It's never easy to have a predator loss and you'll never get used to it. If you feel your chickens are happier with the freedom to roam your yard, all you can do is try to make free ranging a little safer by adding some deterrents. OR You can keep the flock contained in a coop/run or tractor during the day & a Fort Knox coop at night.Well, it certainly sounds that a dog isn’t the silver bullet for all predators. It’s possible I could hit a critical mass where losing a handful of chickens a year wouldn’t interrupt my egg production, but I’m not there yet. I’m just now starting to get a dozen eggs a day and am loving it. I’ll keep thinking it through.
We actually do both. The main flock gets to free range but our children's bantams are trained to go to their tractor during the day & return to the coop at night. The tractor gets moved daily for fresh grass. After losing our favorite silkie to a hawk, our DD won't allow any of her 'babies' to be without shelter.