philadelphia going to the birds

rhode island red by Sidereal on FlickrLast week, a high school in my former adopted city of Philadelphia was closed for a day while personnel cleaned up after 85 Rhode Island Reds.

For the fowly-challenged, those are hens.

On Sunday, February 10 around 9:30 p.m., four unidentified males entered Northeast Philadelphia High School and let the birds loose, supplying them with plenty of chicken feed throughout the hall. For some reason, no alarm sounded upon their entrance and the hens weren’t discovered until hours later when the “school building engineer” showed up for work.

Can you imagine that guy’s face?

School was, not surprisingly, canceled that day, and the incident is under investigation by the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia police, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Students returned to the bird-free zone the following day. Here’s one them, senior Laura Weiszer, with a t-shirt commemorating the hen invasion:

I’m into chickens ya’ll

“I’m into chickens ya’ll” is what’s written on there.

As for the hens, they were taken to nearby Fox Chase Farm. Sorry, but I can’t help wondering about the wisdom of letting the hens in the foxhouse. Hah!

The Philadelphia School District has two farms and will keep some of whatever hens aren’t claimed by their rightful owners.

I have to admit that I thought this was all pretty funny when I read it–especially after I was assured that the pranksters left food for the hens.

Even school officials saw the humor; in reference to the fines that those responsible will have to pay, district spokesman Fernando Gallard said, “It’s not going to be chicken scratch.”

See, if this happened in Italy, all the hen droppers would need to do is come up with a motive behind the “protest” and they wouldn’t have to pay anything.

And really, wasn’t this *so* much more inventive than simply throwing some balls down the Spanish Steps?

A whole lot messier though.


[tags]philadelphia, hens, rhode island reds, northeast philadelphia high school, fox chase farm[/tags]

21 Beans of Wisdom to “philadelphia going to the birds”
  1. Gil

    I knew I forgot to send you something. One of my younger sisters teaches at that school and she sent me a video link. The kids went home and the teachers had to go to another school for in service training.

    I didn’t know you had family in Philly, Gil; poor teachers!

  2. 02.18.2008

    i have to agree with you, its definitely more original than throwing balls down the spanish steps. when i saw the news about the multicolored balls, all i could think of was the sony bravia advertisement.

    Odessa’s last blog post..the end of things

    Hah! A lot of people have said that…I have to look for it on YouTube 😉

  3. 02.18.2008

    “See, if this happened in Italy, all the hen droppers would need to do is come up with a motive behind the “protest” and they wouldn’t have to pay anything.”

    Actually, the hen droppers would probably be thanked… all those hens = a whole lot of free eggs! LMAO

    Giulia’s last blog post..Week in Review

    Giulia, I’ve obviously been in southern Italy too long because I definitely thought about the egg issue as well….

  4. 02.18.2008

    Ha. Funny! I hope you’ll keep us posted if anything happens to the hen droppers (which btw, creates a horrible mental image for me!)

    Cherrye’s last blog post..Come On Over

    Well I am nothing if not the creator of horrible mental images 😉

  5. 02.18.2008

    Hillarious! Sure beats papering the principal’s house!

    Diane Mandy’s last blog post..Ask and ye shall receive

    So true, so true 🙂

  6. 02.18.2008

    That’s pretty darned funny. Especially the t-shirt.

    A couple of years ago we had some genius high school seniors lace muffins with marijuana and leave them in the teacher’s lounge. OK. So not funny. It’s a federal offense to tamper with food BUT the t-shirts that came out of it were hilarious: “Do you know the Muffin Man?” HA HA HA

    Hah! Gotta love the apparently American tradition of making t-shirts to commemorate such things as well. Do other cultures do this?!

  7. 02.18.2008

    Thats too funny. 85 hens! My word!

    Charlotte’s last blog post..Playdate

    A lotta hens to be sure 🙂

  8. Mary

    That’s hilarious. I love the t-shirt too.

