I've posted this story on my "Journey" thread which is all about I practice total freeranging but thought I'd start a new thread for it - I call it Dead Chicken Walking ****************** Late yesterday afternoon I was out walking around and came across a pile of red feathers including some black tail feathers in front of old log cabin just at edge of woods. At first I thought something had gotten one of the two RIR roos but went to check and they were both present and accounted for. Couldn't count the hens till they all returned to coop at night and yes, there were 7 instead of 8 so whatever it was did get one of them. There are some old nest boxes on cabin that some of the Reds like to lay in. Anyway, at the time I found the feathers I called Rex (my GSD) over and told him to "Find" - I meant the predator that did this. He sniffed the pile of feathers, ran around in a circle with nose to ground as he does when told "Find" then took off running into woods. I followed him till the trail ran out and was crawling through thick briars and undergrowth. I could hear him way off in woods barking at something. I could go no farther and then realized I had no idea which way was out. Thought for a minute I was going to have to call Rex to come get me but did find my way out. By the way, I did that once before, got lost in woods and finally had to tell Rex "Home" and followed him out of the woods. He's a great dog. Back to mystery. I find my way out of woods, Rex comes back, I go start counting chickens. I come in and tell DH that something got one and he said that Rex had been barking for a long time at something behind the barn that morning so that's probably when it happened. So this moring I told DH not to let the chickens out till I got up much later - he lets them out really early when he gets up. So I get up, take my pack of dogs out back thinking I would let them sniff out and run off whatever might be lurking before I let my chickens out. Sure enough Rex takes another whiff of the feathers and takes off running and barking into woods again. Here's where the story gets interesting. I come up to coop to let chickens out. I closed the run gate in an effort to contain them just a little longer but I know they can hop the fence. So I'm feeding everyone and come out of run. I see Scarlett (GSD 7 month old "puppy") sniffing at a red chicken on ground, next to fence outside run. I yell at her and even threw a bucket at her because I thought she had just caught a chicken that had maybe hopped the fence that quickly and was doing her puppy mauling thing again which she hasn't done in a long time. (When she was younger she liked to play with the chickens - didn't hurt them just got them wet and soppy but the chickens didn't like it too much - she doesn't bother them now. ) I go to check the chicken and realize it's cold and hard. I flip it over and it was partially eaten - had a small hole out of it but nothing else bothered on it. Now I'm really puzzled - when did this happen? I go count all the RIRs and all are present and accounted for that I counted the night before. I wonder, "Did I miscount last night?" Did the badly injured chicken find it's way home after hours and die right here? I know the dead chicken was not there the night before when I locked them all up. Only thing I think I've figured out is that Rex did a great job on "Find" and he went and found his chicken and brought it back to the coop and left it right there by the gate. I don't know if he did it last night or early this morning. I'm guessing last night since if it had been left in woods all night there would not be anythng left to it. Then he must have guarded it all night so that nothing else bothered it. Good Rex. Gotta love that dog.