I'm a relatively new poster to BYC although I have lurked for the past year Last year I got it into my head to get chickens, so I framed a coop and then ran and picked up 3 chicks and a duckling. We ended up with all girls (thank goodness!) and our first flock was formed! We had a Rhode Island Red named "Red", a Golden Comet named "Sunny", an Easter Egger I named "Tullulah" we called her Tully and a pretty little Mallard that has gone through a bunch of names none of which have stuck and is still called "Duck". This past year has been filled with learning experiences, from building the coop (what a disaster!) to winterizing the darn thing (don't get me started), and a number of water containers trying to find the right one (still working on that one!). As spring sprung I felt so guilty that they were cooped up all day that I would come home and let them out a few hours in the back yard (under adult supervision of course). We have a large approximately half acre fenced in back yard. We used 4ft livestock fence and so far it had done well. I started letting them out longer and without as close supervision. A few weeks ago I even left them out while I ran a quick errand in town. I grew more comfortable the more we "practiced" and before we knew it, we had free-range chickens!! This weekend, our neighbor's dogs found a hole in our fence... I posted the story under the emergency's thread. Long story short... Sunny and Tully did not survive the day. Red was in her box popping out an egg and missed the whole thing and poor ducky had a good bite on her wing but was able to get away and hide. Shew, I'm going to start crying again! We had a funeral for our beloved girls, and even bought a little chicken statue to put in the backyard. My boys are 8 and 10 and this helped I think. But then I was left with a recuperating duck and one lonely hen who has lost her sisters. What's a distressed chicken mama to do!!??? I thought it over and we talked about it. Duck doesn't sleep in the box, she likes it down below. Red is going to need nest mates before winter comes. And we loved the personality of our precious Sunny. So tonight, I cleaned out the brood box and off we went to Southern States. We came home with 2 new Golden Comets, and a Khaki Campbell duckling. They are all 3 sweet as can be and totally adorable. It doesn't take the pain of losing our first flock, but it does ease it a little. Looking forward to see how these babies grow up. Next step; Reinforcing the coop and fence. This place is going to look like Fort Knox by the time I'm done! I look forward to sharing our journey and learning more along the way. As soon as I learn how to upload pictures I plan on doing so!