    Mary’s last blog post..What’s cooking?…. Carbonara

    Talk about creating high school memories, eh?

  9. 02.18.2008

    Okay, that’s a weird prank. I do love coming here and reading about Chicken pranks and balls on the stairs on other stories that SOME HOW seem to pass by me, if not for you 😉

    kacey’s last blog post..Black and White Challenge Results

    So happy to keep you informed of all the important stuff Kacey 😉

  10. 02.18.2008

    oh dear. i would not want to be on that clean up crew. ick.

    honestyrain’s last blog post..on love

    I hear you!

  11. Jane

    Happy Monday! I live in Philadelphia and I was laughing with my boss over that story. Some kids will do anything to get a day off from school ;))

    Hah! Worked too!

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  13. Joanne

    I keep picturing middle aged pot bellied men chasing these chickens to catch them and I am laughing almost to hard to type!!! Oh and the clean up must have been a nightmare! I hope they go easy on the pranksters, after all it was pretty harmless.

    Joanne’s last blog post..What it means to me.

    Goodness I hadn’t thought of it that way. Just keeps getting funnier!

  14. luigi

    “wasn’t this *so* much more inventive than simply throwing some balls down the Spanish Steps?”

    Is that a challenge? As an italian, now I’ll have to think of something and of a plausible rationale behind that, to prove we’re more imaginative than those american students.

    I’ve got it. They dropped hens? I’ll drop koalas, each hugging a column in saint peter’s square in rome and not letting go. That would be a protest against politicians who won’t let go of their offices. How’s that?

    Now, the only problem is: where do I find so many koalas in italy? And also, how do I persuade them to stay there instead of going in search of some tasty eucalyptus (or, in the case o dyslexic koalas in such a holy place, Eucharist)? Glue? Hypnosis? Tell them eucalyptus is going to be distributed soon and if they get away they may lose their part?

    Hah! Luigi, if that was a challenge, you’ve more than met it.

    But please no glue on the koalas! Poor things….

    Now I’m wondering, you think some nuns could whip up eucalyptus-flavored Eucharist for the event? Leftovers could be sold at the erborista, proceeds benefiting the cash-poor Vatican? Just a thought….

  15. Milva

    I was in desperate need of a laugh today and I got one when I read your post!
    I love the new look of your blog. I’m just getting back into it after many months of being on “hiatus”…great post as usual!

    Milva’s last blog post..Zia Vienna’s Torta di Mela (Italian Apple Cake)

    Glad to see you back Milva!

  16. 02.19.2008

    I’m fowly-challenged!
    It is funny and the fact that they left food does score points in my book.

    cheeky’s last blog post..A Sign of Promise

    Well I’m happy add to your fowl knowledge 🙂

  17. I’m glad they left some food. That T-shirt is pretty funny.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..An apartment in Rome.

    Yeah the food thing made me happy as well. Not like they would’ve starved in those 8 or so hours, but still….

  18. Enza

    Hilarious T-shirt!!

    Agreed 🙂

  19. i saw a blurb about this in the NYTimes, and just the headline cracked my shit right up. Hilarious.

    michelle @ Us vs. Food’s last blog post..Restaurant Re-creations: The Ugly American

    Wow the NY Times! I’m even more impressed with the ingenuity then.

  20. 02.19.2008


    i never realized *Rhode Island Reds*
    were so handsome!


    don’t you love their colorfulness!

    i hope the ones in the story
    had a fine time before being locked up again…

    one taste of freedom

    somepinkflowers’s last blog post..i’ll be doggone

    They are beautiful birds indeed. And you make an excellent point about their taste of freedom; kind of ironic since many view high school as a prison at best and inhumane torture at worst 😉

  21. 02.19.2008

    Oh, how funny! Reminds me of when a goat was placed on the roof of my high school.

    Bren’s last blog post..A Little Praise…

    Oh that poor goat!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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