Last night, two black bears got into the bigger "better" chick tractor, and killed 10 or 11 chicks. One or both tried to get into the shorter triangle tractor the nuggets are in, but could not touch them apparently. Hubby caught the bears red-mouthed and in the act.
Once we scared off the bears (very loud noise from a cap-and-ball black powder pistol, our noisiest firearm) we tried to assess the damage and catch the survivors who began coming out of various hiding spots. This morning, there was one more survivor where the bigger tractor had been, looking for his buddies and food. They aren't holding very still for counting, but it looks like we have 12 or 13 assorted chicks left now, along with all 8 of the nuggets.
I did not see the bears, but from hubby describing one as smaller than the other, I suspect this was a repeat visit from our unwelcome neighbor who came up on our porch (!) back in October.
While it is extremely expensive to build a bear-proof coop, and logistically impossible to make a bear-proof tractor, we are toying with the idea of setting up a safe zone with electric fence perimeter to scoot the tractors around inside. Unfortunately that will need to wait until payday.