OK, I'll start off by saying the story has a happy ending, but I still don't deserve to own my flock. We put our rooster in the garage in a dog crate at night for neighbor peace reasons. Once or twice I've forgotten to take him out in the morning and he's spent a whole day in there, with no apparent ill effects. This week I went on a trip for three days and in the hubbub of getting packed and catching cabs and planes I must have forgotten to take him out. I didn't realize it until the night I got back and I went to put him away and he was not in the coop. It didn't even dawn on me that I forgot him--I actually started to suspect that the neighbor might have relocated him. Once I realized what I had done, I fully expected to find a long-dead roo in the box. Much to my surprise and relief, he was alive and appeared OK. I turned on the coop lights and let him roam for a while, but he didn't go for food or water--just went up to roost with his girls. This morning he was fine, eating, drinking, wooing, etc.
So my question is whether anyone knows, from experience or otherwise, how long a chicken can go without food or water? Not that I ever plan to do such a horrible thing again, I'm just curious whether he's a super-chicken, or if this is par for the course.