Melissa Childs calls the bird “Enigma.”
The mystery started on Sunday when an unidentified woman deposited a chicken in the yard of Andy and Molly Morris, who raise chickens at their Silverton home.
But the couple insisted the chicken wasn’t theirs.
They believed the Columbian Wyandotte chicken might belong to Childs, who raises the same type of chickens at her Snowden Street home.
And at first, Melissa herself figured it was one of hers. So she took custody of the wayward bird.
Childs explained that she has 13 chickens and tried to do a head count to see if one was missing before taking in Enigma.
“But they’re hard to count — they’re always in motion,” Childs said. But the mystery chicken sure looked like it was one of hers, so she hauled it home.
“So I brought it back home and it had a sleepover with my chickens,” Childs said.
Then on Monday morning, Childs counted her chickens more carefully and found that she now had 14 of them.
Meanwhile, the arrival of the mystery chicken obviously ruffled the feathers of Melissa’s regular flock of 13, who were not happy about their visitor.
“Mine are picking on her,” Childs said. So she had to let Enigma roam freely in her back yard while the other chickens were confined to their chicken run.
Childs said she has checked with Nick and Katy Houston, who also raise chickens in Silverton, to see if it was one of theirs, but they weren’t missing a chicken either.
So now Melissa needs to find a rightful home for the chicken, which she has dubbed Enigma.
“I call her Enigma because of the whole mystery — where did she come from?”
And, for that matter, why did the chicken cross the road?
Childs speculated the bird may be one of those that were abandoned at Molas Pass this summer, but that seems unlikely.
Childs said the bird is very “people compatible” and “she lays eggs and eats scraps.”
She said that given the way her other chickens treat Enigma, she can’t keep the spare bird, even though she said the bird has a lot of pluck and is quite good at defending herself from the flock, thus no need to get all choked up about it.
“They haven’t beaten her up too badly, but I can’t stand to watch it,” Childs said.
“I hope we can find her owner,” Childs said, “or if someone wants to take her in …”