Thanks for the help here. I was just talking with someone who just got 40 baby chickens. She said she will let them out in the open once they are big enough to not be taken by hawks. So, do hawks leave chickens alone once the chicken reaches a certain size?
Protection Against Hawks - Page 2
No. They just don't carry them off if they're too big. They kill and eat them on the spot.
Do buzzards take live chickens? There's a pair of huge birds circling my place 3-4 times a day. To cover a 10x10 dog kennel. I took plactic chicken 'wire' cut it into 10' strips. Put them side by side and used a ton of zip ties to sew the panels together to make a 12x12 net held on with bungee cords. The neighbors on both sides of my house and I each lost a cat and I lost a chicken too. The hens have learned to take cover in the underbrush when out during the day.
We have buzzards circling here all the time and have never had a problem with them. Buzzards are typically carrion eaters. I highly doubt they took cats or your chicken... I would guess they got snagged by a coyote or fox.