Alright I went out a few hours ago and dug around in their shavings, but no chicks
I might have missed them as their shavings are kept fairly deep in the winter and they have a 12'x20' run in the garage, but I don't think so
I just would have thought that given that our garage is attached to our kitchen and we can hear the chickens and chicks getting loud when they're getting wound up or something is going on that we would have heard something when the babies were being taken away... but quiet as can be they're disappearing one by one and no one seems bothered by it (except me, obviously)
It was probably vermin of some kind, I know I've seen mice out there on occasion, but the next clutch is definitely coming in to the inside brooder until we move to the farm in February and have a proper set up. Poor babies
I would close up the coop at night, I put my guys up after dark and lock the door due to cats, bears, skunks and anything else coming through here you can think of. If you are still losing chicks check inside and under the coop. It may be too cold for snakes outside, but you may have one hiding in your coop to stay warm. Some northern american snakes are quite tolerant to cold including some large rat snakes. Can you bring the babies in? I keep my little ones in the garage in a tub with a heat lamp.
Our chicks and chickens are all housed in the garage inside their coop for the winter, that's why we were surprised that they were disappearing like that, they were in a coop w/ a run inside the garage that's attached to our house that's also sealed and shut up
I thought I was going to have to build a moat the way things were going (disappearing?) But when I went out to change their shavings w/o the kids and in better light than when I was digging around the other day I found one buried near the nest box and one buried in the run. So they weren't so much disappearing as being buried alive, likely by their mothers
I thought I dug around good the other day, but apparently not and the lighting in our garage isn't great in the afternoons. Hopefully this means we don't have any rats or snakes
But the next batch will be living in the house in a brooder, it's just too cold, and their mamas are too new at this. We'll try again with a broody in the spring, hopefully that'll go better.