I've been keeping chickens for over 10 years now and have had a few hawk attacks in the past, but nothing for years. Now, within one week, I've lost two of my oldest "pet" hens, a brahma, and a buff orp. My hens have a lot of freedom, and there are a lot of hawks around, especially red shouldered, so I guess I should not be surprised, but I am, and very sad too. My hens have a nice house in which to roost and lay eggs, and retreat to in bad weather. It has two doors. One opens out into a fenced-in yard, and the other opens out into the back yard, which is also fenced and has flower beds, trees and shrubs, clothes line, etc. In hot weather they have freedom to come and go. My flock consist(ed) of 8 younger hens, and these two old girls I've had forever. Last week I found the brahma dead in the fenced-in yard, with feathers clustered in two places around the perimeter, and a drag mark leading from one feather pile to her body, which was in a small dark corner. Her head and neck were eaten; there was a large gash on her back, but no other injuries. This happened I believe in the mid-afternoon. I put up cording and netting across the top of the fenced-in area to keep it from happening again. Today, I'm not sure what time, around noon, maybe, the same thing happened with the old buff orp. Except this time I found a clump of feathers inside the chicken house, near her roosting spot, on the hay (she liked to sleep on a soft bed). The feather trail led out the smaller door into the fenced area, with several piles around the perimeter, like before. I found her in the same spot as the brahma. This time, the lower part of her back was completely stripped of flesh, down to the bones, No tail feathers left. The eyes had been taken out, the beak broken, and a huge puncture mark on her neck. Sorry to be so long-winded, but this has upset me a lot. Both these old girls had been out in the open with the younger ones, every day, eating grass and hanging out under their favorite bushes. No attacks on anybody. The predator struck while they were in and enclosed area, and killed them in that area too. There is a chain link fence around my back yard, so there are no dogs ever, except our own. (And they're friends with the flock.) I have heard of coyotes in the area, but they hunt at night, as do raccoons and owls. These attacks had to be hawks. They knew, of course, as predators do, to pick out the old and the slow. But would a hawk fly though holes in netting, and through a doorway, and into a corner where an old hen was sitting? And by old, I mean 11 years. Still happy and healthy, still taking care of the others. I'm hoping for some answers, though I'm pretty sure it was a red-shouldered hawk. Should I be keeping the remaining 8 hens inside all the time that I'm not out there? Any advice would be very much appreciated.