Hi to all, I'm a new member. I've learned a lot from this forum and now have some specific questions about chicken behavior and recovery from predators. I hope I'm posting in the right area... Last spring we raised 6 chicks, named them all (of course!) and watched every behavior. The chickens have been free ranging in our yard and loving it. We had 2 Buff Orps, 2 Rhode Island Red and 2 Ameracaunas. 8 days ago, my chickens started to put themselves to bed around 4pm and I had 2 missing. I started looking around and Dotty was limping toward the coop, barely able to move. The other one never came home. (both RI Reds--the friendliest in my bunch) The injured one had a big patch of feathers missing under her wing and what looked like a bite--2 puncture wounds on the top and a U shaped cut under. I patched her up, have been making sure she's healing and she'll be ok. The one that's missing, presumed dead, was the alpha. She herded everyone, was the lookout, tried to be responsible. I'm guessing the attacker probably went for Dotty (now injured) but the other tried to protect her and got attacked herself. Here are my questions: Predator: We live on 5 acres in WA--any number of animals could be the culprit. It was afternoon when this happened. I'm thinking coyote, dog, maybe even bobcat. I haven't found even 1 feather to show where a scuffle might have taken place. Other ideas? Behavior since the attack: The hens have barely left the coop. Our setup has a 2 story compact coop inside a 20x10 6' high pen. Usually they're lined up in the a.m. to get out of the coop and when I open the pen door, they all run to the yard to free range. If I don't open the pen, I have 2 that can still fly over the fence and have fun on the outside. None of that since the attack. I'm rethinking free ranging--maybe in winter there are too many hungry things. We'll start up again in the spring or maybe look into a chicken tractor of some sort. But I'm concerned because the chickens aren't eating much, and hardly leave the top floor of the coop (where they sleep and where the nest boxes are). Anyone else seen this? Noises: They huddle together and make a quiet purring. Doesn't seem like a happy noise. Even yesterday I was still hearing it. Grieving? Scared? I haven't heard any happy clucks. Eggs: They were barely laying any, being that it's winter, but for the few that have come the shells are paper thin. Stress? Strategy: I was kind of grateful not to end up with a rooster last year but now I'm wondering if we need a new leader. Do I get an adult rooster and go through quarantine, etc or will the new pecking order evolve and the girls will recover without adding anyone? Thanks in advance for the advice.