At least for the moment. All the chickens were fine yesterday morning and this morning, even though yesterday I accidentally fell back asleep after the alarm went off at 5:15 am (just a little before the foxes tend to arrive), and today I didn’t bother to get up.
Yesterday, when I went outside with B, my oldest son, at about 5:45 am, all was calm. The chickens who had been locked inside their coop were all awake and happy, and Speckle, the formerly tree-roosting hen who is now grounded in a secure enclosure, wasn’t looking like she’d had any sort of frights (though she was pacing the perimeter of the cage because she wanted out).
B and I couldn’t spot any clear fox tracks in the soft dirt outside the pen, so I’m not even sure if the pair came by.
With luck this means that we’ve cleared up the problem. It’s not a long-term solution, since keeping Speckle confined in a 30″ by 55″ cage is not ideal, but it will do at least until we shift the chickens to their “vacation” at my mother’s house. It’s a relief. I really didn’t want to have to do anything more invasive or aggressive in order to stop the free chicken breakfasts. After all, it’s much easier to build a fox-proof chicken house than it is to make, say, a bear-proof trash can, and we tend to relocate bears rather than just shooting them!