I let our 12 week old Silkies out to free range with our other chickens today. We let our chickens free range, with no fences at all. They could walk to Canada if they wanted to. All the chickens that free range (50+ chickens 10+ guineas) stay very close to the coop, in between our buildings. We never used to have predator problems, but after 5 years we had coyote problems. We live on a mountain, and if the chickens wandered too far downhill and out of sight in the early morning, they would be eaten. Most were never stupid enough to do that, except the guineas. We had, at the time, 1 livestock guardian dog. She had been raised with chickens, never hurt or chased them. We got another puppy and had him for several years, but he chased them and eventually attacked them and us. So we got rid of him and got two new dogs, 5 year old labs. Neither harmed the chickens, but both joined our first dog in protecting "their" chickens by barking and chasing coyotes and hawks, all night and day. After we got them, we haven't lost any. We have 5 cats. None harm the chickens, and most get chased by them occasionally. They hunt, like all cats. Most of their prey are small rodents and an occasional songbird. Anyway, I let the 3 12 week old Silkies, 4 16 week old layers, and 2 18 week old Silkies out to free range today after many days in a cage observing their new home and meeting the chickens. I checked on them several times, but had to leave the house for 5 hours. I got home, and found that all had already put themselves to bed except one of the 12 week old Silkies. Of course it was the most promising show quality one of the bunch. We looked and looked, and found her quite near the coops. Something had killed her. I don't know what. It is hard to tell, since the chickens, being chickens, had made a snack of her body. Her feathers were all over the place, and there wasn't a speck of meat left on her, thanks to the chickens. Her back third was partly intact. The cats and dogs are also known to chew on an already dead chicken (we don't encourage this!). I don't think that it was the cats, because she was quite big. One of the other chickens with her would have been easier to catch, since he is partly blind. Also, there are smaller bantams (Seramas) around. My family doesn't think that our dogs would dare hurt a chicken. What do you think? I can include a very blurry, graphic cell phone picture if it would help.