I recently lost 2 out of 7 wonderful birds to predators. One of the situations was totally my fault as I was an hour late locking up the coop after dusk. (Hanging head low in shame) The second however was a neighborhood cat. It left my chickens alone for 5 months and now has decided it needed a play toy. There are two neighborhood cats that roam but like I said it had been 5 months with no problems. In the past month I have seen a small Hawk on two different occasions. One time it was perched on top of the coop overlooking my backyard the second time I just seen it fly overhead And stop briefly on neighboring tree. So... I feel like time is ticking, my teeny tiny little backyard is the enchanted Forest. I have shot the skunks and possums... But not really thinking I want to shoot the neighborhood cat or a hawk. And... Even so, I'm not hovering over my chickens all day. Someone has suggested wolf urine to keep the cats/four-legged predators away. Thoughts on that? I have talked to the neighbor who owns the cats and she is very blasé about the whole thing "cats will be cats tehee" and since she has had her cats before I owned chickens I haven't even brought up the idea of her keeping her cats indoors at all times...I already know what the answer would be. Also we are friends. At least for now anyways. Now this hawk thing ,well I lived in Florida and the restaurants would string lights above the outdoor seating. I used to think it was for decoration but I was told it actually kept the flying birds away from the customers that were dining. Do you think stringing lights from my deck to my fence would deter a hawk? Obviously all of this is to try and continue to allow for them to be able to free range during the day. My yard is small and filled with life, fun, vegetable fruit and flower gardens-boxing in an area would suck. Now that it is fall things are starting to die and there is less space to hide under things. They've been able to roam for six months and my gold Orpington would bark all day if I locked her up... I think. None of my girls are laying eggs yet they're all still too little I wonder if their behavior and desire to roam as much will change when they start laying eggs? So another question- winter is coming if my coupe is open will my girls willingly stay in the coop during winter ? Or will they not care about the cold and want out? Snow? I think all these things will affect my long-term protection plan and how aggressive I go. So... I'm very worried please help! 1. Wolf urine 2. Cat protection for free range 3. Hawk protection for free range 4. Winter/ egg laying behavior 5. Are they doomed to be confined to a fenced area? * sorry if the thread was too long, thanks and be blessed.