So a little background. We live within city limits in a small rural town. We have a field, currently planted in wheat, on the back side of a 6 foot vinyl fence, which serves as the back side of our chicken yard. The rest of the chicken yard is enclosed with 1" x 2" opening 4' welded wire. The coop is based on the wichita cabin coop that I found on here. I did have a solar powered, auto coop door for the chicken coop door, but the chickens kept breaking off the wires attached to the reed switches so I have been opening and closing it manually. It has been getting light, and hot earlier and earlier and in the 6 years we have had chickens we have never noticed any issues other than the occasional hawk that got the girls riled up. I had been leaving the doors to the coop open to let the girls come and go as they please and to help with the heat. Now the issue. A couple weeks ago at about 3 or 4 am I had the window open and all the sudden heard the chickens making a racket. I knew something was up so my wife and I ran out to see what was going on. A couple of the girls had already run out into the chicken yard and were making a racket. My wife was so concerned about the other girls that she rushed to open the front coop door so we could check. I have seen enough movies where the raccoon comes flying out to eat your face that I stopped her. I got a large push broom that was near the coop and opened the door, spotted the skunk in the nest box and quickly closed the coop. There were no eggs for the skunk, so I was worried that it was going after the girls. The skunk then came out and hid under our shed that was adjacent to our chicken yard. Fast forward a couple of weeks to last night and before they were going to bed they started doing their predator warnings. I kept looking around, was beating around under lilac bushes, searching all over the place and couldn't find anything. I kept watching and then all of the sudden a skunk came out from under the overgrown lilacs that I had been beating on earlier and walked along the back of the vinyl fence and went out into the field. I did a makeshift block of where it went out but this morning I noticed that there was a freshly dug location under the vinyl fence. Okay now the questions. 1. What are some ideas for inexpensively securing the chicken yard? 2. Anyone have any good ideas for additional automation of the coop door, so that we can occasionally leave on overnight trips? I don't trust my neighbors enough to take care of them for us. 3. What should I do if that skunk is actually living on our small (1/5 acre) lot, perhaps under our shed. Poison is out due to the large number of free roaming domestic animals and guns are a no go. Been a while since I have been on the site, but always appreciate the resources on here.