Did the Chicken Cross the Road? The Mystery of the Missing Phyllis

Some of you may have heard that our beloved Phyllis Diller disappeared last week.


It looked as though she had run away when our yard service came and had the gate open. If she was alive and well, we were certain she would have returned to the coop. Our girls don’t really like to wander. And she’s so little, even a cat could have gotten her. After three nights away from the coop, we had given up hope.

We accepted that she would not be coming home.


On Thursday, I was working at my desk, when I heard a tap at the back door, accompanied by the loudest squawk ever uttered by any hen. I looked through the window, and low and behold, the prodigal Phyllis had returned! Not only had she returned, but in true diva fashion, she was demanding treats. We gave her some.

Where had she gone? What had she been doing? It was a mystery. The day was rainy, but Phyllis was dry. Her normally grayish white feet had taken on a pink hue. Had she gotten sore feet from walking on pavement? A long adventure on suburban sidewalks? If so, how had she remained dry?

We couldn’t figure out what had happened, but were happy to have her home.


On Friday, she disappeared again. She was gone all afternoon and did not turn up in the evening. All our birds put themselves to bed in their warm and dry coop before the sun goes down, but once again, Phyllis was absent.

We had searched the yard when she first went missing and had not found her. Our yard is not very big and has few hiding places anyway. However, when she didn’t appear Saturday morning, Walt conducted his own search. I imagine his police training came in handy, for he discovered what Hannah and I could not: Phyllis’s hideout.

Way in the back of the narrow gap between the shed and the fence, under a bit of plywood left over from when we built the chicken coup, Phyllis had built a secret nest.

(Let it be noted, I had looked under that plywood myself, but she stayed hidden, quiet and deep in the shadows. $&*@ bird.)

Phyllis's secret nest

That is about three weeks’ worth of eggs. Walt found her trying to sit on all of them at once. Broody hens can sit on their clutch of eggs for days, not even getting up for food and water.

I haven’t conducted any chicken health classes so I suppose Phyllis can’t be blamed for not knowing that it takes a rooster and a hen to get chicks*.

But what of the reddish, pavement sore feet? Google assures me that pink feet can be a result of becoming a bit chilled. Becoming a bit chilled can be a result of staying out all night.

Mystery solved.


*A rooster and a hen…or a feed store.

Apparently Phyllis and I are of the same mind when it comes to wanting spring chicks.

Meet Liza Minnelli and Apple. What have we gotten ourselves into now?


  1. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it today. Phyllis is a little doll. Glad she’s okay. 🙂

    • Thanks! She’s quite something. I’m glad she brightened your day!

  2. Dang it, the LIKE button isn’t working. But I LOVE this!
    Oh, chickens. They are so wily! And look at all those babies she had hoped to hatch! Did you save them to throw at unruly children who need to get off your lawn? Because if you wait long enough, they’ll smell disgusting and sulfurous; they make great bombs. … not that I’d know, or anything…

    • *shifty eyes* 🙂


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