Last Monday, I posted promised photos of the newbie chicks.
This Monday, it's not as happy news.
Friday evening, I moved the seven chicks (fully feathered) out to my portable coop. We hadn't seen ANY animal activity around either of the coops, so I was pretty ok with this move. Plus, it got the chicks out of my neighbor's bin (two sturdy garden boxes stacked on top each other, braced, with wire on top). I moved the coop a bit closer to the house, just for my own comfort.
Saturday morning, there were only two chicks in the coop, very freaked out and scared-- one frizzle and one of the black silkies. No more partridges, no other black silkie or frizzle, and no red silkie.
I found feather bits of one and a body of another. But that's all.
I suspect it was either a very feral and hungry cat, or it was a raccoon. What I suspect went down is that the chicks, new to their pen, did not stay in the house portion of the coop. They went out and nestled against one of the walls. This made for easy grabbing through chicken wire, which is why I'm leaning moreso on the more dexterous raccoons being the culprits. There isn't enough space for a chick to voluntarily get under the pen, or for a raccoon to get under the pen, but there is enough space for an already limp chick to be squished under the pen and taken out. If they had just been in the house, they would have been ok. In fact, that's where I found the two survivors.
I'm sad. I was pretty out of it on Saturday morning. I'm glad that it was the new chicks rather than my grown up girls. And, at least it was soon after getting the new ones, so my investment and attachment wasn't as strong. It was probably quick too, so that's some comfort. And, with 4 of the 5 chicks gone, they were probably dinner. This makes me feel a little better; it wasn't some sick housecat playing cat and mouse for fun. At least this loss served a purpose... it doesn't make me feel better, but it's a little something.
So, the two remaining chicks got put back in the bin. I went to a sale at the recycling place I love (hey, 40% off...quite a sale), and I happened to find a big cage with a plastic bottom. PERFECT for two chicks. I'm going to set it up today and put them in it.