The other night I dreamed that the friendly little chickies had been killed...by kittens. I don't know why by kittens. In the dream, I held the broken body of my favorite little chickie, which was very sad and also creepy, the way dead things smaller than a breadbox are when you hold them. And then I woke up.
Understandably, I was a little anxious when I let the chickies out after the sun rose later on that morning. But everyone was fine, cheeping and peeping as per usual. I had a talk with them as they came out: "Listen, kids. Kittens look cute, but they are fluffy, bloodthirsty killers. If you see one you should tell your mom." They were all, "Whatever, lady. I hope you brought delicious apple cores." And I was all, "OK, I did."
That evening, for a special treat, I let the mom and chickies out of their super-safe baby area. They were thrilled about all the new forage. I stayed with them so I could hustle them back in in case of hawks. But good fortune smiled on the chicken family, and they were threatened by neither of their natural predators. No hawks or kittens menaced the quiet gloaming.