We started a flock of 6 this summer. We live in a fairly rural area on about 7 acres, and placed the coop (which is predator proof) near an area with lots of tree coverage. We want to free range, and knew the risks. We have had the odd loss here and there, always just one hen missing when we go to shut them up for the night, which we almost always do before dusk. We have replaced the losses to keep our magic number of 6. Tonight I went to lock everyone up and everybody was still pecking around right by the coop. Since it's freezing outside and I didn't feel like chasing around I left them with the intention of going back in a few minutes to close the door. In that time, THREE have disappeared, two hens and my brahma roo that is a pretty big (albeit placid) guy. I have searched the farm and they are nowhere to be found. I figured before we had an issue with a hawk or something, since the first couple we lost there were just a couple feathers. Now I am wondering if it is a fox, but I am still dumbfounded as to how 3 would disappear in such a short amount of time without a trace. I was losing the light during my search so I suppose I may find some feathers tomorrow. Does this sound like the work of a fox? And is free ranging just a hopeless thing? I love our chickens pecking around the farm and don't want to build an enclosure. I can take some losses as a result of this desire, but this is too much, we've lost 8/10 in 6 months now. Any advice gratefully received. And anyone in NoVa with a shotgun who wants to come hunt what is taking them is welcome on my porch anytime!!