Coyotes and deer are regularly sighted in River Forest, but we figured the village was safe from free-range chickens – until now.

A lone chicken has been making its home on the east side of the Concordia University campus, outside Koehneke Community Center, since at least late July.

“Several of our staff see him pretty regularly early in the morning as they walk to work while campus is still quiet,” said Concordia spokesperson Kim McCullough. Student Paul Brooner said he sees the chicken regularly outside the dining hall.


“There’s a series of trees and bushes, and the chicken is nesting up with a group of baby bunnies,” he said.


Brooner actually snapped a couple of photos of the bird. “It kind of just strutted up to me and I took a photo with my cellphone camera.”

Junior Ashley Jensema, who grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, said the chicken is “pretty small.”

McCullough said Brooner, Jensema and other students have expressed concern for the bird’s welfare since the fugitive fowl has been chased a couple of times, and they’re worried about making sure he finds a home before temperatures drop. Flyers (so to speak) have been on campus urging, “Save the Concordia Chicken.”

Brooner said the issue was discussed in his “Freedom and Responsibility” class, where students were asked what they’d do if they were given $50.

“I said I’d build a small chicken habitat,” said Brooner.

Jensema said the chicken will most likely be OK as long the warm weather holds and there are bugs to eat. Once the cold arrives, chickens have to be fed by humans, she said. The little bird also won’t have any other chickens to huddle with to ward off the cold, she added.

There’s also a campaign to name the chicken. “I think we’re going to have a competition,” said Jensema, noting that the Student Leadership & Involvement Office is working on the issue.

“Someone already suggested Nugget,” Jensema told us, disapprovingly.

We’d suggest Foghorn Leghorn or maybe – sorry, Ashley- Colonel Sanders.

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