She abandoned the remaining eggs and led her 6 babies into the backyard yesterday morning. So I got them settled in a dog house with hay and put their feeder and waterer right outside. It wasn't raining yesterday so we let her take them out. I was going to let nature take it's course but two of her eggs were peeping. We don't have an incubator so I put them in a box with a heating pad, wrapped in a dish towel. We were at 93% humidity outside yesterday so I was pretty confident they wouldn't lack humidity. When I picked my daughter up from school I brought the eggs on the heating pad back home from work with me to see if I could get her to sit on them again as they were peeping. One of them hatched in the car while I waited in the pick up line. So we immediately came home to round up mama and babies and get them back in the garage.
Tragedy. Mama hen was being guarded by our great pyrenees. She was behind her, sitting, and the dog was watching the yard keeping the rest of the flock away from her. I picked her up, she had one lone baby left. My chickens who have consistently refused to use any nest box I have ever made had kicked mama hen and her babies out of the little doghouse and they had laid 3 eggs in there. Mama hen is angry. I don't know what happened. No bodies, no blood, not even a feather. Gone without a trace. I combed front yard and back. I have no clue what happened. I know the dog wasn't touching her or even trying to when we got home. I don't know if I should blame the dog or something else. My dog did kill two chicks in March, but she didn't eat them. She played with them and licked them all over and I'm sure they had heart attacks because there were no wounds on them and she brought them to me.
I am at a complete loss as to what happened in 4 and a half hours. But it seems like all of our chickens took refuge under shelter yesterday as one of them laid an egg under a sun shelter they haven't gotten under or used since summer was over. We do have hawks and owls around here. So it makes sense that they got snatched up.
We're so heartbroken. So is mama hen. She's back to sitting on eggs. She is back up to 3 chicks. We're going to let her have them for a few days in the garage then we're going to take them and raise them in bathroom as we have done with chicks in the past.