As many of you know I am somewhat eccentric when it comes to my 18 silkie chickens. They have a built in home that is part of the house and a 10,000 sq ft walled courtyard to live in. I have been commuting between Boston MA and Vero Beach FL (where my chickens are) and have been emotionally torn by not being with them all week, though I do get to see them on the weekends. My housekeeper called me a week ago and told me that one of the babies disappeared. We have never had any problem and the birds free range all day in the courtyard. I thought that the landscapers had stolen it so I went and questioned them. They did not. I have a camera system for the house and the bird room and had it extended to the outside in order to keep track of what was going on that caused the loss of a bird. This morning I got a phone call from my housekeeper that a hawk that gotten ahold of my favorite hen, Uma, who was names after my deceased grandmother. She had to get him off of her. Uma was immediately taken to the vet but she sustained damage to her wing, crop (open), and face. The avian specialist told me that even with surgery it did not look good for Uma. I had her put to sleep. She was the special chicken that you rarely see. You know the one that seems to choose you as its closest companion and simply steals you heart. She was my somewhat indoor chicken. She wore a diaper most of the time and preferred to sit on my lap than to be part of the flock. She went on many outings with me and she had several custom outfits made from YSL fabrics for lunch parties. She would always go broods in the pantry. She was really inside unless she had chicks. She was simply the BEST mother I have ever seen and just inordinately kind yet strong at the same time. We had this thing that every evening after dinner I would lay down on the rug in front of the television and she would waddle over to me and slowly climb up using my arm as a step. She would settle in on my stomach knowing that her evening massage would ensue shortly. Today I was not there for her. She died alone for all she knew. I am having her cremated and have yet to determine what I will do with the ashes. I have hired a babysitter for the flock until I can resolve this problem. I am not a violent person and I know the emotions are raw right now but I have decided to get a shotgun and kill this hawk this weekend. I am assuming that he is the one that removed the baby chick and now he removed one of the few things in life that I loved: Uma. I know that there is a natural life cycle, but I dont care, I want him gone. I know he will not stop and there is no other way to resolve this that I can see. Screen enclosures are not permitted in my neighborhood and I am not going to keep the birds in their room all day when they have known free ranging for 3 years. I know that to the world she was just a chicken but all of my birds are my pets and Uma was my friend on some level. I miss her.