Meet Mary, Maine's newest poultry personality. Credit: Courtesy of Libby Hanley

Every chicken has a story. This is the story of Mary, an egg-laying araucana hen that has achieved recent celebrity status. And, like so many before her in these modern times, it’s thanks to being perched at the right place at the right time.

Mary and her five coopmates belong to Donna Williams of Swanville. Since they are allowed to free range during the day, every so often they free range themselves to the family farm next door, which happens to belong to Williams’ daughter Libby Hanley.

Mary is one of two araucanas in Williams’ flock — the other is an 11-year-old hen well past her egg-laying prime but happily living out her retirement years among the other chickens.

Williams keeps the chickens for the eggs and for companionship, which she said can be a bit one-sided.

“If I go outside with a sandwich, they like hanging out with me,” she said.

Hanley, who likes chickens just fine but is not obsessed with them in the way some backyard poultry keepers are, decided this week to have a bit of fun.

A lover of local news, Hanley spent $29 to take out a classified ad this week that appeared online and in print in The Bangor Daily News. The ad featured a headshot of Mary and the text over her head, “Have you seen this chicken?” In smaller print, below the image, it reads, “This chicken is not lost. She’s just an awesome chicken. We thought you should see her.”

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She then posted the fact she had placed the ad on her Facebook page and challenged people to get a hold of a paper and guess which ad was hers.

“Libby has quite a sense of humor,” Williams said Wednesday afternoon. “I thought this was really cute and hope it gets a good response.”

It has, and that’s why Mary has become a bit of a chicken celebrity. The ad has been widely shared on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Hanley is a bit taken aback by the attention Mary has garnered.

“Honestly, she is just a normal chicken.” Hanley said. “I had no idea she’d be this popular.”

As for Mary’s newfound fame going to her head? Hanley is not concerned.

“She was already at the top of the [flock’s] pecking order,” she said. “I think she’s good and will just keep laying her eggs.”

And if she does get a bit too big for her britches?

“It won’t be a problem,” Williams said. “The other chickens will keep her in line.”

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.