Excellent advice and information, Pam! My former husband’s brother and his wife had chickens for years but finally gave up keeping them. There were too many predators that found too many ways to get to the cooped chickens — foxes, dogs, snakes, hawks, etc. And they lived in the city!
My friends who live on 40-acres in the country had to build little shelters and place them all around the yard that was a free-range area so the chickens had a place to hid from birds of prey. They would see a shadow on the ground and a dozen chickens would scatter trying to get one of those wooden shelters. My friends finally gave up keeping chickens, too. It was heartbreaking when they were killed by a wild animal or a local dog. Sometimes, a chicken would simply disappear, leaving not even a feather behind.
And, amazing to someone who doesn’t know chickens, some make great pets and can be very affectionate which, of course, makes the heartbreak worse when they become a meal for a fox or a hawk or a playtoy for a dog.