All the chickens went out to play. At lunch they were still around the yard. At dusk, all but one came back. After 30 minutes of searching, and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, we gave up looking. There was no response to our calls and light was going fast. We waited another 30 minutes to see if she came back, then locked up the chickens for the night. She didn’t show up this morning. Our Malinois mix has growled off and on at something in the woods behind our yard. She is the one who alerted me to the neighbor. I know we have a hawk living back there, but it has never bothered our hens. It might have decided to give it a go.
Either way, something got her or our neighbor, who I found in the corner of my backyard a few days ago, took her. He has his own chickens, but he is super paranoid about people crossing on to his property. We discovered why when he was raided and arrested for growing marijuana. He may have taken her because she wandered over the lines. If we lose another one, I hate to do it, but we’re going to have to “ground” them. I use kennel panels for their run. I have two extras I can add to give them more room. I hate the idea of locking them up and turning them from “free-range” into “pastured”. It will be a temporary move until we can put up perimeter fencing. If it turns out to be the neighbor, I’m going to try to move.