After having lived for years in peace with the coyotes, a new, more wild/aggressive, family has moved into the neighborhood. Up to this year we never lost a hen to predation with the chicken yard just being fenced in 4 feet tall chicken wire. The coyotes just cruised by, possibly licking their chops, and that was that.
I don't know whether these animals were emboldened by being able to help themselves to apples on the trees, but they now think they own this place. In the spring they started digging at the backside of the yard and made off with 3 hens in one fell swoop. We reinforced where they had dug down, but that same week another 3 disappeared.
So we retrenched, now being down to less than a ten chickens, we limited the yard to the part fenced in 4 foot field fencing, adjacent to the coop, and installed additional chicken wire on the bottom to discourage digging. For a while all was well until this week when the dogs found a lot of feathers on our walk around the property and we were down yet another hen. There was no sign of digging, so based on the evidence presented, a coyote jumped the fence and made off with a hapless bird.
The gloves are now off, especially with 6 young chickens about to be introduced into the coop and the coop yard. Over the last couple of days we increased the fence height to 6 feet with more field fencing and reinforced more of the bottom. The place is now Fort Nocks.
We are down to 5 hens: Goldie and Isabella from our original flock, and three Buffs, one of which is suffering from PTSD and has not left the coop since the last incident. I feel fairly confident that we have the coyotes number now, which is a good thing because the new chicks have outgrown their tub in shop/shed.