I think I'm losing it weighing all the options, and could use some help from experienced chicken owners before I try again to raise a larger flock. Had four barred Plymouth rocks, that I was crazy about. A week before they turned one year, a red fox ate three. We now have one, as well as a new Partridge Rock friend (full-grown). Was planning on getting six chicks and two ducklings this week, for a total of ten birds. We live in the suburbs (Long Island, NY), with quite a lot of woods. I know we have foxes (obviously), raccoons, possums, stray cats, owls, and hawks. The girls are kept in a shed coop at night (locked), and until the attack, split their days between a 32x32 food dog run in the backyard woods, and free-ranging in the lawn and shrubbed front yard (they had a favorite low tree they liked to roost in). The hens being able to forage is important to us, as high-quality eggs were really the primary motivation in keeping the chickens. We're currently allowing the two remaining hens out of the coop only with supervision by our two dogs (Welsh Pembroke corgis), but the dogs bark and our neighbors would prefer this not to be a long-term solution. Obviously, I want to protect the chickens, and I've been mulling over the options over and over again, without clear resolution as to best course to take. Option 1: We could build a chicken ark, as per http://catawbacoops.com/. Pros are good access to bugs and protection from hawks. Cons are restricted movement (even building two, it looks crowded for ten birds), worry about digging predators (foxes?), lumber cost, and time required to build. Option 2: Premier1 PoultryPlus electric netting (48" x 50'), which I could arrange in my yard, either front or back. Pros are ease of setting up and the fact that it's the cheapest option, as well as the fact that it should protect from foxes, cats, etc. Cons are that I'd worry about hawks , as including shrubs in the net would be tricky without risking a short. Major con is worry about the safety of my younger kids (6, 9 years). Touching an electric fence isn't dangerous, but tripping and falling on one, or getting tangled in one, could be lethal according to the company. My kids aren't stupid, but I admit that scares the pants off of me. Option 3: Wiring the 32x32' dog run in the woods with Premier1 insulators and electric low-tensile wire. Pros are that the issue of falling on the fence or getting tangled in it is zero, since the wiring would be attached to a permanent structure. I can put concrete below the fence to discourage digging and a net above to protect against hawks, although animals that climb could still get in my climbing the surrounding trees and then dropping down (now I'm wondering if I'm just getting paranoid, since these presumably aren't Navy SEAL raccoons or whatever ). Cons are that there aren't really bugs in the dog run to forage any more...the chickens have basically cleaned it out. So we'd be feeding them scraps and feed, which makes me wonder if it kind of defeats the point of having chickens for healthy eggs. As a location in the woods, I also would need to work to keep the vegetation around the fence clear on a regular basis to avoid shorts. I've weighed the pros and cons a thousand times, and am beginning to wonder if this predator problem is causing so much stress that I should just give up and not start anew with chickens. I would value others' perspectives on this problem. Thanks in advance!