Hello everyone, I am very sad to report that I have lost 2 young pullets(age 5 months) in the last few weeks. One had just started laying and the other was due anyday. I am trying to determine what kind of predator did this and learn ways to help prevent this in the future. A little background info first. We have been raising chickens for a couple years now. We live in northwest Indiana up against the Dunes Nation Lakeshore, which is a protected forest area up against Lake Michigan. Our property is the located adjacent to the dunes area, being the last home/residential area before the dunes. There is also a railroad that runs parallel to our property,separating our property from the dunes. We have about 2 acres, all of which is enclosed with 6 foot privacy fence and 6 ft heavy duty chain link. We have about 35 chickens, but 24 are laying/larger breeds that live in the back coop. The fancy ones live in a the banty coop closer to our home. There coop is very secure and safe and we have never had a problem with anything getting in. These attacks happened outside the coop. We have let them free range from dawn to dusk for the last 2 years peacefully. Across from our coop, there was an old abandoned/dilapidated house. The town finally torn it down a few weeks ago. I am telling you this becasue I am starting to think there were foxes living in it and maybe they were displaced and just now noticed my chickens..or its just a coincidence. The first attack happened in the back, byt the coop, just on the other side of the fence. It was a black austrolop pullet, d-capitated and its insides eaten out. There were not really any feathers around. We assumed it was hawk at that time, and I kept the chickens on lock down for a couple days, trying to decide if the risk was worth the reward for them. Well this morning, I let my great dane Milly out(she is gentle with hem and they all get along fine). I could hear her growling/barking and then she ran up to the house and was jumping on the sliding door barking..she then led me to the "crime scene". This time it was one of my huge Brahma pullets who had just started laying. head gone, insides eaten out...but feathers everywhere, It was right along the back fence a few feet away from the coop. Is there anyway to tell what kind of predator did this? I did fine a low spot in the fence that I believe a fox could get through. Do hawks/eagles carry away their kill or would they eat it right there? I did not see any tracks anywhere near the body. Our plan is to re-inforce the bottom of the fecne everywhere and make sure there are no spots anything could get in. We also have a huge run for the chickens, and are looking at ordering avian netting...thisn way they can still have a nice area to hang out, but be safer. the thing is, the run is so big its going to cost $$$$$ if we do the whole thing, and we have trees back there too...we will have to find a way to enclose it without cutting the trees down.