Well, they say when you get livestock you end up with some deadstock... I asked you last week about coop security for the chicks I was awaiting. Twelve out of twelve hatched under our lovely broody Evangelina Pilgrim. All seemed well last night and this morning, or so I thought. Now I don't know, since I didn't officially count them all. Anyway today all the chicks were running around in the dog crate cage with mama hen. I've been leaving the door to the crate open since the chicks were getting out anyway. I've noticed some chicks would follow Mama out and forget how to get back in, and end up under the mesh floor of the crate, under Mama, that being as close as they could get to her. This afternoon as I opened the main door to free range the hens, I noticed Evangelina was missing a black chick, and we found it half eaten under the crate, right under the nest. At first I thought perhaps a hen had pecked it half to death while broody sat on the nest with the rest, but when I saw it, all its intestines gone, back bone bitten through I don't think it's a hen. A rat? My husband says he's seen one hanging around the coop at night. Will a rat take a chick? Would my broody defend her chicks at night when she's sleepy, if a rat came prowling? Could a rat have come in the night and taken a chick from the nest? un When she was sleepy and more docile? She's formidable during the day, but at night? Or if it was that the chick never made it back into the crate and the nest, would she have been unable to defend her black chick because it was under the crate so she decided to stay in the crate with the 11 in the nest with her? (Sorry for sounding garbled, I'm upset and want to stop it happening again.) We don't leave windows open in there, unless they're meshed, but I know there must be gaps (it's a small one room trailer, stripped down) because when broody was sitting and hardly eating, her feed was going down really fast, and no one else could get in her crate to eat it, and there were rat poops in her water. The chick doesn't smell. It must be very recent. Do rats come out in the day? I mean, this is Florida, land of insects, and the chick only has a moderate amount of ants on it. The wings weren't even stiff. i.e. it's recent, right? Therefore daytime death? Or from last night but the rigor mortis wore off? I'm trying to work out if this was a nocturnal or diurnal attack. And it must have been that the chick left the crate, got disoriented and hid under the crate, under the nest box. And there something got it. Or it was snatched from the crate and taken there to be eaten. I'm sure we have raccoons, but we don't have gaps big enough for them. Plus the gap under the crate isn't big enough. What else could it be? What can I do to stop other deaths? (I could lower the crate onto the floor so no chicks hide under it... I raised it up so the poop would fall through the mesh floor.) Thanks.