This is my first time posting on the forum. We have had a flock of 13 hens that are free range during the day and at night we securely lock them up in a coop. They are all about 10 months old and up until this point, we have had no problems with predators. This is mainly because our two dogs are wonderful at protecting them from the coyotes, raccoons, etc. that we have here. We live in a very wooded area, and I think the tree cover has helped protect the hens from hawks. However, now that the leaves are all off the trees, it has become a problem.
A couple of weeks ago, a hawk tried to kill one of our Leghorns, but we think the dog interrupted the attack and we saw the hawk flying off. The chicken lost a whole bunch of feathers, but otherwise appears to be OK. Three days later, a hawk killed a different chicken, but now it has been a full week since we've had any attacks. We did put up two fake owls with bobble heads and we tied a shiny disk in a tree as a reflector, and these have appeared to help as we have not seen the hawk all week.
The first chicken that was attacked has lost more feathers and her neck is very bare. I read somewhere that if a hen is frightened, it can cause it to molt. Has anyone else had this experience? The weather is mild right now, but in the next few days, it is supposed to get really cold. We have considered putting a heat lamp in the coop at night to help this hen stay warm. Is this enough? Is there anything else we should do? I have read that with molting chickens, you may want to supplement. Any suggestions on what to supplement with?
Thanks for any input!