Spouse found Specklebutt dead in a small oak and cedar grove behind the house. Spouse believes she was a victim of a hawk attack that got interrupted, and looks like it was a (thankfully) quick kill. The dogs, geese and roosters are usually good about warning and scaring off predators, but sometimes a chicken will wander off on her own, out of sight of the safety of the group. It looks like Speckle did just that. Spouse and I have accepted the risk of an occasional predator kill in exchange for the knowing that the chickens - and their eggs - will be much healthier for the freedom to roam and forage where they will.
I'd like to think Speckle had a good life here. Greens, table scraps and organic scratch in the morning, and free-ranging throughout the property during the day. Organic laying feed available whenever she felt like eating. Sleeping high in the cedar boughs at night. She even got to lay and raise her own offspring. Not many laying hens get the opportunity to any or all of these, though it is my wish that all may get to do so, soon.
Her remains have been buried under the big oak tree, where all our other beloved feathered critters lay. Rest in peace, Specklebutt.
[Pic: Herself, with Specklebutt Junior, aka "Peeper" the beta roo.]