This is (was) the first time I've tried raising chickens. I had 17 babies, about a month old, EEs and Dominiques. Because of the intense heat, I had moved them to our coop (it came with the house we moved into last winter) a week or two ago. I ran the brooder light at night to make sure they were warm overnight, and checked them two or three times a day to make sure they had everything they needed--especially water in this heat. Anyway, this morning, my husband was the one to go check on them. He came back and told me they were all gone. The fence around the coop, and the coop door were both latched and everything was secure. However, there was a hole in the chicken-wire of the coop door (the door is covered with sheet metal about 2 1/2 feet up, then chicken wire to the top). The hole was about 6-8 inches across. I couldn't find any hair or tracks to help identify the culprit. A few feathers here and there, but no bones or any other parts. Two noticible piles of feathers were from two particular birds, but the others seemed to be either eaten whole or taken away. I am so angry with myself--last night was the first night I didn't turn on the light for them...I thought it was warm enough to not need it. Apparenly, the darkness invited a predator to take my babies. I weep to think what they must have gone through before they died. My mother suggested that I should get more chicks and try again, but I just don't know if I can put my heart into raising babies from day-olds--naming them, learning their little personalities, and loving them like pets--only to have something horrible like this happen to them. I just don't know if I'll ever get over this. It's too early to even think about replacing them and starting all over now. My husband is out cleaning up the coop and replacing the wire on the door. I would really like to know what might have did this. I've read some articles but the information didn't seem to be consistent. I'd love to have advice from people more experienced than me.