Why didn’t the chicken cross the road?
Because she’s chicken.
“There’s a lot of traffic,” said Irela Rodriguez. “I don’t blame her.”
The hen, one of many animals displaced during Hurricane Irma, wound up in Rodriguez’s backyard. Now, the chicken is too scared of the cars zooming along Red Road and hasn’t been able to make her way back home to her flock.
“She stands at the corner and won’t cross,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez believes that the comely nut-brown, white-tailed hen lives with a group of about six hens and two roosters in the parking lot behind the Publix grocery store at 1500 SW 57th Ave. and adjacent Cooper Park in West Miami. But the chicken can’t figure out how to reunite with them.
In the meantime, she’s found refuge with Rodriguez, who feeds her ground corn and gives her water in a plastic container. The hen likes to roost in Rodriguez’s avocado tree near the intersection of Milan Avenue and Country Club Prado in Coral Gables.
“She was very, very thin but she’s gained weight,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s husband has named the hen Matilda, after an Alabama chicken famous for her 16-year life span (most chickens live no more than eight years). The Alabama Matilda, named for her habit of waltzing in her cage, received the title of World’s Oldest Chicken from Guinness World Records and appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2004.
Rodriguez’s Matilda has gained her own celebrity status on the Nextdoor website. Rodriguez has been posting inquiries about the lost hen and would like to find an owner before she resorts to calling an animal trapping service.
“I can’t pick her up because she runs away,” Rodriguez said. “Although I suppose little by little we are getting more comfortable with each other.”
Rodriguez is not interested in adopting the hen or raising chickens for their delicious, fresh eggs, which would be the trendy thing to do. But she has to admit her affection for Matilda is growing.
“She’s famous, she’s cute, but she’s lonely,” Rodriguez said. “She needs company.”