Building the best chicken-yard in the world does no good at all if you don't make SURE you've locked it up tight at night. I'm done crying now, but I'm still kicking myself for my stupidity. I'm not even blaming my husband, though we're equally at fault. We've been letting the flock of 29 10-week-old buff Orpingtons (well, including 3 non-BOs: a silver leghorn and 2 Araucana/EEs) come out to range in the afternoons. We enjoy sitting outside with a cold drink and watching them. And they've been really great about heading back to their yard and coop at sunset, at which point one of us goes out and locks them up tight and turns on the electric fence. Except last night, we each, for whatever reason, thought that the other one had done it. This morning, the destruction was devastating. We collected 7 dead bodies from the area around the chicken yard. Not a visible mark on any of them, no blood, just dead. Big, beautiful, healthy, wonderful birds, including our favorite roo, just dead. Inside the yard, 4 Buff Orps are still living, two pullets and two cockerels. One of the cockerels is limping a little, though. Totally MISSING are 15 birds: 13 Buff Orps and 2 Araucana/EEs. We found a whole bunch of feathers from the Araucanas, so aren't holding out any hope for them, but we're foolishly hoping that perhaps a few more live Buff Orps are hiding somewhere and may turn up. I know, they're not. But still. I'm just sick. And this late in the year, I don't want to have to order from a hatchery again, but I don't know of any breeders local to me (I'm in central Arkansas). Plus the wind's just been taken out of my sails, knowing that all that hard work was obliterated due to my own carelessness, and could have been avoided if we'd just asked each other last night, "Did you put the chickens up?" From now on, believe me, there WILL be an evening checklist: Feed/water horses, walk dogs, lock up the chicken yard. Ironically, my Narragansett turkey poults arrived today, but I can't even enjoy them like I would have otherwise, because the pall of losing almost all of my chickens in one night is hanging over me.