Though I'm disappointed the person(s) responsible for such a devastating loss to the flock never took us up on our offer to help, I'm at least relieved to say that since we put the note up and padlocked everything that involved critters there have been no more losses, and our egg production has quadrupled. Though it's not definitive proof that we were dealing with a predator of the H. sapiens variety rather than wildlife, it certainly could lend credence to the theory. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, we're on to bigger and brighter things. First up is doing what we can to follow through on making "Fort Chicken" as impenetrable as possible. And of course there's a lot of clearing up of brush from the winter's shenanigans to get working on. So we'll keep on keeping on, as they say. We won't be replacing the hens we lost this year, but will instead let nature take its course. If a hen decides she might like to take on the responsibility of raising a few babies herself, we'll let her go for it. The market will just have to wait another year for us, and that's just part of accepting that farm life is full of setbacks and unexpected losses. But we're not giving in, not by a long shot.