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I just put our first set of 6 weeks old chicks outside last night. We have them in a large fenced in lot, inside another 20X10 foot dog lot, with a cedar chip lined dog house (that they slept in last night) and a coop that we built for daytime fun.<br><br>
I closed them up in the dog lot last night for so they would get used to being outside (and b/c the coop wasn't up and ready until this morning) and opened the lot this morning to let them run around in the grass. They preferred the dog lot (there are no dogs out there) so I left them alone.<br><br>
SO was out there later tonight with the kids playing with the new chicks and I was napping with the babe on the couch. We woke up after dark and I asked SO if the chick were put back up in the dog lot and it seems the lot did not get locked back, thinking they would get in the coop instead.<br><br>
So we head out with a light and cannot find those chicks anywhere. Good news is I saw no signs of a massacre, bad news is I saw no signs of anything. It's like the have vanished. We drove the neighborhood (we are on 1 acre in a neighborhood in the county) and of course, it's not like they were walking the streets and it seems they do not come when they are called.<br><br>
What do I do? Will they be back tomorrow? If they do return, should I clip their wings? If they don't I guess I'll be getting some more. I'm so sad about this. All that work to get them to this size...all that poop, all that smell...all for nothing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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lol...at your comment regarding all the poop and all that smell for nothing.<br>
I've so been there, and those were my exact thoughts.<br>
I know that cat's can carry chickens off, as do racoons.<br>
On a brighter note, one of my chicken's was missing for a couple of days and this morning SO told me it was back again.<br>
And it was. No sign of trauma. I have no idea where he was.<br>
I hope you find your chickens.<br>
Keep us posted.
 

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I hope you find them too. I don't mean to upset you, but we have lost more chicks than I care to think about from racoons and a possum I think and there were absolutely no signs of anything when it happened. The only way we figured it out was that one time we saw some greyish fur on the coop where it squeezed in and out, and then we caught a possum in a animal trap. Anyway, on a more positive note, we have also had chickens disappear and have them come back a day or two later like nothing had happened. I sincerely hope yours come back, as I know how awful it is to loose animals.
 

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Baby chicks fit easily in a predator's mouth. They can just snatch them and move on. My coop is only half done, so I bring the chicks in at night. They are in my kitchen now. I think one is nearly 12 weeks old. Big girl. lol Keeps the others (about 6-10 weeks) warm.<br><br>
I am sorry you lost a couple. That's hard. Friends who raise chickens tell me it's important to get in a good routine of lock up. It doesn't take much for a predator to be encouraged.<br><br>
But I loved reading the other posters say they can stray and come back. Nice to know!
 
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