I am new to raising chickens. My step daughter and I raised four chicks born on Easter Sunday. The Rhode Island Reds were beautiful and sweet as could be. We had moved them to their coop outside several weeks ago, and they were doing great. The coop was latched and enclosed. It was a coop purchased with a runner added. The chickens went up each night to roost in the "second floor". This morning when I got up and looked across the yard, they were not down running around as usual, and I noticed the door to the nesting area was unlatched and flopped open. I just knew this wasn't good. When I walked up to check...all four were dead. Two were missing their heads, one was completely torn apart and eaten. I had to break the news to my step daughter who was really upset. We are now "starting over"...but want to make sure we have a better plan in place to protect them. What would have opened the latch to the door? I am thinking maybe a raccoon, I know they are pretty cleaver. I am so upset about it and want to take the right steps to keep away the predators. I know that we have skunks around...which means we likely have other animals.
We did put out a trap and will try to get the thing tonight. However, I want to make sure we secure the coop better...any tips for security would be greatly appreciated!