Hitchhiking chicken catches a ride from Hinesburg to downtown Burlington

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - Amelia the chicken spends her day doing, well, what chickens do: digging up dirt; looking for dinner, bugs and grass mostly; or hanging with her feathered friends at her Hinesburg henhouse. She also loves snuggles from her human mom, Rebecca Thibeault.

“I raised them from very small,” Thibeault said.

But it seems Amelia got tired of the country life recently and flew the coop for a day in the city.

“I was very sad that she was missing,” Thibeault said.

But Amelia didn’t cross the road to get there, she hatched a plan and hitched a ride. Her journey began in a Ford truck. Basically, the family has figured out that she climbed into a tiny compartment in the undercarriage for the 13-mile ride to downtown Burlington. For a chunk of that, the Ford and the chicken were going 65 mph on Interstate 89. That must have been a “fowl” ride.

She ended up where most people do when they get to Burlington, the Church Street Marketplace for the music, the shopping and the food. Good thing Amelia didn’t get a close look at the menus lining the pedestrian mall.

Lo Fasano had just finished a cup of coffee on a morning marketplace walk and knew the poultry was in a predicament.

“That’s a chicken! That’s a chicken on Church Street and I don’t know why it’s here,” Fasano said. “What can I do now aside from find who it belongs to?”

Fasano called rehabilitators, Shelburne Farms and even the police.

“They said they don’t do chickens,” Fasano said.

So, Fasano took Amelia home and gave her food and a place to nest. After the journey, the bird was clearly beat.

Meanwhile, Fasano thought maybe, just maybe, social media might help.

“Even though it was a long shot, I had hope,” Fasano said.

It worked. A Facebook post led Fasano to Amelia’s family who, back in Hinesburg, was worried sick about the wayward hen.

“I was like, this is my chicken! We need to go get my chicken!” Thibeault said.

“I’m happy there are so many members in the Burlington Vermont Facebook community to help us when we lose things like a chicken,” Fasano said.

They connected and got the bird home, where she got a new name. She used to be Bug, but given her wild adventure, she is affectionately now called Amelia after Amelia Earhart, the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“First woman chicken to go across Church Street,” Thibault said. “So Amelia turned out very fine.”

“I felt a connection with that chicken I really did,” Fasano said. “Chickens are in my future, I think.”

Fasano’s love for the little red hen comes with visitation rights. But instead of Church Street, the farmyard will have to cock-a-doodle-do.

“I think about her and I’m really happy it had a happy ending,” Fasano said.

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