“New Van Turken” causes humorous trouble


A situation involving a runaway hen last week is likely to be “déjà vu” for many North Grenville locals. A beautiful little hen named Elizabeth ran away from home in the last few days of October, gaining a following amongst locals before most even knew her name. Given the similarities to another situation that occurred years ago in Kemptville, it may be appropriate to give Elizabeth the title of “The New Van Turken”, named after the elusive turkey that toyed with motorists and homeowners in early 2020. 

This New Van Turken belongs to local resident Katie. “We’ve had chickens for 5 years,” Katie told the Times. “We initially bought chickens for fresh eggs and have continued to raise chickens because they are a fun and loving part of our family. Our children really enjoy spending time with them.” 

Runaway hen Elizabeth, who was finally caught by her owner after a few days of freedom

The question of how Elizabeth managed to escape and wander all over town is not much of a mystery after all. “The chickens do spend the mornings roaming freely while we are outside with them,” said Katie. “They return to their run for safety in the afternoon. Elizabeth was in the run but escaped when I opened the gate to go check for eggs.”

Asked if she had made the connection between Elizabeth and Van Turken, Katie said she had not. “I do know of Van Turken, and it didn’t really cross my mind as I was worried about Elizabeth being out for days. The cold nights and predators in the area were a great concern for her well being.”

Catching Elizabeth proved to be more difficult than Katie originally anticipated. “I had tried using her favourite treats of dried meal worms to get her to come to me but she refused,” said Katie. “Last night my eldest child asked to try to help. With it being a busy road, I was hesitant before. Elizabeth has a special bond with my children. She was happy to run up to my child for the treats being thrown, so I was able to sneak up behind her to pick her up and carry her home.”

Many local social media users celebrated the news of Elizabeth’s safe return home. In early 2020, Van Turken – a runaway turkey – made its mark on Kemptville. The turkey was perhaps most famous for standing in the middle of busy streets, including the local roundabouts, holding up traffic without a care in the world. Van Turken had an online following, including a social media group with thousands of followers. The turkey’s presence in town spurred Letters to the Editor and even an article from Mayor Nancy Peckford, who celebrated the community’s care for a wild bird as a show of North Grenville’s good heart and hospitality. Named by townspeople by way of an online survey, Van Turken was eventually re-located outside of town, leaving many residents missing their beloved feathery mascot. Elizabeth’s brief taste of freedom may now be over, but not before leaving a lasting legacy in a tight knit community. Stay safe, New Van Turken!



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