Today I lost a chicken with no sign of anything. I was working outside and didn't hear anything either. I walked the whole area with no sign of feathers, blood anything. What kind of predator would leave no trace in the middle of the day?
Surprisingly, I've lost some birds to the neighbor's dog and he didn't leave much of a mess at all. I know dogs usually leave a trail of feathers, but he didn't.
One time he got 3 and while I did find a few feathers no bodies, another time when I didn't fully latch the gate they slipped under it and he got 2. The roo put up a bit of a fight and there were a few feathers around him, but the hen was just there dead. I left the bodies for the scavengers and they disappeared without a trace, so even if your bird was left somewhere on your property something might have taken it later.
A hawk might carry off a small bird without much trace too. In the daytime maybe a fox as well.
It IS frustrating when they just vanish into thin air. My ole red roo Big Red disappeared one day, just poof! I never found a thing. My only green egg layer disappeared her first night in the (new to her) coop. No other losses from the pen, I initially suspected she might have been stolen because of the lack of evidence of any predators, but I just don't know. I started padlocking the coop after that though.
Bird dogs (retrievers) will do that. I had a faverolles roo "retrieved" by a neighbor's young black lab and there would have been no evidence except for the fact that the neighbor saw the chicken in the dog's mouth in his front yard and made him drop it. The roo survived the ordeal with not even broken skin (dog had what they call a soft mouth - thankfully). As soon as he could draw a breath the roo made a beline for cover. When I got in there and pulled him out he was definitely traumatized by the experience. I remember it took a good 2 weeks before he stopped moping around and took his rightful place back on the highest perch. The neighbors were beside themselves and were very sorry the dog got away from them (it was a dog they were watching for someone else). It sure is nice to have good neighbors - we hear too often in this forum about neighbors who aren't so nice. Let's hear it for great neighbors - and share those eggs!