A pensioner has described the “extraordinary” moment her pet chicken, feared to have been taken by peckish Christmas partygoers, returned home.

Dolores, pensioner Dr Sandy Kennedy’s pet chicken, disappeared in December, leading to fears she had been taken for someone's Christmas dinner.

But Dolores avoided the butcher's knife and reappeared at home after 25 days missing.

The Argus: Dolores is back in the company of her 'furry friends'Dolores is back in the company of her 'furry friends' (Image: Sandy Kennedy)

She came home one evening to find Dolores waiting for her.

Sandy said: “She was a bit thin, she was a bit wobbly as if she hadn’t been walking much, and she was thirsty. That was it.

“I think it’s a miracle.

“I would imagine someone dropped her off, no one seems to have any real explanation. The odds are that she was found to be too skinny, so they didn’t eat her – clearly she’s also too tough for eating.

“Or, they wanted her to lay eggs and she didn’t lay eggs.

“Was it a joke, or did someone have a vendetta against me keeping chickens?”

The Argus: Dr Sandy Kennedy is a retired academicDr Sandy Kennedy is a retired academic (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Sandy says she doesn’t know where her beloved chicken has been. She added: “I’d love to be a Doctor Doolittle and say ‘Oh come on Dolores, what’s going on?’

“One neighbour of mine said maybe she dug underground, as apparently chickens can stay underground for three weeks. I thought ‘yeah, but this is concrete – an old hen wouldn’t go digging under concrete.’”

She feels as though Dolores has settled back into her home well. Sandy said: “That evening, when she’d finished drinking water, all she could have is porridge but she seemed ok about that.

“I put her back with the rabbits, Oreo and Misty, and she went straight over and ate their food. They seemed to be quite laid back about that.

“The only difference is the comb on the top of her head is a bit floppy, which means she’s not quite as fit as she might have been.”

Over recent weeks, Sandy feared the worst for Dolores’ fate. She said: “What was ironic was that on Friday, I took all her stuff – pellets, grit and corn – round to a local school and said: ‘Look, you’ve got chickens. You have this, sadly I don’t need it anymore.’”

The Argus: Dolores spends time both outdoors and indoorsDolores spends time both outdoors and indoors (Image: Sandy Kennedy)

Dolores was rehomed from the Raystede rescue charity near Lewes. She is a highly domesticated chicken, that can be found roaming the front room and chicken coop at Sandy’s home in Clifton Road, Brighton.

Sandy said: “Somebody looked over the wall this morning and waved. I keep hearing people say, ‘it’s back’, and there is this happiness.”

She said she does not believe Dolores would be back home without The Argus’ initial appeal. “The message got out there, because people who I have not known have talked about it.

“It’s been extraordinary. I think it touched people’s hearts over Christmas.”