The neighbor called today. "One of your chickens is laying on its back with its legs up in the air. I don't think that's good."
I went outside to find all of the smart, RIRs, Barred Rocks, etc. hiding in the henhouse, and all but 2 of the dumb meat birds walking around saying "Hey, where'd everybody go?"
One chicken was barely pecked on its neck...a hole about the size of a raisin. It either hit just the right nerve (no blood) or it was scared and had a heart attack. The other wounded chicken was hiding in the corner, sliced from her neck to her wings like a zipper. There was blood everywhere and she was panting. We snapped her neck to put her out of her misery.
I scanned the chickenyard. Because of the clean slices, I doubted it was a dog, but I checked the fences just in case. I scanned the trees for signs of an avian predator, but I didn't see anything.
I phoned the neighbor to thank him. He informed me that his mother, upon arriving at his house moments before, announced "I saw the nicest hawk perched in your neighbor's pecan tree on the way in!" Well, I suppose we have an eye witness.
I've read that most Hawks are very territorial. I'm hoping that because this hawk was larger than the ones we normally see around here (he must have been big if he assumed he could take off with a 25lb. broiler!) that he is just passing through the area.
I'll keep the rest of the flock locked up for a week or so and we'll see if he gives up and moves on.
If he doesn't, I can only hope that we don't have to send the kids out to play with umbrellas like these people.
BTW: Don't even suggest deer netting. It's uglier than water barrels. I'd rather buy a billygoat bodyguard for protection.