For those keeping score, this is our third batch of chicks for the year. (And the last, thank goodness. Love the little peepers, but the dust and the smell...)
Our first batch was the hatch from the incubator, which ended badly. We now suspect it was a raccoon that got our little cuties, though Madman has twice spotted a fox lurking in the area. (The first time, he went charging out the door with a .22, scaring it away from the main chicken yard fence that it was checking out. He managed to get off one shot as the fox headed back to the woods, but even Madman couldn't hit a fox with a .22 while at a full gallop. (Both him and the fox...))
The second batch of chicks - the largest - is now happily living in a nice yard of their own. Madman has a trap set near their fence, just in case the fox makes another appearance.
This batch consists of 30 more meat birds, some of which will end up in our own freezer later this summer, and a dozen Buff Orpington girlchix* who will be added to our laying flock. (And hopefully, this time they really will be Buff Orpingtons, rather than the interlopers we were sold last year under that name.)
*We wanted straight-run chicks, but that wasn't an option from the feedstore through whom we ordered the chicks. Given the problems we've had getting chicks through that feedstore, I doubt we'll be doing any future business with them anyway. (Things like closing down order-taking 4 days before their stated deadline without giving notice, wrong breeds, wrong delivery dates, etc, etc, etc. Not.Happy. Though their customer service has at least upgraded slightly from their original stance of Sucks-to-be-You.)