My husband found them after church, the dog still in our backyard. There was lots of weeping and wailing all afternoon and I think it took a lot of control for my husband to not shoot that dog. The neighbor said he would get rid of it (ex-wife's dog), though that hasn't happened yet. I have to give a public thanks to my superman who cleaned up everything. I couldn't have beared it.
We got new chickens today, same breed as per kid request. They aren't as awesome as Fauna and Merryweather. One is fairly skittish and they just aren't as personable. It just goes to show how truly amazing our sweet little birds were. I see no point in telling the previous owners and PRAY they wont call or email to ask how they are. It's heartbreaking enough to think how they trusted me with these girls and then this happened.
Part of me feels really guilty for not keeping them in the run and the other part isn't because they loved to roam around the yard. I'm trying really hard to not think about the neighbor and the beastly dog (whom I hated before this). We only let them free range when we were home, but regardless, there is a new rule: no chickens outside of the run without immediate supervision.
I grew lax because they were such good birds and knew where they could and couldn't go. I suppose it could have just as easily been a hawk or a cat, but it was the least likely predator instead. So I think the lesson here is to assume that the burden of flock protection is always on you. No one else is going to try to keep them safe. Build a sturdy coop that cats, raccoons (with opposable thumbs), hawks, and dogs can't get into. Don't assume that a fenced yard is predator proof; because it isn't. And if you do like to let them range, keep a close eye on them or put them away.
Farewell ladies! We loved having you with our family.