I had a new mommy hen with four of them tiniest, perfect little chicks you ever saw about five days old. They were in an outside pen, covered. No four legged animal could get into it...not without leaving evidence anyway. So my dog (who I supervise) and no stray (my entire perimeter is fenced) or stray cat got them. Either the hen's husband...the rooster...got them, or a snake. There is no way to keep snakes out. Snakes are the only wild predators I've seen in a couple years. This morning I found the chicks gone or dead. No feathers or blood or pieces of chick. Mom and Dad have no injuries. Two chicks are just gone, and two were in the nest box dead. One just dead and one squashed enough the guts came out its rear end. I figure a rooster (he is a tame little guy) would not have left one squashed...and would not have eaten the other two. Whatever it was killed them between eight last night, and nine-thirty this morning. It could have been rats but I figure those would have left blood evidence. But...I never have mouse or rats in my feed or any evidence of rodents. Not in the chicken area anyway, in my house I have mouse evidence. The nest box is a Rubbermaid tub on its side with a hole cut into it. Nothing can reach into it from the outside of the pen. The pen is about seven feet square, and four feet high...and covered. I keep the different breeds, or different colors of Old English in separate pens. I guess a cat could get into it if it tried hard enough...and cats are nocturnal hunters. I do see stray cats. But nearby is another pen with ten incubator hatched chicks in it that is a lot easier to get into. It was untouched. Are snakes nocturnal? Do they hunt at night? All those I've caught I did in the daytime. Where I live I'm surrounded by thousands of acres of woods...the 'usual' predators avoid the small populated area in my 'neighborhood'... and live instead in those huge areas away from people. I have no answer but to keep the broody hens in the coop...and the chicks when they hatch too. But if it is roosters hurting the chicks then I can't do that because I have other roosters that free range. I'm getting ready to build a new pen but I know no way to keep snakes out except hardware cloth and that is not in the budget for the big covered pen I have in mind. Even the top would have to be covered with it because snakes climb. Any comments or suggestions are welcomed. Terry in Tennessee Last night something got all of my chicks but two. Two outside on the ground out of the nesting box, five dead in the nesting box, and one missing. One in the nest and one outside gutted, and one missing the head. But many killed just for fun, not eaten or wounded. I sold a bunch of chicks three weeks ago, these were my keepers. I'm going to rethink this whole chicken thing. I don't know what got them, but I suspect cat because I've seen stray cats. Or a skunk, because once in a rare while I'll smell one...in which case I don't let the dogs outside for obvious reasons. I still think a snake got the other ones, but had left these alone. Now eight out of my ten keepers are also dead. It is one thing if some animal gets them and eats them, it is another whole thing if they are just killed and left there. If the missing one was eaten (I see no feathers loose, not even in the nesting box where five were dead) and the head off of one then that's one thing. The wild creatures have to eat too and it is my job to keep my chicks safe. But just killing and leaving them really has me ticked off. Of all the chicks I've hatched, and the broody hatched...I have two left. I've lost no adults, only chicks. Yep, going to redesign the coop and keep everyone locked up. My pleasure came a lot from watching them free range in the yard and they seemed to like the outside pens as come dusk they'd return to them and not go in the coop with the rest of the chickens who live in that at night. All I know is whatever got this batch did not fly but could climb a four foot height and squeeze between the fence and the top of the pen...but that could be almost anything that is about cat size and up to even fox size...but it was not a dog and it happened during when it was dark for sure as I was out there until after dark, and out there this morning very early.