Hi all, I'm thinking about getting a guard bird or two for my hens. Everything was going great. I decided to let the girls out earlier than normal to forage. I was home the whole day, but something managed to get all 3 without any trace. I don't want chickens if I'm just going to keep them penned up all the time. I want to let them forage some, but I'm tired of getting in a safe routine and then losing them. I figured it was a hawk at first, but I just don't know at this point. My dog is out there, but if the chickens wander out of sight, he's pretty useless as he doesn't follow them around. I've read about people using guinea fowl, geese or roosters to help warn the hens or even protect them, but I guess I just don't know how much more care is involved and what would work better for my case. I've had guinea fowl before, not while I had hens though. I'm guessing they only alert to danger and don't do much as far as scaring off. They were pretty easy to manage. The rooster I had was useless, scared of his own shadow. Then there's geese. I've never had geese before. Never had an ambition to have one. But I keep reading about how great they are for protecting your flock. I just don't know how well they do and how much care they need. Do they need a pond or pool of water? Do they stay with the chickens in the coop? I only have a small coop that could maybe fit 6 hens max. Are there small geese that work just as hard? All the geese I've seen are pretty big. Does it matter to have a male or a female? Breeds? Any opinions are greatly appreciated. I live in Illinois, so the only chicken predators that are much of a threat at this point are coyotes, foxes and hawks.