My family has a b&b in Dorset and we keep chickens, usually about 5 or 6 at a time. Sadly though, all but one of our brood had been stolen by the foxes, leaving just one (I liked to call her Margaret) all by herself. We didn’t want to make her feel left out by getting some more while she was still there as last time we did that, the lone hen got picked on by the others. They had been battery hens, so seeing her newly grown feathers being plucked out by bullying hens was really sad! So we kept her, thinking that she wouldn’t last too much longer.
Our chickens usually roam free (hence why Mr fox managed to nab so many of them), so although we kept her in her coop for a week or so to keep her safe, we decided that it was far nicer for her to be able to wander about. As time went by, she became quite tame – on not finding her in bed at night time, my dad found her curled up in the dog’s bed, much to the dogs dismay. She also jumped up and sat on people’s laps, or tried to join in conversations going on outside. Some b&bs were less keen on this, and with the foxes prowling about again, we decided to keep her in her coop for a little while. She was still laying an egg a day so we assumed she was quite happy.
One day last week, my dad went to pick up the egg from the laying box and there wasn’t one. Then he realised that there was no Margaret, upstairs or downstairs. There were no signs of a struggle with feathers everywhere, and all sides of the coop were locked up tight so she couldn’t have walked off. There were no hidden holes she had made in an attempt at some sort of great escape, she had simply gone!
We still haven’t found her, I can only assume that she was either so tame she managed to get out of the coop and lock the door behind her before walking off to find her fortune, or someone stole one chicken without us, or the dog, noticing them in our garden.
If anyone spots a lone chicken in the North Dorset area, overly tame and prone to laying eggs in hedges, please let me know and I will obviously keep you all updated on this mystery!