I had gotten complacent last summer and started letting my chickens roam the barn and sheep pens. Suddenly my chickens started disappearing, and we were down to four. I locked them in the barn at night but I didn't slide the big wired door in front. My husband even sat in the barn with his gun a few nights with no luck. A few nights later the killers came back and yanked a pair of my quail through the chicken wire (!! Those poor things! The wire wasn't even broke! I can't imagine!) and my chickens were all gone too. Or so I thought. The next morning I was crying in my barn when my last hen just walks in the barn back to her coop. Smarty pants was hiding somewhere either outside or in front of the barn with the cats and avoided being eaten. She went in her coop and I made sure to lock the hold coop up.
The next night the killers came back again for the other two quail, but this time we noticed my dog freaking out. My husband ran out with his gun and spotlight and killed this humongous raccoon. I mean the bugger was HUGE! It was a relief but the next morning I was looking into the backyard at my apple trees and I see these raccoon kits just pouring out of the tree. This mama had seven kits that she was sustaining off of my flock. I phoned my husband who was in his ranch office next door with an employee who gladly helped cull the family of raccoons down. Two got away through my pumpkin patch and into the tall grass but I haven't had a problem since.
The survivor hen settled into her nest box and didn't move for weeks. I assumed that she was just depressed but she had a surprise for me! She had been incubating two eggs, but abandoned one once the first hatched. It was the only chick I had then entire time, but I love my Salmon Brahma pullet. I also received two Buttercup hens and another SF hen from the 4Hers again to keep my hen company. This spring I will be getting 15 more chicks, including all three variety of Brahmas and some Easter Eggers and three Cayuga ducklings. I am also expanding my coop into a covered run. Wish me luck!