My hens (9) hadn't been laying for about a month and I chalked it up to time of year, some molting, etc. But then the mystery began to unfold. I saw a small spot of egg yolk on the ground and saw them pecking at it and decided that maybe they were eating their own eggs. I read online here that one way to break them of that habit is to put out "fake eggs" so they might tire of the idea when they couldn't be assured that an egg they were pecking at would be "real." So I put the marble eggs out at 4 a.m. on Sunday. At 7:30 a.m. on Monday my husband went out to check and there were 6 eggs, all on the floor in one place in the barn. Right next to them was a dead chicken. Not a sign of anything wrong with her, but her neck was floppy, as if she had broken her neck. I was upset, but I realize these things happen. We decided to check several times yesterday and got one more egg. This morning I went out about 10:30 a.m. and there was one more egg and I sat with them a while and started to count. I was one hen short! There is NO WAY for a chicken to get out of the runs or the little barn/coop. Plus I double checked. No openings, no holes, nothing. I have not been locking up my coop or run, but I have someone on the way to put a lock on the barn door and I will be putting a chain and padlock on the run gate as well. We've also noticed our water spigot has been left up a few times and I could SWEAR I put it down. So it looks like they may have been stealing water also (we pay for our water). I'm now thinking the dead chicken may have been killed when the thief or thieves tried to catch her to take her. We plan to make it a late night tonight and from now on when my dogs bark EVER I am going out armed whatever time and checking it out. I will never ignore them again. If necessary I will install a video surveillance system. We have a lot of workmen in the area right now working on a new house across the street. They know our comings and goings and would, of course, know we have chickens, as I have a rooster. I am mad as hell and I'm hoping to catch the varmint.