I was just searching Google for an answer to what attacked my flock this week... normally I can figure out the attacks, but these have me baffled. Google sent me here, so I'll just tell you what happened here on this thread, and than go back and read the other threads and posts to see if anyone has already posted an answer elsewhere.. It started about 3 weeks ago when I found 4 hens laying on the ground outside the yard. Each hen was torn apart. My assumption than, was that these hens had some how snuck out during the night (though I've yet to figure out how they got out) and were attacked by a stray dog. A dog had attacked once before a few years back and left dead hens all over the yard. Didn't eat them, just killed them all, for the fun of it, and that is what I thought had happened again. A few days later, however, the wood pile was overturned, the wheel barrel knocked over and more dead hens scattered amoung the disheavaled wood. Again, no answer as to how they got out, but the size and weight of the items knocked about the yard, still suggested a dog or possibly a coyote. I keep the hens in a separate house & yard from the bantams. The next attack came a few days later, this time the 6" x 8" door was ripped off the bantam house and 6 bantams slaughtered, again, killed but not eaten, just killed for the fun of it or so it looks like. Now however, this proved that I was dealing with a rather small animal. Smaller than the big hens, because the hens are too big to go out the little bantam door. Closer search of the yards and houses, revealed that the "IT" had tunneled under the hen house, and came up through the floor and was than squeezing the hens out of a thin crack in the fence. I fixed the hole in the hen house floor, filled in the tunneled with gravel to prevent it being redug, and than patched the crack where the fence pieces meet. The fence by the way is heavy chain-link, like used in school playgrounds to keep gangs out. We have bear around here and I used this type of fence with keeping bear out in mind. I say this because of what happened next. The next attack a few days later came when the "IT" dug about ten holes all around the bottom of the fence in what appears to be a fit of complete rabid frenzy. Unable to dig deep enough to go under the fence, it torn the fence apart, at the seams, leaving the fence hanging. It than dug under the house, through the gravel and torn boards off the wall of the house to get in and kill, but not eat another 7 hens. At first the attacks were coming once every few days, but now they are every day, and the viciousness at which this animal is attacking and the strength it seems to have for something still small enough to fit though a 6" hole, leads me to believe it may have rabies. Another odd factor is that some hens' bodies have been found hanging some 8' off the ground in branches of trees. So whatever this thing is, it can climb. Yesterday it rained and we got our first clue as to what this thing may be as it left one, and only one paw print in the mud: The paw print is about 3 - 4 inches (possibly spread out due to being in mud) and resembles a cat's "heart shaped" paw pad, with 4 very long "monkey-like" fingers, and one equally long "thumb". It looks almost human, except for the heart shaped pad in the center and the fact that the middle finger had a long claw. It is like no track I've ever seen before. Looks somewhat opossum, but is I think too big to be an opossum. If it helps, my land is right in a swamp on the Atlantic coast (1/4 mile from the ocean), with 26 acres of old growth pine forest woods all around us, so most any Atlantic, wetland or woodland animal could be to blame, we have lots of them, and most come in our yard. I've lived here raising hens for more than 30 years now, and I've never had anything like this happen before. Does anyone have any idea what this thing could be and how to stop it? The hens are locked up at night... with key locking padlocks on the door, (again, to keep out bear) and this thing just goes through like the doors and walls were not even there. I am at my wits end. Of 75 hens I'm down to 24 in less than a month, this thing seems to kill like humans do, for the pure enjoyment of killing, like a sport. I've never heard of an animal killing like this before. Again, it makes me think rabies.