My golden retriever passed away on Christmas night. She wouldn't come in the house when we went to bed so I left her out. (I'm in San Diego and it was warm...) She passed during the night lying in her usual spot in the yard. She was a good dog and will be forever missed. Fast forward, last weekend we lost our RIR Penny to a coyote. Penny was our favorite chicken and was really part of the family as much as a chicken can be. Still, we wrote this off to the risk of letting them enjoy life free ranging on the property. We have never had a problem (except with a few neighbor dogs that got onto the property for various reasons. Since then we've been very careful with gates, visitors, etc. Coyote jumped the fence and had lunch. This was mid-day. Now today, while we were out shopping my son calls to say that there is a pack of coyotes on the property attacking the rest of the chickens. Three beautiful silkies and a very friendly Americana all taken by the coyotes who ran off. Apparently our golden retriever was keeping the coyotes off of the property and protecting the chickens. Now we are without our dog and chickens. 2012 is starting off as a very sad year on the ranch.