The plot centers on a band of chickens who see a smooth-talking Rhode Island Red named Rocky as their only hope to escape from certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to selling chicken pot pies.
The Tweedy's are a middle-aged couple who run a struggling chicken farm somewhere in Yorkshire. Mrs. Tweedy is the malicious brains of the pair, while Mr. Tweedy is more dim-witted and believes the chickens are plotting against them, much to Mrs. Tweedy's exasperation. The chicken coop is run in the style of a World War II POW camp, with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay daily. Their official leader Ginger has attempted numerous escapes to flee the coop, but is routinely thwarted by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs. Ginger becomes increasingly desperate to find a plan of escape after another hen, which has not laid any eggs for several days, is slaughtered for the Tweedys' dinner with a hatchet.
Seeing their income drop, Mrs. Tweedy finds an article in a magazine suggesting a new way to bring in more profits. Ginger attempt to rally the other chickens' spirits so they will speed up their efforts to escape. However, she soon comes to concludes that their only viable plan is to go over the fence, something that has not been tried yet. As she stands outside that night, she sees a Rhode Island Red rooster named Rocky, who hurtles over the fence and crash-lands into the coop, breaking his wing. After Ginger a piece of a circus poster, suggesting Rocky can fly, she agrees to hide him from his owners if he teaches them how to fly. Rocky reluctantly agrees, and begins to put Ginger and the other chickens through a set of exercises that seem to have no purpose, while assuring them that they are making progress.
The chickens are surprised by a large piece of equipment being delivered to the farm, following Mrs. Tweedy's order to double their feed rations. Ginger concludes that they are being fattened up for slaughter. Rocky's wing completely heals after a disco dance that evening. Ginger is then taken by Mr. Tweedy for a test of their new equipment, which is revealed to be a machine for producing chicken pot pies.
Rocky rescues Ginger from the machine, and sabotage the it the process so that they will have more time to work on their escape. Fowler, an older rooster who has been doubtful on Rocky's acts, gives Rocky his respect for saving Ginger, now begins to respect him and gives Rocky his old Royal Air Force badge in tribute. Rocky decides to leave the farm the next day, leaving behind Fowler's medal and the mission section of the poster, which shows Rocky flew by being shot out of a cannon, and in reality had no flying ability. Trying to rally the chickens, Fowler starts talking of his days in the RAF, which inspires Ginger to propose the construction of an aeroplane to fly all the chickens out at once after breaking up a brawl that ensues. The chickens race against time to assemble their plane while Mr. Tweedy works to repair the pie machine. Meanwhile, Rocky sees a billboard for "Mrs. Tweedy's Chicken Pies" and begins to reconsider his decision.
The chickens complete their makeshift plane just as Mr. Tweedy finishes repairing the pie machine and enters the coop to collect them all. However, the chickens launch an open revolt by tying up and gagging him. As they are preparing to take off, Mr. Tweedy frees himself and knocks down the launch ramp. Ginger jumps down as Fowler turns the plane around, knocking Mr. Tweedy unconscious. Rocky returns to the farm in time to save Ginger from Mrs. Tweedy soon wakes up and now in a burst of primal rage grabs onto the lights too, weighing down the crate. Ginger from a hatchet-wielding Mrs. Tweedy and help her set the ramp back in place and the pair climbs aboard the plane by grabbing a string of lights that gets caught in the landing gear. Mrs. Tweedy also grabs hold and is dragged into the air, weighing the plane down. Ginger crawls down to try and cut the string. Mrs. Tweedy swipes at Ginger with her hatchet and seemingly beheads her, but Ginger dodged it and let the hatchet severe the string, dropping Mrs. Tweedy into the pie machine and blocking its safety valve, causing the machine to build up pressure and explode, destroying the barn. The chickens continue their flight to freedom, eventually establishing their own sanctuary far from the farm.
- Julia Sawalha as Ginger
- Mel Gibson as Rocky Rhodes
- Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedy
- Tony Haygarth as Mr. Tweedy
- Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler
- Timothy Spall as Nick
- Phil Daniels as Fetcher
- Jane Horrocks as Babs
- Imelda Staunton as Bunty
- Lynn Ferguson as Mac
- This is the first Disney movie to have a female protagonist.
- This is the first Walt Disney Feature Animation film to be released in June.
- This is first feature film by Aardman.
- This is first Disney title to have full opening credits.
- This is first Disney title to be rated G by the MPAA, following Finding Nemo and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Chicken Run was Aardman Animation's first feature-length production, which would be executive produced by Jake Eberts. Nick Park and Peter Lord, who runs Aardman, directed the film, while Karey Kirkpatrick scripted the film with additional input from Mark Burton and John O'Farrell. Chicken Run was first conceived in 1995 by Aardman co-founder Peter Lord and Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. Pathé agreed to finance Chicken Run in 1996 putting their finances into Script Development and Model Design. Disney officially came on board in 1997.