We had a close call yesterday. DH had the girls free ranging in the backyard when one of our cats - who normally doesn't venture into the backyard - was suddenly in the yard making a beeline for the chickens. Fortunately DH was close enough to intercept her and avoid disaster. (She is a very accomplished huntress) If he had been anywhere else in the yard he probably wouldn't have gotten to the cat in time. Whew. The chickens were oblivious to the danger the cat was - until DH began running toward her. (Possibly because we have a grandma cat who hangs out in the backyard with them. She doesn't have teeth or energy enough to do them any harm.) Anyhoo... DH has come up with a plan that I know will work with our chicks, and I thought maybe some of you out there might want to do it too. He is going to condition the chickens to come to him by offering treats and making a specific noise when he does. The idea is they will become conditioned (like Pavlov's dogs) to come to him when he makes that sound. (Since they already recognize the treat bucket and come running for that, this will be pretty simple, I think.) Then, if there is a predator they are not recognizing, he can make that sound and call them to him and - hopefully - keep them from harm.