Some days ago we released our four week old chicks with their mother back into the main coop as we have a new brood of chicks in the woodshed and the older ones were flapping around and going nuts, wanting to stretch their wings. Well, it's all gone well up until now! They'd been scratching around, sitting under mum who was aggressively protecting them from the other hens. Until tonight. I heard peeping and went out to find no chicks under mum, who was sitting in the garden as she has been and not on the roost. When I woke her up and she realised there were no chicks under her she started calling and clucking an alarm call, but when I went looking and then came back I found her on the roost - although every time she hears a peep she starts calling and clucking to them. I found one roosting in a tree out the front and when I went to grab it it took off and flew up over the trees into the neighbours. Yes, FLEW. Not the turkey-style flight I'm used to with chickens, but with the grace of a dove. I never knew araucanas could fly like this I guess I should have wing clipped them, but I didn't want to leave them defenceless from predators. So now they are in my neighbours' place (or at least, one is, who knows if the other three are alive?) and it's 2am and I don't really feel like I can go fossicking in her yard with a torch. I can see cats around too. I don't know what I'm going to tell my daughter; this is such a tragedy after our poor hatch rate/deaths at hatch. Why the heck would this happen? Shouldn't the hen keep her mothering instinct for 6 weeks or so? And she WAS down on the ground, as she had been, so why did my chicks run away?!