It is bad out there.
I heard yesterday that we were in for a freeze last night and that immediately sent me on a guilt trip. I had two chickens freeze to death last week (almost unheard of in this region) and I only have two left. I started out with a dozen a few years ago, but the coves of western North Carolina are not "chicken friendly." A hawk got three of them and I ran him off before he got more. I considered shooting him and even went out to Walmart to buy shells for my ancient .22 rifle, but the clerk told me that there was a stiff fine for shooting a hawk. So, I covered the top of the chicken lot with wire and I even noticed the hawk in a nearby tree, watching. He hung around for a week and even came back a month later, but he finally vanished. Then, a fox got two more, and I am damned reluctant to shoot a fox. One night, insomnia got me up and I wandered out on my deck in time to see two "kits" who were rolling over and over in the grass in front of my chicken lot. Baby foxes! I moved and the deck creaked and they were gone. They are somewhere up on that hill behind me .... a fox den. Instead of going off on a rampage to kill them all, I have decided to take my chances. So far, so good. No more foxes in the hen house.
Some strange infection got two more, and then last week, two more froze to death in the chicken house. I felt a need to save these last two hens, so I ran an expensive extension cord to the chicken house and installed a 60-watt bulb. Did it work? Well, we will see.