In the end we lost four chickens: Marlene, Caroline, Tiny, and Barbie. Miraculously, Alberta Einstein, Owen's 4-H project and favorite, survived, and one hen who had been assumed dead was later found alive. We got home from Boston at midnight and discovered phone messages from neighbors we have never met telling of dead chickens strewn about and traumatized hens wandering in their driveways. It was apparently quite a horror show, a real community spectacle.
The aftermath is definitely creepy. Surveying the yard today, I feel like I'm looking at a crime scene, and the remaining hens are visibly nervous and depressed, perched in a shady corner where I have never seen them before. I didn't want to confine the chickens to a little cage-like run, but I am beginning to see the downside of "free range."