How can I figure out what what killed my chicks?

BanaB

In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2020
28
36
36
Cambridge, NY
I knew that I'd lose one or more eventually, since I'm free ranging. The loss happened sooner than I expected. I'm just not as casual about it as I thought I'd be. I feel very protective of my little flock! So, an electric fence it is. I'll move it around to new pasture as often as I can.
They seem to realize that one among them was killed because they're staying closer to the coop now. I've been letting them out in the afternoons with me, as someone suggested. They haven't been wandering off. Is it possible they realize she was killed and they're wary?
My son thinks I'm crazy. He says chickens descended from dinosaurs and have "pea brains"...not too smart. That hasn't been my experience at all. They respond to my voice and come running when I call them. They figured out how to use the new "press the button" waterer without me showing them. I had a light in the back part of the coop which I was leaving on overnight for them. Then I read not to leave a light on, so I turned it off. The first night they didn't figure out to get back on their perches by the time it was dark..they were sleeping throughout the coop. By the third night they'd all managed to get settled on the perches before it got too dark. They seem fairly intelligent to me!

Thanks for the suggestions and advice. You're all so kind and helpful!
 

BanaB

In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2020
28
36
36
Cambridge, NY
Unfortunately it could have been a variety of predators. I would build a tight, predator proof run as an addition on to their coop and only let them out in the late afternoons when you're their to supervise.
I'm with them in the afternoons, waiting to get my fence. They're sticking very close to me. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

BanaB

In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2020
28
36
36
Cambridge, NY
Yes, one time one of my cats returned with a large hawk and her ears were all torn up and her back and head were bloody and clawed obviously she won because she brought home her prize!
Wow! We will have to deal with that cat, then! She's probably hungry, because she's obviously a stray. I always liked cats but have not gotten one because I feed the birds and don't want them killed. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.
 

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