Runaway Chicken


9 Years
Aug 4, 2010
Greenfield, Indiana
Early this morning, I received a phone call from my neighbor. She told me that a friend of hers who lives more than a mile away had a black chicken running loose at her house. My neighbor asked if it were mine. I laughed and said I didn't think my chickens would go so far. I went out to the coop and checked anyway. Sure enough, I was missing a black star. My husband drove over to the house where my chicken was located and brought her home. The poor family who found her said they'd never seen a chicken before and it took them a long time to realize that their dog wasn't chasing a baby turkey vulture! I'm amazed. The couple was probably in their 50s and lived out in the middle of the Indiana countryside just like I do!

Anyway. I'm wondering if something might have chased her? I can't imagine her out running the wildlife that lives around here. Is it common for chickens to stray so far? Mine are not currently free-ranging and have limited experience of life outside the coop.
More than a MILE?


My chickens won't go far when free ranging (which I have had to stop because of a close call with an owl).
Yes, she was more than a mile away. I assume something must have frightened her to make her run so far. I'm not sure what would chase her so far and not be able to catch her. We have foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, dogs, cats and birds of prey. I would think she's be an easy meal. She didn't even run from us when we got to her.
Is it possible you do not have a rooster?

My long distant strays promoted by three things. 1) Need for water when pond dries up. 3) Flushed by predator where escape flight gets bird well outside normal home range and return trip on ground too exposed but going further keeps bird in good cover. Black star not a strong flier but could have been separated from flock and walked rest of way. I doubt a single predator could have driven hen that far on ground without catching her. Coon and oppossum would not pursue that far. 3) Dispersal when no rooster on place. Some hens will go quite a distance to hookup with a rooster if none to be had locally. Dispersal I saw most with American games following harvest of roosters on one walk with some hens (pullets actually) of that walk moving to adjacent walk where they could hear rooster(s) crowing. I think this real reason rooster crow, to bring in ladies from other social groups.
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I don't believe I have any roosters though these chickens are only 12 weeks old and this is my first flock. I wonder if the need for male companionship would drive one so young so far? I really don't know. I'm sure glad she's back though!
Twelve weeks I think to young to be looking for male. Mine were always at or near age for laying. Number two looks more plausible and being given a ride not impossible. If repeated, then self propelled dispersal. Does your yard lack bushed and tress that might serve as cover?

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