After a few years of predator-free ranging, my flock was hit yesterday. I noticed five of my flock of 14 missing. Two of them showed up today, one was found dead under the coop with a bald spot the size of my palm with tooth marks/puncture wounds, and two are MIA. There were coyote tracks in the fresh snow this morning, so there is no doubt in my mind as to what the culprit(s) can be. That, and the fact that all of my outside cats have disappeared over the past few weeks. We haven't had a problem with coyotes for several years, but this year is different. We live in the country and there are lots of fields and sloughs, etc. with plenty of wildlife for them to eat. But we've noticed that there are no rabbits around this year - last year they were everywhere, so maybe they got whatever disease rabbits get when they're overpopulated and died off. The sloughs are drying up, so the muskrats are gone. We also have Great Horned Owls and Snowy Owls for them to compete with for mice and other smallish rodents. So, I guess my cats and chickens are (were) easy picking. Theremaining chickens will be kept in their coop and run, and the two indoor cats don't get to go out at night anymore. I think the coyotes were brave enough to come near the buildings yesterday because we were gone all day and the dog was in the house. Usually there is enough activity going on around the coop and barn area that I think it would keep them away.