I had 7 chicks 8-10 weeks old that I put out in my run with the 3 adult girls I have. They were fine - had a pen with a small entrance that only they could get into so they could get away if the big girls got bossy or began to bully. My run is attatched to the coop, constructed of 2x4 framing and livestock fencing attatched (2"x4" welded wire). The fencing wire is laid out on the ground for approx 12" all the way around to discourage digging - has been there for over a year and has been "grown in" now (grass/weeds/etc). I put wire mesh (either 1/2" or 1/4" mesh) around the base of the fencing wire to a height of 2 feet. The top of the run is covered with plain 1" poultry wire. There is also wire laid out on the ground on all sides of the coop. There are no holes into/out of the run along the ground, and all the wire is intact everywhere. No openings on the coup at all - all ventilation has 1/2" wire mesh stapled over it and no holes in that either. There is ONE place that was dug under before I could get the wire all around the coup - I did not fill it in, just stapled a piece of livestock fencing (2"x4" openings) over it and stapled it to the wall of the coop - it extends out for about 12" on the ground, and there is no way to get under it. The first loss of chicks (they all stand about 10" tall at this point) was 3 chicks gone overnight. No blood, no feathers, no bodies - just gone. The second night, 1 more gone. Again, no feathers, no bodies, nothing. I walked the perimeter of the run, wire-tied some weak spots where the welds on the livestock fencing was broken and the wires could have been widened (they had not been messed with). The next day (yesterday) the remaining 2 chicks were still there - yay! So today I went out to give them all some treats - and another chick gone. Still no sign of how. So....after that long-winded story, my question is this: snakes? Could a snake have gotten in, eaten 3 chicks the first night, another 1 the next night, and another 1 last night - and still been small enough after his meals to fit back through the 2"x4" opening on the ground where the dig spot was covered over??? I cannot imagine one snake doing all this - so maybe an entire nest of snakes, each taking their turn? The second night was cold too, so I am having a hard time picturing a snake out hunting...I'm tending to think Human Thief at this point. Anybody have any ideas? I haven't purchased a game camera, maybe I need to do this - hubby also thinks a padlock on the run gate might be in order. Help! I now have to go purchase more chicks....I don't want them to run "afoul" of anything when I get them out there (sorry for the bad pun).