On the plus side, there were three old girls still on the top rung this morning. The other two had no idea what I was offering them, special access to the crusts from E's sandwich. But Walkabout knew. And she graciously accepted the treat, ate from my hand. Not quite as greedy as usual, but with appetite. Later she was drinking outside. These are good signs.
Edited to add:
WriterGuy G has arrived and asked whether there is a patron saint of chickens. Apparently, there is. A St. Gallus, who left Ireland for the continent in the 6th century and ended up in Switzerland. So along with St. Bernard, the Swiss have St. Gallus, of the canton of Gallen. Apparently his name means "rooster."