My precious Lil'Bit was killed yesterday in the "woods" behind the coop. I call them the woods, but it's actually a large unused couple acres of mostly very tall pines, persimmons trees and heavy underbrush; the underbrush having pretty much died back due to the dry weather and winter coming on. By the amount of her feathers in a small clearing it's obvious she was killed in the clearing and then carried or dropped in a large pile of blackberry briars (now bare). The other chickens made it safely to one of their favorite safe zones - a corner of their yard, covered by a large evergreen bush. Lil'Bit's neck was broken. The only part of her eaten (torn away?) was her neck. The flesh was completely gone, so that her cervical (neck) verterbrae were clearly visible. My DH was out there with the dogs ten minutes before I was realized she was missing, so it happened quickly. We have the usual cast of predators around here - coyotes, coons, bobcats, hawks, eagles (nest on the back of the property, about 1/4 mile away), possums, skunks, owls and others I've forgotten. We never see or hear the coyotes except on the far end of the farm. We never see the coons and skunks except at night. The only (maybe) predator we've seen hanging around is very large turkey vultures, like this one: It is my understanding that these birds only hunted (vs. eating carrion) when very hungry and right now the roadkills are still plentiful. Any ideas?