Today I let my "pet" chickens out to free-range, 50 hens and 5 roosters, like I always do. They were enjoying themselves so much, and we've never had a problem before, so we left them out while we went to dinner. I knew I'd be back in about an hour and a half (which was right at dusk) to close them up so I wasn't all that worried. I should have known better! When we arrived home at dark we found that our yard had been turned into a slaughter house. There were feathers and hens, some dead and some alive, everywhere. They were in the front, in the back, on the side.... all over the place. These are my babies, most of them had names, so I just about lost it. I began running around trying to see which ones were still alive, how many were dead, how many were missing and how many were in the coop on the roost. We spent nearly 2 hours, in the dark, combing the 3 acres of yard that surrounds my house. Many of them were smart enough to hide in the tall grassy areas and remained untouched. Some had been able to make it to the coop and were absolutely fine. The massacre left behind 4 missing hens, 1 missing rooster, 5 hens accounted for but dead, 1 rooster and 7 hens injured and approximately 15 hens seem "shocky" and understandably out of sorts. This reign of terror seemed to take place entirely out in the yard. No sign of any feathers flying or hen remains inside the coop. Most of the damage was bite marks and rips located on the rear and legs of the birds. The area we found them in was about 150 x 300 and they were scattered about. You should know that my 3 acre yard is backed by 50 acres of woods. I think this was most likely fox or coyote since they tend to wipe out many and only take a few. Do any of you have any thoughts on this? I'm devastated and feel so guilty for not protecting them.