Well, we had gone away with the pen (as it just seemed too small for the 30 pullets we'll have out there in another week or so) and have been letting everyone (goats included) just roam our 3/4 acre yard. All was going swimmingly until yesterday. I had gone inside to check on my "nappers" (for those who don't know, I run a small day care here and spend 'naptime' outside with the chicks and goats with the baby monitor on my hip!) and right as I got in the door, I heard it. The screech that stopped me DEAD in my tracks. A hawk. I turned in time to see a HUGE red tail hawk swooping down at my 11 weekers. ChickenDuck was doing his best to defend off the would be assailin, as I ran back out the door hoping my presence would deture the creature. No such luck. It screamed again and swooped towards ChickenDuck. NOOOOOOO! I heard myself scream. Out of nowhere comes my cat, Ruthie, who has been trying the "outdoor" thing for a week now and generally spending most of the day outside. She normally stays well away from the chickens because the goats scare her! Anyhow...she comes racing out from under the house and kinda does this almost slow-motion looking jump/kick thing at the hawk, who then turns his attention from ChickenDuck to her. This is one HUGE hawk, by the way, it easily dwarfs my 12 pound cat. I run back in to get a broom. I come back out as ChickenDuck ushers the rest of his ladies into the coop and stands guard at the door, making this really weird sound. Ruthie and Hawk are still fighthing it out. Ruthie has all of her claws, but the hawk has talons. I hear my cat growling and the hawk screaching as I run to her aide (with my trusty broom.... ) but as I get to her, all I can see is a cloud of dust an feathers flying. I swing the broom anyway (well above where I'd guessed my cat was) but it didnt find its target. As the dust settled, I saw my cat (though limping a little) surrounded by a mound of fluff and feathers, that I am guessing WAS the hawk. My CAT killed a hawk? Wow... Anywho, Ruthie spent the rest of the day very near the coop door. Once all had settled, ChickenDuck came out cautiously to survey the yard and after some time, he called everyone else out. Most of them had their eyes fixed on the sky for the rest of the day. Ruthie stayed at the coop door the whole time. I called her in at dusk, but the chickens were still out so she stayed put. Once they'd all gone into the coop and I locked them up for the night, she followed me inside. Her left front leg looks a bit swollen, but there are no obvious wounds. Its not broken, because she will put weight on it and use it. I think she just banged it in the scuffle. Well, I went out this morning to let the chickens out, and Ruthie was by my side. As soon as I opened the coop door, she laid near it and is still there now. I am glad its over and that shes ok, and I feel safer having her stand guard. I cant trust my dog with the chickens because he's a lab and thinks everything that runs is a play thing. So, I guess I'll have to settle for a Guard CAT??!?