We have a small flock of consisting of what used to be 16 hens laying and 13 pullets and 2 Roosters. In the past week we have lost 4 of the older hens and 1 of the pullets. They are free ranging on about 3 acres of fenced pasture. We have found only small piles of feathers from 3 of the birds. I did find one of the hens at the back of the pasture and (pardon the graphic description) she was split up the belly and inards were gone but the egg that she would have laid was still intact and visable, as well as her head and neck were gone. Baby Red was the hen that I found and she was our favorite. She would follow us around the field and actually liked to be picked up and carried around. Our flock has been free ranging for nearly 3 years and we have never had this problem before. Now we are loosing birds at an unbelievable rate. Typically if there are any hawks or vultures flying overhead in the area the two roosters will "herd" the girls into the barn to safty and they will stand "guard" until the threat passes. Does anyone have any thought on how to prevent any more dissapearing birds? Right now the only thought I have had was to sit out behind the barn with the shotgun and eliminate anyting bigger than a sparrow. Please help. Thanks in advance everybody. I appreciate any and all suggestions. Ross and Darlene Russo.