Thank you all for your many wonderful suggestions and solutions for the chicken menace that has roamed my yard freely and with impunity over that past couple months. I finally settled the matter once and for all with an enormous piece of shade cloth that has been effectively tented over the “chicken area” with posts and rope. The effect is a more shaded space that fully contains the chickens and their powerful flying ability that even allowed them to roost on the roof of my house one night. They seem content enough, though they regularly make clucking noises at me as I work around in the backyard, which is considerably more than before. Yet at least one chicken is laying eggs daily it seems and the compost is getting the attention it needs from my hens. There is one tree that I have enclosed in this “chicken aviary” and at one point it will become tall enough that a different strategy will need to be employed, but that is also part of the convenience of this solution, as I have the flexibility to easily remove it should I want to.
Anyways, here is a picture of it: