FORT KENT, Maine — An adventurous pet chicken is back at home in Wallagrass after she took an unexpected trip that resulted in her spending a night at the Fort Kent police station.
Employees at an adult learning lab on Pleasant Street next to the high school in Fort Kent called police at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday to report that a fowl visitor had arrived at their door.
“We got a call from the Chippy Center reporting a stray chicken,” said Police Chief Tom Pelletier. “They could hear chirping sounds outside the door and when they looked outside they saw a real live chicken.”
Officer Curtis Picard responded to the scene and took the chicken, which police determined was of the Barred Plymouth Rock breed, to the police department, where it was held in a shelter behind the station used to temporarily house dogs.
In the meantime, police posted a photo of the chicken on social media to try to find its owner.
The chicken apparently felt at home in the shelter, because at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, while checking on the chicken, Picard discovered that it had laid an egg.
Shannon Lugdon, who lives about 10 miles away in Wallagrass, said she was surprised when she saw the chicken photo on Facebook on Friday — she had no idea that her family pet, aptly named “Chicken,” had been incarcerated.
The chicken lives outside and roosts in a woodshed, according to Lugdon, who believes it must have hopped a ride to Fort Kent with her son, Manny Pettengill, 16, who is a junior at the high school.
“My son has a pickup and I guess she ended up in it Thursday when he was on his way to school,” Lugdon said. “I didn’t see her last night, but the weather was awful so I assumed she was snuggled up in the woodshed. I had heard about the chicken at the [Fort Kent Police Department], but never imagined Chicken could get to Pleasant Street.”
Chicken has proven herself a stalworth hen since the Lugdon-Pettengill family adopted her two years ago, according to Lugdon.
Chicken was only one of a dozen baby chicks to survive by hiding in a garage last year when predators attacked.
“Chicken started coming to the front door every morning and we would give her a bowl of food and vegetable scraps. She didn’t want to live in her pen; she chose to live in the out buildings near the house,” Lugdon said. “As winter settled in, we put a heat lamp in one of her roosting areas. In January, we thought something must have killed her too because she didn’t greet us at the door that morning and she wasn’t in her usual spot. A couple days later we rejoiced when we discovered she had moved to the woodshed. I guess the lamp was too warm.”
Lugdon and her son rescued Chicken from the police station on Friday afternoon.
The family is happy that their beloved bird has returned home.
“Chicken loves people. She squawks until we feed her and then she says thank you,” Lugdon said on Friday.
Chicken also made her feelings known about being temporarily separated from the family as soon as she returned to Wallagrass.
“As soon as we got home, I put her down and she ran to her roost and sat there yelling at me, like it was my fault,” Lugdon said. “She sure is a tough chick.”