Hello BYC! Before I start, I would like to tell you that I am fairly new to chickens AND to online forums, so please excuse any newbie errors. I am a mom of two teenage daughters and have a cat that rules the house. We live in central Florida. I decided almost a year ago that since we moved to a rural area that raising chickens would be a good experience for my girls. I'm not sure why I decided this because I always hated chickens (a chick pecked me in the eye when I was little). So anyway, I went and bought three little chicks, I picked out a fluffy yellow one and a black one with pale yellow markings on it. As I was about to walk away, I saw this little black chick diving into a sea of larger yellow ones. I remember thinking about the ugly duckling. I scooped it up and told the man that I would like one male and two females. He checked the chicks I was holding and told me that is what I had. I brought the new babies home and set them up in a cat carrier with heating lamp and then put that into a large dog cage. My girls were thrilled when they saw them. As the chicks grew, I began reading everything I could find about chickens. That is how I found BYC. You all helped me raise healthy, happy birds. We converted an old playhouse into a coop and at three months old, the chicks moved in. We made a point of playing with them everyday and couldn't wait until we saw our first egg. I made them designer nests out of woven neon easter baskets. We waited and waited. One day, the sweet little black hen bit me and crowed. The yellow "roo" still hadn't. Ok, the man got it wrong but I still had two hens and a rooster. About a month later, the yellow one bit me and crowed the next day. I was worried about having two roosters and one poor hen. Still no eggs. When they were about six months old the "poor hen" bit my mom and.....yup....crowed! Roosters 3 Hens 0 Jazzy (my huge solid black marans) was taken by an even bigger bird(the neighborhood is still arguing about what it is). I used extreme caution for several months and the other two learned to hide when they saw anything flying overhead. We didn't have anymore problems until three days ago. I heard a dog barking in our yard, we don't have a dog, and when I looked outside I saw these big black birds cornering a small dog against our house. I scared them away and went looking for my roos. Nugget (French Black Copper Marans) was next door visiting their chickens. I couldn't find Archie (big Buff Orpington). I walked around to his favorite hiding spot and found feathers everywhere. Just like with Jazzy, there was no blood and no carcass. It looked like he fought hard. My girls and I were devastated. That is why I finally signed up on BYC, I had to seek advice. I was going to talk about the loss of my Archie on this forum tonight but something amazing happened today. I was outside with the girls when we heard a familiar crow. We ran in the direction of the sound when we heard it again. We ran toward the dead end on our street and there stood a big goofy, buff orpington with missing feathers. He was in a man's yard where he has been for two days. He was found under the "hawks'" nest. It had dropped him and he is fine. I guess his fluff saved him. He is confined in the chicken yard until I can place some deterrents. I have already ordered guineas. I apologize for the length of this post (book?). I guess I get chatty when I am on cloud nine. I'll try to behave in the future.