Four chickens were plucked from their coop overnight Monday at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Chicken-counting Food Bank staffers at the Nuestra Tierra Demonstration and Market Garden, 3003 S. Country Club Road, noticed the theft Tuesday morning.

The hens didn't simply fly the coop; the chicken swiper cut through a double-fence and left with four of the six Rhode Island hens from the garden, said Robert Ojeda, director of the Community Food Resource Center.

"It's not the first time it's happened," he said.

Ojeda isn't sure who could have stolen the birds. Perhaps, he speculated, it was someone in need.

Staffers did not file a crime report.

The chickens were used at the demonstration garden, on the west side of the food bank's property, to teach people how to raise egg-laying hens.

"We show all the systems that we use to grow food in an urban setting and the chickens were part of that," Ojeda said.

The hens were donated to the food bank in February and their eggs were sold at the organization's farmers market.

The food bank hopes it doesn't have to scramble to replace the missing birds.

"We're disappointed," Ojeda said. "We're hoping we can get some new chickens."

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at or 573-4224.