I am living one of dreams, which is to buy acreage and raise my kids in the country (153 acres, primarily young timber). I enjoy all wildlife and my domestic poultry. The birds are the first real thing my wife has taken an interest in on the farm. Saturday I was walking not far from my house on a trail I mow and a 6-7 foot long black rat snake (chicken snake) crossed the path in front of me. Immediately I had mixed emotions as I love snakes but feel obligated to protect our birds. I let him pass asI didn't have anything close to kill it anyway, although I could have easily caught him. Sunday I was walking with my daughters (4&6) and heard a strange sound about a 100 yards away. I led them down the road and saw a young raccoon on a limb, apparently in a den on a rotten tree. I enjoy watching them in their natural environment. Then I came home, went in for a while, and noticed one of our young guineas feeding with the chickens for a change. They have never associated with the chickens, always choosing to go it alone around the farm. There was no sign of the other two keets. Nightfall came and no sign of the other two keets, but the one was sleeping under the hens, getting along fine (first time ever).I got up this morning , let the birds out, and the young keet wasn't paying attention and got left behind. I picked it up to carry it towrd the door and it squawked. The rooster came running to protect her! Now I am wondering, where do I draw the line on predator control? I have so many, and i enjoy watching them as well, but in the last month I have lost a hen, a young roo (I would have gotten rid of anyway), and now two keets have disappeared. I have been trapping any varmints that come near the chicken yard, and killed two large chicken snakes the chickens were compalining about in the yard, but should I launch a wider control effort to be able to keep my birds?