Let me put your mind at ease because I know you're worried: everyone is fine. Last night, I was out at dusk watering my garden, and all five girls were free ranging, snacking on the embarrassingly thick weeds in the back yard. I wasn't really paying attention to the chickens when all of the sudden I heard furious clucking and flapping wings. I turned around just in time to see a hawk swooping over the yard. All the girls ran for cover, hiding under bushes, and the hawk flew up and away. I ran over to check on the chickens and they all looked okay. No one was bleeding, and they didn't even seem to have ant rumpled feathers. After they confirmed the coast was clear, all five girls rushed back into the safety of their run.
The whole hawk incident lasted about 60 seconds, but it was pretty exciting. I was really impressed by the chickens' awareness of their surroundings. It seemed like one of them must have made a warning cry so the others knew to hide. The hawk wasn't very big, so I'm not sure it would have been able to carry off the bigger hens like Tina or Janice, but it could have possibly grabbed Rita or Betty. I'm not sure how much weight a hawk can carry.
Speaking of the new girls, here they are hanging out in their run a couple of weeks ago. They have settled in nicely, although there are definitely two chicken cliques--Tina and Peggy, the older girls, versus Betty, Rita and Janice.
The new girls' personalities have started to emerge. Janice seems sweet, but maybe not so smart. Rita is a bit shy. Betty has a similar attitude to Peggy, which makes sense since they're both Easter Eggers. Both girls are fast and a little feisty. Betty has been taking flying leaps off the top of stairs and wood piles, testing out her wings.
None of the new chickens have started laying, and we may have a while to wait because they don't even have combs or wattles yet. I hope they don't take too long because Peggy has pretty much quit laying. Tina's doing her best to provide for us, but there's only so much one hen can do.