I am a bit stressed right now... Yesterday afternoon and throughout much of the night we suffered through a series of thunderstorms. I closed up our chicken coop except for the chicken door. The birds would stay inside during the storms but would come out into their open topped run after the worst past. This morning about 9am my wife went to feed the birds and found most of them dead in the run! She also spooked up a red-tail hawk feasting upon the carcasses. I was at work so she called my father to help. It seems that late in the evening the birds came out to take advantage of a calm in between storms. Lightning must have struck the ground near by. 14 birds were killed instantly. 2 birds were wounded enough they couldn't walk. That has left us with 6 females and 3 males (all about 18 weeks). The hawk who has never bothered our birds before could not resist the easy meal. He shredded some of the dead birds and attacked and wounded the lame birds. When I got home I butchered and processed the injured birds. My father disposed of the other carcasses. The run is full of loose feathers and the hawk is hanging about nearby. The uninjured birds will not leave the coop (I don't blame them). What joy. I have been praying for rain for weeks to save our garden and when it gets here 2/3 of my flock is wiped out. Oh well. I will just start over I guess. Is there anybody near me (Laurens, SC) who has some started pullets they might sell. I was counting on having fresh eggs by August and I really don't want to start with day-old chicks. OK i feel less stressed... better now. Thanks for your time!