I would like to start by prefacing this is my first foray into the world of chickens. After 15 years in the world of computer programming and IT work, I never knew the pleasure in such activities as raising and caring for chickens. My blood pressure has lowered and I am significantly happier than I have been in years. Who knew such small birds had such huge personalities! I started out with co-caring for 4 OEG bantams with my parents, who actually own the property I am living on. It's one of the few areas in rural Bradenton that allow such activities (no HOA and the like). Three hens and one roo. They were a little over a week old when we adopted them. The roo suffered from a virus early on that left his legs and feet deformed and eventually he passed away. That was difficult. Shortly before that sad day, I adopted 10 baby chicks. 2 Buff Orpies, 3 Americaunas, and 5 NH Reds. All a week old. I raised them for two months, bonding with each bird. The first coop built is a sturdy tractor, surrounded by solid chicken wire and covered underneath with old chain link fence. The tractor resides in a pen approx 20' x 15'. The 3 surviving OEG banties live in the tractor, happy and secure. When it was time to move my ten girls out to the pen, I built them a coop with standard chicken wire, a wood top (leftover water treated hardwood) and the chain link bottom. They spent their first warm Florida night with the glow of a mercury vapour light next to the garage. They whined some, but after a half hour they all huddled together and made the best of it. I wa so paranoid, I didn't get to sleep until 3:30 AM (doing my normal daily computer work which I had been slacking on recently). I checked on them and they were fine. I woke up at 6:30 AM to attend yet another court battle with my evil ex-wife over child custody only to discover my newly built coop had been broken into. There was not a chick left. Not a trace of them. No blood, no feathers, nothing but a huge hole dug underneath the pen and into the coop. I searched the rather sizable property (ultimately missing the court date...boy am I gonna pay for that) only finding one small tuft of feathers about 20 feet away before the start of the border to the woods where there is a creek and other woodsy areas. Never in my life did I feel so violated. The pain drove me to the ground where I could not stop crying for my lost baby chicks. After pulling myself together, and with my step dad assisting in the crime scene investigation, it appeared a group of those stank, evil, vile raccoons found a weak spot in my work. A small area where the chicken wire and the chain link fence were bound together with very think and flimsy wire, not strong enough to withstand the attack of a determined coon. How could I have known? This was *my*fault! Now the guilt was more than I could take. I never knew I had such dark thoughts in me, the revenge I seek. I want those coons. The things I will do to them I dare not share knowing the laws it must violate. That night armed with a machete and LED flashlight I stalked the creek, eventually finding the lot of those filthy animals. I was not able to exact revenge then, but now I know where they are. My pop brought over one of those hav-a-hart contraptions, which is more than those creatures deserve. They have been clever in avoiding capture...but with advice found in this forum, I may have a fighting chance tonight. My pop seems to think hanging the tail of a dead coon near the pen will ward off other coons. I hope to find out if this is accurate. I read the post about whether or not I have to ability and will to kill to protect my chicks. The answer is yes, with no hesitation. The same will I would use to protect my child, no matter what means is necessary. I want justice for my ten babies...and no animal right-to-lifer is going to tell me otherwise. Yes, I am aware that life is not fair. It's up to us that fairness does not favour to make our own luck. Maybe it will sooth the pain, maybe it won't. Now I know better what to do to prevent this from happening again. Those of you who have lost birds, is it normal to feel this way? Have I become obsessed? Any thoughts, please!