Chicken run: Can't keep this bird down

Nov 19, 2020

Why did the chicken cross the road? 

That was the exact thought resident Pauline Pavao had when driving up Dartmouth Street on Nov. 17 upon seeing a loose hen wandering the sidewalk.

“I was going to a doctor's appointment and driving up the street in my car and couldn’t believe it when I saw a chicken,” she said.

The hen did not appear to belong to anyone nearby.

Out of concern for the creature, Pavao posted a public service announcement to a Facebook group to alert its owner.

Almost immediately, South Dartmouth resident Melissa Piazza recognized the chicken in the photo — it was the same stray her daughter Isabella had brought home the day prior.

“I had seen this post Monday about a loose chicken near DeMello School,” she said, noting that Isabella, an animal lover, was concerned it would be hit by a car. 

So, Piazza said, her daughter “walked a mile down the road to rescue this chicken and carried it home.”

Piazza said she tried to find the owner before putting the hen in with her own flock.

“It obviously had a home and was cared for, but nobody ever contacted us to get her,” she said. “She was very friendly.”

Not one for being cooped up, the chicken — whom Piazza named Fern — hatched an eggscape plot just one day after her rescue, only to be spotted on the run by Pavao.

Fern was clearly not too chicken to fly the coop multiple times. “Four times she got out of our yard,” Piazza said. She eventually renamed the bird Houdini.

How the flighty fowl kept escaping is unknown, although Piazza theorized that she might have climbed up a tree in her yard.

“They do climb trees — I learned that the hard way with my own,” she said. “Chickens are wicked smart.”

Not wanting to spend all day watching the bird, Piazza eventually reached out to animal control to get Houdini to a more secure location — but not before the chicken made one last biddy for freedom.

“We’re talking, meanwhile the chicken walks out of our yard,” she laughed. “But animal control was able to get her to a friend that has chickens and keep Fern enclosed — what a wild 24 hours.”