my property. They wanted to finish their chicken dinner. Over MY dead body!
Gerald told me that the Game Warden had told him it is legal to shoot a hawk if it endangers livestock or poultry. I've never shot at a living thing in my life, but I came in and got my Browning Gold Hunter shotgun and some shells. I sat out on the picnic table by the barn looking like Elmer Fudd waiting for those suckers. They flew over a few neighbor's away and when they finally circled back I couldn't take a safe shot. Not really worth shooting a neighbor over, but close. I noticed my north neighbor came home and quickly went into his house LOL.
BTW, most of you don't know that I am a pretty good shot. Hubby and I shot sporting clays before the kids got so expensive we had to give it up. I only had 3 lessons (only time I had ever touched a gun) or so and just for fun competed in the Ohio Cup and actually got third place! Not because I have wonderful technique mind you, but I had great vision and the ability to correct aim quickly.
Well, tomorrow is another day. I am taking off work to finish the job on the hawks and the rest of the adding of chicken wire to the lower half of the pen fence. Taylor helped me a lot with that. Mark is of course out of town when most of the awful things happen. The girls are safely in the hen house tonight. Chickens don't do much in the dark. Tomorrow a.m. I will see what happens.
I don't have a recent picture of Buffy, though she was only 4 or 5 weeks old. I took more of the first group of hens, just like first children. I was going to shoot (er, photograph) them this weekend. So here is sort of an "old" one.