*spoiler alert* this story has a happy ending! I had a broody hen, and my dad had two chicks, one a week and a half old and one just 1-2 days old, that were wandering around his barn without a mama. He suggested that I try to introduce them to my broody hen and see if she would (literally) take them under her wing. They took to each other immediately! All was going smoothly the last few days until today. I spent the afternoon away from the house, and when I came back, my hen only had one chick. I looked all over the coop and run, but there was no sign of her. I assumed she squeezed under the run fence (or out some other way) and one of the feral cats on my property got her, and I was devastated. I called a friend while I was standing near my coop, and while I was talking, I thought I heard some peeping. There are so many birds on my property, so I was not at all confident I was hearing the chick, but I went into the woods behind my house and tried to follow the intermittent peeping. About 30 feet into the woods, in a ravine that goes through my property, I saw the chick! Looking fine! Frustratingly, it was quicker than me, and when I tried to grab it, it ran away. The underbrush is so thick that after trying to follow it for a few feet, I lost it again completely. And no more peeps. So I called my dad, who also happens to be a veterinarian, to ask for advice. He suggested I try shutting up the chick I had in the coop and putting the hen outside so that the chick in the woods might hear her clucking and follow the sound. Sure enough, when I separated my hen from the chick in the coop, she started making stressed clucking sounds, and almost immediately I heard a tiny rustling in the woods. The chick got to her within seconds. I scooped her up and put her back in the coop with her mama hen, who hasn't let her out of her sight since. So my questions to you all with more experience than me, why would a tiny chick wander so far away from its hen in the first place?? And how in the world did it avoid being eaten by the feral cats?? I'm happy about the outcome, obviously, and I'm sure my hen is as well. I'm attaching a picture. The tiny head poking out from under my hen's wing is the one who ran away. The chick in the background is its older (adoptive) sibling.