I lost my two favorite hens today to a fox. I was pretty sure that's what grabbed a hen last week, but had no proof. Today I heard a ruckus, and saw a fox running by the south side of the house, within 10 feet. I ran out, chased it bak the way it came, then went back the opposite direction and looped around to the north side of the house. I saw the fox on the north side of the house with my speckled sussex in his mouth, and my very very favorite EE on the snow, surrounded by feathers. I hoped against odds she was just stunned, but he had killed her. They had been foraging under some gigantic pine trees. Petrified, I went in search of the others. I found them hiding in the barn, in the goats' stall. I'm thinking they were running from the fox when I first saw it. I was shocked it was doing it at about 1:30 in the afternoon. I carried my poor hen into the barn, crying the whole way. I am so exhausted and nauseated right now! How can chickens be so dear to our hearts? I feel so badly about not watching them better, but they have been free ranging without incident for a year. My hens that are left are in the coop and run for awhile.... they hate it. SIGH. Hubby plans trying to get the fox when he returns from being out of town. Such a shame, because I really do believe in the natural cycle of things- I'm just so SAD my favorite hens got killed! So, now I'm thinking of getting some chicks. I'm thinking I may let them free range in a week or so, late in the day, so they will get out and then put themselves to bed. Tick season will soon be in full swing here, and I really was hoping to get good bug control this year. Thanks for listening!