Arriving home from work Thursday, my front yard was unusually calm as I got out of the truck to open my front gate. Where were my 30 or so free range chickens? On a normal day they would all come running towards me upon my arrival home. Like a flock of insane shoppers the day after Thanksgiving at WalMart....they usually swamp me when I pull into the carport and step out of my truck. My one and only tiny Phoenix hen usually jumps onto my shoulder as all my much larger chickens gather around my feet. Normally, I stumble over them trying to walk out to the barn where I keep their feed and treats. But Thursday was not normal. My driveway is about 250 feet long. As I drove up it wondering where they were, I began to see their bodies.... One on the left....two on the right....one in a front flower bed...my tiny Phoenix hen lay dead out in the center of the yard... Why did it have to kill her too? My remaining chickens were all hiding, terrified from whatever had killed so many of their flock mates. I picked up nine bodies around my property. At least one other was still missing...a light Brahma hen. I never found her. Whatever killed them seemed to do so just for the thrill of the kill. None were even partially eaten.....except maybe the hen I never found. Was it the huge feral tomcat that comes to court my female cat so often? I have suspected him a few times of carrying off a chicken for his dinner. But nine? Would a feral cat kill nine in one day? In broad daylight? Maybe it was one of the many dogs in the area who's owners fail to keep on their own property? I have run a few off from my yard.....but have never had any problems until now. I love dogs and have several myself....but I am responsible and they are always either confined to the fenced backyard or kenneled inside the house. Maybe one or two of the dogs from the area began by chasing one of my chickens and then upon catching it went into some type of sick killing frenzy? A wicked game of chase.....or catch? Coming home from work Friday was almost as sad when there were no chickens to run and greet me as I came up my long and now lonely driveway. I missed that but was glad to know they were safe in the back by their coop. I picked up 25 new chicks at the feed store....they will live indoors for a while. My fence along the front of my 6 acres will be replaced with one that is dog proof as soon as I get my income tax return. Any dog coming on my property will be disengaged immediately as the tomcat was Friday morning. There is a Ruger .22 with a scope by the front door......and also a 20 gauge shotgun.