It’s not every day you get to wake up to an article with this as the leading paragraph:

Just how did farm chickens end up inside campus buildings at Carnegie Mellon University last weekend? And who decided to paint them?

And the headline is straight Sherlock Holmes –The Case of the Spray-Painted Chickens.

So, let me sum this up for you:

Nine farm chickens found roaming various CMU buildings.  CMU calls lady from a farm.  Lady from the farm comes and gets the chickens to rescue them.  Lady from the farm says some of the chickens have paint on them.  Lady from the farm says this is cruelty to animals.  CMU is being mostly quiet about it as they look into what happened.  Two of the chickens are sick. WHY GOD, WHY?!  And lady from the farm says:

“I would think if they’re serious about this and they want to get to the bottom of it, somebody would have called to inquire about how they’re doing,” she said.

“Do they want to keep these things quiet? Is it routine for a college to hide crime? I mean, I think it’s a crime,” she said. “I’d love to see this go public, because this … shouldn’t be tolerated at these schools or anywhere else.”

Oh sweet Lord.  Listen.  Except in the case of pigeons, I am against animal cruelty.  I mean that.

They’re chickens with some paint on them! If the students had tortured these chickens, or burnt these chickens with cigarettes or strung these chickens up alive, I would be horrified.  But that is not the case here.

What did she expect CMU to do?  Issue a press release all, “Yeah, we just want to let the media know that we found some painted chickens on campus.”  That’s almost as ridiculous as accusing CMU of covering up some chicken-painting crime ring like it’s Ben Roethlisberger’s thumb.

So now it’s gone public.  What does the farm lady think will happen now?

Will CMU send flowers and “Get Well Soon!” balloons to the chickens?  Does she think we the people are going to march on CMU demanding justice for the Chicken Nine? 23 million chickens get their heads chopped off every single day. Chickens are food or provide food in the form of delicious eggs.

Get over it.  It was a prank.  The chickens are alive.  The students will be dealt with. Life goes on. I had eggs for breakfast and I’m having chicken for dinner.

Let’s gain a little perspective here before, God help us, PETA decides to get involved, because the last thing we need are batshit crazy naked women covered in paint, chaining themselves to —

Actually, that sounds kind of interesting.

Hey, PETA, they’re painting chickens over at CMU!


  1. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 9:25 am

    I was just waiting for this one.

    Presumably if whatever frat did this had simply beheaded, plucked and deep-fried the birds, eaten them to the bone and sucked out the marrow, then used the feet in voodoo ritual, that wouldn’t have bothered anybody.

  2. Amber
    March 18, 2010 9:33 am

    Chicken Nine. Heh.

  3. Bojack_filter_Please
    March 18, 2010 9:38 am

    I think I will save my outrage for things more important… say like the Pittsburgh police beating up an innocent young man for the crime of Walking While Black….

  4. Monty
    March 18, 2010 9:45 am

    1. Does she have any idea of the damage it can cause to a college student to falsely be accused of chicken assault?

    2. My sources tell me that somewhere between 9% and 50% of all chicken-related crime accusations are false.

    3. If those chickens didn’t want to get painted, they shouldn’t have been walking around CMU all chickened up like a bunch of “paint-me” chicken whores.

  5. red pen mama
    March 18, 2010 9:50 am

    First, even as an avowed vegetarian, I’m pretty much with Ginny on this one.

    Second, I want to give Monty a big hug. Because good satire deserves hugs.

  6. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 9:50 am

    Ah, but BFP, the two are inextricably linked. One day you’re painting chickens, the next you’re a serial omelette-maker, and before you know it you’re beating violists accelerando. Ah, what sad times are these when passing ruffians may paint chickens at will. It’s the coarsening of society, I tell you! Our moral compass has been lost! We’re all going to hell in an eggbasket.

    I blame Obama.

  7. red pen mama
    March 18, 2010 9:52 am

    And now I see @bucdaddy deserves a hug, too. “serial omelette-maker” *snort*

    Love it!

  8. SpudMom
    March 18, 2010 9:53 am

    Monty, I just have to tell you how awesome that was. You deserve a crown for King (Queen?) of Satire.

  9. Ben
    March 18, 2010 9:55 am

    In all fairness, the article does say that the chickens hadn’t been fed in a few days.

    At the same time, why does this lady think that CMU itself is responsible? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess this wasn’t exactly authorized by the college. I’m pretty sure the university’s reaction is “WTF?!?” and that they don’t exactly employ detectives to question potential witnesses or forensics people to dust the birds for prints.

  10. SpudMom
    March 18, 2010 9:57 am

    Wouldn’t dusting a live chicken for prints just be more cruelty (at least according to this lady)?

  11. Monty
    March 18, 2010 9:59 am

    @rpm — hug me if you dare, but you’ll just end up covered in paint and a few feathers.

    @sm — King, except for one awkward incident in college after a bottle of Thunderbird when I was hopped up on goofballs.

