Here's what I know:
They were all in their coop before sundown. I didn't shut the door to their coop because I was out to dinner when it got dark. I got home, did a little cleaning and my mom came over to drop something off. When I ran out to grab the item, I heard my ladies squawking like when they lay an egg during the day. And I heard something running through the woods behind the coop.
I ran over, and my mother followed. She checks in on them during the day, so she was concerned as well. One was off her roost and the rest were very, very scared, all crammed into the corner. And one, after counting, was missing. There were not a lot of feathers or anything. Also, no tracks that I could see, although it is dark and my flashlight is not huge.
I noticed two sections of their coop fence were ripped - I have plastic netting on the top that is tied to wire fencing along the perimeter. At one corner of their fence, the plastic netting was ripped down. It was covered with a swampy smelling mud. About a mile from my house, across the street, there is a swamp. At the other section of the fence, 2 horizontal pieces of the fence were torn off, and the whole section of fence was bent in very far and the vertical pieces looked to have been bent like something tried to fit through or rip it apart, like this ( ( ) )
Any ideas what would or could do that? The footsteps I heard sounded medium to large.
I'm in Northwest NJ. I have lost birds to foxes and hawks when they were free ranging, but never anything in their coop before.
Thanks for your thoughts!