Well, it happened yesterday. I wanted to share with those who love chickens, too. Watch out for the coyotes. They are always watching, and they can be very bold! It was a beautiful day in Phoenix following lots of rain. The chickens were happy to get out of the coop as they had been kept in during the rainy days. We keep them in for two reasons. One is that when it rains, they want to get out of it, which usually means getting on the patio and snuggling up on my patio furniture! Ugh! The other is that when it rains, coyotes run everywhere. Rain floods their usual hiding places, dens, and trails. They get confused and just roam. On rainy days in the desert, you can see coyotes at shopping malls, at the gas station, in your front yard, on all the roads and wandering around school playgrounds. This puts the chickens in more danger than usual, so I prefer to just keep them off the patio and out of harm's way. So, as I said, they were glad to get out on such a sunny day. The earth worms had been flooded up from the ground and were providing a tasty treat for the chickens. I appreciated them cleaning up those nasty worms. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon. DH was helping my dad on his boat in the front yard, next door. I had just gone to the backyard next door to visit with my mom and their new puppy. The kids were in the family room playing wii. The dog was inside with the kids, and the chickens were roaming the yard as usual. Mom and I heard a chicken squawk and wondered what it was. Then we heard it again and saw a chicken flapping above the 6 foot fence. We ran over and saw 3 chickens outside the fence. We figured that they were squawking because they were trying to get back in. Without looking into the yard (why didn't I just look into the yard?!?) we started herding the chickens around the front of the house to the other side where I assumed they had come from. This took several minutes and when we got to the other gate, the chickens refused to go in. I opened the gate to see chickens running and a coyote in my yard!! I started yelling and running, and mom did, too. DH came running. Mom saw the coyote jump my 6 foot fence and then had to chase him away as he didn't want to leave. I wish she had had a gun. We accounted for each chicken. 9 were okay, one lay mortally wounded in the yard and another struggled to walk, falling over, laboring to breathe. They were Henny, our big ol' Buff Orpington, and Flare, a beautiful Speckled Sussex. Both were great layers. Henny laid huge eggs. She was a great character, and Flare was the chicken that DS named when we brought them home as chicks. We were all devastated, realizing what we had to do. One of the important lessons in having chickens that I wanted my children to learn, was that they are here to provide food. There would be no life saving attempts, no nursing the birds back to health. They had to be put out of their misery, butchered and baked. The children knew this. Now, as much as I wanted this lesson to be a part of our chicken raising adventure, I dreaded it, and now I wept at our loss. We dearly loved those chickens. They had names and little personalities. But we did what had to be done, albeit tearfully. My dad was there to coach us on what to do. He and mom were great support. They taught me these lessons about animals when I was young. I am thankful they were there to help us pass on the wisdom to my kids. DH and my dad set out with guns and binoculars to hunt the coyote who would surely be back soon. They were unable to spot him that day, but his fate is sealed. He has discovered our chickens and will come back over and over again until he has killed them all. I find myself harboring the appropriate hatred of the competing predators. So, Flare and Henny are gone. Farewell girls. Thanks for the eggs.