  12. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 10:04 am

    Bring it on, rpm. *snoogie snoogie*

  13. empirechick
    March 18, 2010 10:07 am

    Monty FTW!

  14. Natural Red
    March 18, 2010 10:12 am

    You can try to blame it on Obama- but he will just blame Bush.

  15. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 10:15 am

    This could have been so much worse. They could have found nine frat boys choking their chickens in campus buildings. Then they would have had all these dead chickens to clean up.

  16. Kathy
    March 18, 2010 10:20 am

    Ok, I just laughed out loud in my office at all of you!! As soon as I saw the article, I knew it had to end up here. And now that we have comments on “choking the chicken” I believe we have come full circle. Thanks for making me laugh!!

  17. unsatisfied
    March 18, 2010 10:21 am

    personally, I think that the chickens got off rather easily compared (allegedly) to a dog in somerset:

    where’s lorena bobbit when you need her?

  18. unsatisfied
    March 18, 2010 10:21 am

    “got off” — that’s just horrible….

  19. Susan
    March 18, 2010 10:39 am

    Feels more like Encyclopedia Brown than Sherlock Holmes to me.

  20. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 10:43 am

    ***City of Pittsburgh Chicken-Choking Tax proposal!***

    Lukey’s office says $0.10 per tug!

    Luke- “Hey! It adds up fast!”

  21. eileen
    March 18, 2010 10:50 am

    Maybe they are the pink and yellow peeps that escaped from my house one Easter in 1965. They are still trying to find their way back to Murphy’s 5 and 10 window.

    Also reminds me of Whole Foods bragging about their “Free Range” chickens. What, you are really nice to them and let them roam around for a while BEFORE YOU KILL THEM.

  22. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 10:51 am

    County Exec. Onorato comes out against Luke’s Chicken-Choking
    tax claiming it would be an extreme burden to county and city workers as they would be paying a disproportionately higher amount especially during normal business hours.

  23. CoolChick
    March 18, 2010 11:12 am

    They weren’t even sprayed black-n-gold. What the hell?

  24. Elmer Fudd
    March 18, 2010 11:30 am

    Maybe nobody painted them..They’re college chickens..Maybe they were just huffing..

  25. Pensgirl
    March 18, 2010 11:41 am

    When I was in college, a friend of mine played us a voicemail his RA left the whole dorm saying “Would the people responsible for the goat I found on the seventh floor please take it back to where it belongs?” Should we have called the police and/or press about that? Is transporting a goat across campus lines a crime? Should I have sued my school over such a traumatic event?

    (Also, some of these comments are pure genius. Keep it up folks!)

  26. Sooska
    March 18, 2010 11:51 am

    Is this any more cruel than the guy who took his alpaca surfing? without a life vest I might add.

  27. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 11:51 am

    KDKA’s crack political reporter Jon Delano asks hizzonor the Mayor the hardball questions:

    Delano-“Lukey, may I call you Lukey? Is this Chicken-Choke Tax of $0.10 calculated by individual strokes, or per completed event?”

    Lukey- “Great question Jon. I think we’ll give a $100K ‘no-bid’ contract to somebody connected to the Zappala family to get a better grip on this.”

  28. red pen mama
    March 18, 2010 11:53 am

    @monty, I have kids. I regularly am covered in worse after a hug. bring it!

    @bucaddy, woah, woah, I said a hug, not snogging. snoogie-ing? I’m not 100% sure that that is.

    ah, it’s nice to have a light comment stream.

  29. one-eyed dick
    March 18, 2010 12:00 pm

    You insensitive bastards! What if it was your chicken? What if it was your fryer? Or your succulent, fork-tender breast gently grilled and served on a bed of wild rice?

    Where’s your hen-anity? These were some proud mama’s little Grade A Larges at one time, now they’re just another “painted chickens” story in some second-rate news rag. What’s left for them now–to become McNuggets in some no-name McDonalds?

    They could have been Sunday dinner. They could have been a featured menu item. They could have ended up at Las Velas as ‘Pollo Montanez.” Instead, they’re just painted chickens, which is what they are.

    Who will cluck for them?

  30. smiley
    March 18, 2010 12:06 pm

    You’ll be happy to know The Great CMU Chicken Scandal has made it to the top of the news column at the PG online.

  31. Lizzy
    March 18, 2010 12:17 pm


  32. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 12:17 pm

    I’d like to be there when they try to clean the paint off. The saying isn’t “Madder than a wet hen” for nothing.

  33. CoolChick
    March 18, 2010 12:18 pm

    Are they layers or roasters?

  34. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 12:20 pm

    AP- Several CMU fraternities planning protest march over proposed Pittsburgh Chicken-Choking Tax

    Pittsburgh- The Greek Council is planning a protest over the city’s proposed new tax claiming it unfairly targets males and college students.

