Seems like a large part of a chicken-keeper's life is spent protecting them from everything out there. "Tastes like chicken" isn't a cliche--it's the truth! Everything loves chicken.
Back in August, 58 day old chicks arrived at the farm. 25 Red Star, 25 Black Star, 5 Ameracaunas, 1 "Exotic breed" and 2 extras. I know I've lost 3 of them to who-knows-what and 2 of them to predatory hawks. I thought I had overhead predators foiled with fence wire and surveying flags every 4-6 feet over top of the pen but I've seen hawks circling the pen on numerous occasions. I've tried to count the baby chickens--it's really hard to cound 50+ chickens while they are milling about the pen. The most I can count is 47 or so. That means the hawks are winning.
So, I have to be smarter than the hawks. I have a computer. I found an article in an old Mother Earth News about someone who strung fishing line in a "cobweb" over the chicken coop. A spool of 10 pound test, about 45 minutes and tripping over several curious chickens and Voila! I hope the hawks can see fishing line.
Another recent note on the chicken predators--of the subterranean kind. "Gopher" rats have invaded the Happy Hens complex and have undermined a lot of rock paving put in place around the coop. Again, I inquired of the Internet how to deal with the problem and an "old time remedy" for dealing with these type of rats (without poison) is to use a mixture of cornmeal and plaster of paris. I used 1/2 and 1/2 and poured the mix down into the holes that the rats had made. It turns to "concrete" in their stomachs and kills them.
Religiously, every day for two weeks, I poured a handful of the cornmeal/plaster mixture into each hole the rats had made, and finally I smelled the stench of a dead rat--yay! Since then I've smelled that smell a few times. This is going to be an ongoing process as rats multiply continuously, AND a continuous process keeping an "eye on the sky". Then there are the raccoons, muskrats, weasels ........