Why did the chicken cross the road?

I got home at 5pm this evening after watching the music drama film Les Misérables. While I was still traumatised by the singing of Russell Crowe, I saw this dramatic scene outside my house:


Our missing hens were back! One was still on top of the fence, but another was in front of the house. At least they’re now back. Now, we need strategies to coerce them into the garden.


Come on…come home now.

This hen was away last night and ended up in another resident’s back garden, on another road. The old lady who lives there is extremely nice. Last night I knocked on her house to alert her of an intruder, while she was watching a TV program on penguins. (I told you she is very nice.)

The hen had jumped from neighbour G’s immaculate garden to the back of her house, on top of the pillar. This afternoon, this kind lady came over to inform us that the hen had come down and rested in her garden. Luckily, after an exhausting night, the hen was calmer and she was easily picked up by my husband.

But, once the hen got inside the garden, she flew again, landing herself in our front garden. There was something she didn’t like about our garden. Perhaps she was traumatised by the death of her friend.

It took another 20 minutes from the concerted effort of husband-and-wife team to first corner her, then cover her with a huge laundry basket and cuddle her firmly back to the garden. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were secretly filmed by some neighbours while we were trying to catch the hen. People must have enjoyed this live entertainment from the Neighbour from Hell.

Since the killing of a hen and the escape of two hens, I’ve gathered a few interesting facts:

1) Hens like hiding their eggs. While searching our garden for any possible attackers, we found about 20 old eggs under a bush. Why did they do that?

2) We got to speak to every neighbour in the close. We become chatty neighbours. It was surreal.

3) We entered 3 English gardens in the process of hen catching. These are all immaculate gardens. Grass is lush; patio is neat; bush is trimmed. One garden even has a fountain and another has a huge vegetable patch. My sense of inferiority is an understatement.

4) The experience of hen catching can be as awkward as listening to Russell Crowe singing in Les Misérables.

This evening, we’ve cleared the garden and secured the chicken coop. The girls should be safe in there.

21 thoughts on “Why did the chicken cross the road?

  1. todadwithlove

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the back-to-back episodes about your chickens. They were so full of adventure, intrigue, and warmth. I am reminded of two chickens I myself had as pets when I was a little girl. Growing up in a very urban environment, I had reared them in a metal cage in our shophouse balcony. Cruel, I know. However, they were happy enough, and I doted on them. Then one day, I woke up to find the cage open, and one of the hens missing. There were speculations that one of us might have left the lid open after feeding; conspiracy theories started flying about how disgruntled neighbours might have climbed in and taken one of the chickens; there was even talk of divine intervention about how God must have decided the hens needed a better life. Soon afterwards, I let the other go in my grandmother’s rural plantation. It deserves a life outside a metal cage, I thought.

  2. misswhiplash

    it is said that the way to meet your neighbours is to own a dog and take it walkies…but you seem to have found a new way…scattered chickens…. but all is well in the end and all have returned home. Now whenever you see your neighbours it will be all the talk about chickens..cluck! cluck!

    Unless chickens have had their wings clipped they can still fly over the top of fences and then weasles, foxes or whatever they are can still get to them….so make sure their night house is absolutely animal proof and that they are safely tucked up at night, every night….Also this time of year is the time for baby weasel /foxes to be born so Mum will be on the look out for food and even they prefer chicken to horsemeat!

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Thanks for the tips, Patrecia. We used to lock the hens up at night, but since it’d been so safe, we lost vigilance and became lazy ourselves, and we gave them total freedom. They slept anywhere in the garden, pooed anywhere, and they enjoyed sleeping on top of the bins sometimes. They knocked on the back door in the morning. But now after all the drama, we’ve been more careful and have kept them safe.

  3. Red Slider

    I am reminded of /why/ I don’t ask frannie anything what begins with the interrogative “Why…?” In pigeon Hawaiian, ‘wai’ is the word for ‘leg’ — and the invariably reply I have to wade through is “Because the chicken got two wai-wai.” Try finding a way to the other side of any road, when one has to first find their way around a gaggle of wai-wai. Can’t be done.

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  16. marymtf

    If you are a chicken doomed to lay eggs every single day it’s not going to be a big deal. Do you think that rather than hiding the eggs, your chickens just dropped them wherever they happened to be?
    PS. I like musicals, but a film that has all music and no dialogue is not for me. Russell Crowe is a good actor, but I’ve been told that his singing leaves much to be desired. I wonder why nobody’s mentioned it to him. Hope you didn’t suffer too much.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Mary,

      I need to study chickens’ psychology properly if we are going to keep more hens in the future. The eggs were in different pockets of the garden, their hiding places. However, if we had managed our garden well, we would have spotted the missing eggs.

      Russell Crowe was the only singer (and he was the main character) who couldn’t sing in the musical. Other singers sang beautifully. I didn’t enjoy his singing, though I know he had tried his best.


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