Well today Coco (difficult child 2's chicken) had a near-miss with a coyote. At least I think that's what it was, based on the split-second glimpse I got of the animal running away. While I was busy putting the two reds into the run in the yard, the the two blacks (Coco and Minerva) walked past me towards the shed which is at about the mid-point of the yard. All of a sudden I hear very loud distressed squawking. As I looked up I caught what I think was the back end of the coyote as it ran off towards our back hillside, which opens to brush and cactus. I couldn't see either of the black hens and ran panicked in the direction the dog went. No sound, so sight of anything. As I'm freaking out and swearing under my breath, I see the two missing hens over by the run enclosure and am much relieved. Coco is holding one wing awkwardly, though, but seems sound otherwise. I carefully looked over her body and could find no holes or blood, thank goodness. I suspect they saw the coyote and charged at it (they have no fear and are very territorial when it comes to foreign creatures in their yard), but got a surprise when it probaby tried to snap at them and got a mouthful of Coco's wing. Apparently the hens dished out an equal amount of surprise with all the squawking and pecking I imagine went on. Just another lovely reminder that I can't let down my guard, especially as long as we have no fence in the back! As surprising as it sounds to have a coyote come around in broad daylight (it was noonish when this happened), it is whelping season (they breed Jan-Mar with about a 2-month gestation) so there are likely lots of hungry mouths to feed. We're going to have to be especially careful about the cats getting out now, too.