    In a related story the NIH is reportedly responding to repeated, and repeated CMU campus Health & Safety Office requests for on-site counseling for distraught students who are struggling with the apparent troubling paradoxes presented by trying to limit their city chicken-choking tax implications while yet expanding their PC awareness of the plight of chickens as extolled here by spokeswoman Pamela Anderson:

  35. Monty
    March 18, 2010 12:25 pm

    @ coolchick — a bunch of hungry, sick chickens with smeared make-up doing the post-bender walk of shame from various CMU dormrooms? I’d say that makes them layers.

  36. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 12:29 pm

    Clearly the work of misogynists!

    You don’t hear about them doing roosters do you?

  37. bluzdude
    March 18, 2010 12:33 pm

    Are we sure they weren’t a bunch of chicken-impersonating pigeons? Maybe they were trying to pledge a new flock and this was the initiation. I smell a hoax.

    Or maybe it’s just The Colonel.

  38. Pa-pop
    March 18, 2010 12:39 pm

    PITTSBURGH (AP) – In a widening scandal at Carnegie Mellon University, Colonel Sanders was found unconscious in a remote corner of a campus maintenance facility. The victim was covered in paint and thinner. Nine chickens have been held for questioning.

  39. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 12:43 pm

    Breaking news-

    PITTSBURGH (AP) – Allegations that CMU fraternities had orchestrated the Chicken-Gate scandal for Birds Gone Wild in exchange for free spring break downloads involved underage birds….story developing

  40. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 12:59 pm


    Delano- “Mr. Lukey, any comment on the allegations that underage chickens are involved at CMU?”

    Lukey- “We are devoting every effort to making sure any unpaid
    Chicken-Choking Tax is accounted for and paid with fines and interest. As soon as DA Zappala gets done reviewing numerous porn sites and possible flat-fee tax arrangements, and his personal family vendettas i.e. (the ‘list’,) he assures me his office will take a hard look at it!”

  41. DG
    March 18, 2010 1:17 pm

    Oh my gosh – these posts are hysterical.

  42. red pen mama
    March 18, 2010 1:19 pm

    one-eyed dick is angling for a kiss on the cheek!

  43. Jess
    March 18, 2010 1:22 pm

    I think you are missing the point. There most certainly was cruelty involved. They hadn’t been fed in a week and 2 of the birds are sick. Just because they are food animals (and yes, I do eat meat including free-range chicken – I HATE factory farming in all forms) does not mean they deserve any less humane treatment or respect. The painting on top of their poor condition is just a bigger insult. The article failed to adequately pick up on the lack of food or medical treatment and focused more on the paint. Though had that been a dog, probably most of you would have overlooked the focus on the paint and been outraged by the dog’s condition.

    I do love your blog, by the way. But I don’t want people to get lost in the fact the birds were painted and realize those poor birds suffered at the hands of some giant butthole(s) at CMU!

  44. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 1:25 pm

    WXPI reports-

    Yarone Zober announces brain-storming conference to be held at Nemacolin (with special side-trips to Ft. Lauderdale) to “flesh out” the newly-discovered financial windfall to rescue city pension funds with an innovative Chicken-Choking Tax.

    The City will pay all expenses to assemble a brain-trust comprising among others Ben Roethlisberger, Jeff Reed, Santonio Holmes, senior frat leaders from Pitt and CMU, Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, various buddies of Lukey who didn’t get to go to NOLA for Mardi Gras, and most of the Zappala family to explore funding stream options.

    Ideas already under consideration: Adding an “Infield-fly” option to Comcast’s Triple Pay bundle which would include unlimited chicken-choking, unlimited sugary pop consumption,
    privilege of working and/or attending college in the city for an extra $200/yr. Negotiations are already underway with the major city unions for their kickbacks, err, exemptions, err, discounts. Free lube, etc.

    “These are the kinds of things we really need to do some ‘hands on’ work on..” states Zober

  45. Monty
    March 18, 2010 1:25 pm

    I thought RPM’s post was the dirtiest one I’ve ever seen on this blog, until I read the last sentence of Jess’s.

  46. Jess
    March 18, 2010 1:37 pm

    I appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person so I’m not all offended Monty, but I’ve read through the last sentence a couple of times and I don’t get what was dirty about it? “Butthole” is a nice term I decided to use, I’m pretty passionate about treating animals well (I’m not an animal rights extremist, I just think animals aren’t ours to starve, let die of illnesses under our care because we were too stupid/cheap to call the vet, etc.), so I could have used a much more colorful term there pretty easily.

  47. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 1:51 pm

    Don’t sugarcoat it Jess!!!!

  48. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 1:56 pm

    Isn’t butthole a term of affection?

    (And to think all this time I’ve been smiling while answering to it?) :-)

  49. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 2:04 pm


    While I can’t help myself making the commentary above (caffeine and Ritalin LOL) I do share your view.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”
    — Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

  50. red pen mama
    March 18, 2010 2:46 pm

    Aw, come on! I meant the cheek on his face! :) Man, I should have realized what I was getting myself into.

    Caffeine and Ritalin would explain so much, @bojack.

    I really have to start using Twitter again.