Since the chickens are outside now, I was forced to face the problem of peace between species. The dogs would kill the chickens if they could, so the arrangement had to keep the chickens out of sight. I remodeled the fence in the back yard to keep them confined beyond the bulkhead. Then I pounded in new posts along the side of the house from the shed to the front corner. The leftover wire from the back was enough to enclose that area for the dogs. I used their old gate at the front so humans could go in and out. It's a much smaller area than they had before and they were a little surprised, and a little irritated, when I let them out. They were somewhat pacified by their improved view of the street, however, and realized there were endless reasons to bark as they surveyed the neighborhood. These are not outdoor dogs, so I don't feel bad about reducing their space. Three minutes is about the maximum amount of time they like to stay outside.
Now I am waiting for one of the two carpenters I contacted to present me with estimates for building a chicken house. Thom, amazingly generous as he is, offered to pay to have the coop built. This will certainly upgrade the one I thought I would have to build myself. It seemed to be a necessity, and caused me many sleepless nights trying to conceive of something that would work but also accomodate my minimal carpentry skills and recycled materials. Thanks to Thom, my girls will live in style and hopefully keep him supplied with eggs out of grattitude.