The end of March I'm scheduled to get our chicks, so I am in the planning stages of building our coop. This winter we have a pack of coyotes that have been visiting our acreage on a regular bases. We have owned our farm for over 5 years and this is the first year that they have ventured close to our yard area. In the past the local Amish men have held a predator drive and hunt, sweeping through everyone's land and eliminating as many unwanted predators as they can. They usually did a pretty decent job scoring around a dozen 'yotes, a few foxes and even one year a young cougar (back when the good people at the dept of conservation were claiming that there were no cougars in MO). Most of the men moved out to a new community so the coyote population has been growing. Over the last month the coyotes have been coming as close as a ravine that is behind our house and into our back pastures also within view of the house. The noise has awakened my husband and me from a sound sleep and would give Steven King a case of the chills and has set our own dogs to howling back at them. We are planning to build our coop as a 'room' in our barn which is about 70 feet from the house, with a secured run outside. The 'room' is going to be built off the ground about 12 inches and the run is going to be chain linked kennel panels. We will be covering the run and also burying wire and or metal stakes around the run to protect the birds from 'dig ins'. We do not plan to free range due to our own 5 dogs not being trustworthy and because of birds of prey type preditors, but are going to employ a tractor to allow them to do insect control around our orchard and arbor. We are also planning to hot wire around the coop and run. Do y'all think we have anything to worry about with this pack of 'yotes deciding to venture closer and have a look see at a potential chicken dinner? So far we have only heard them at night. Twice I have fired a .22 off in their direction (not lucky enough to hit one) which has scattered them and kept them away for a week or so, but they ultimately return. Our dogs aren't going to be much help. Two are old ladies now who are willing to raise a stink at something encroaching into their 'turf' but not much use in a fight. Our Cattle Dog tangled with a big raccoon last year and since doesn't want to be out at night and our two youngest are just young and brainless. What worries us is that it almost seems as though these coyotes know the dogs are there and are setting up a ruckus hoping to lure one into the woods should they be outside at night. I'm not nearly as concerned with raccoons/skunks/possums and the like (have a live trap and know how to use it) as I am about this pack of coyotes. We keep the dogs in a fenced part of the yard at night to keep them safe and carry a weapon during the day, but how do we dissuade a whole pack of coyotes from coming around our property at night and how do we absolutely assure the safety of our chickens from them?