On Sunday evening, a bird of prey got my poor Gertrude! Only feathers marked the scene. I could not believe there was no blood or bones or anything left anywhere! After a little research, I learned that "Raptor birds often defecate when they make a kill. Most hawks will leave a sweep of whitewash that you will see making its way away from the feather pile of the kill. An Owls defecation will also be a whitewash, but it will be in small heaps and clumpier." from http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html. There was a pile of feathers near the outer fence and another smaller pile near the fence around the pond area. Outside of that fence are some sago palms and, sure enough, a "whitewash" of poo was on one of the sagos. I couldn't really tell whether it was in "small heaps and clumpier", so I'm not positive whether it was a hawk or an owl. I'm betting an owl, though, because I've seen an owl swooping around in the evening lately. Now I'm not sure what to do! I let my girls out every day to roam the yard while I'm at work. They normally take themselves to their roost and someone locks the door to their coop before dark. (That didn't happen when poor Gertrude was taken--DH fell asleep and I didn't get home until way after dark. I'm not sure what time the killing took place, but I'm betting right around dusk.) So, I'm thinking we should put them up long before dusk now which will cut down on the ranging time, but, hopefully, will keep them alive! It's just heartbreaking! Gertrude was such a sweetie and I'm going to miss her so much!!