back to article Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD

After several millennia of global dominance, the human species is still uncertain about the motivations of those chickens that choose to cross the road. But last Monday, officers from the Portland Police Department got the opportunity to tackle this most insoluble of philosophical problems after a plucky clucker ventured into …

  1. Anomalous Cowshed

    because...

    It's Friday, and...it's not Friday? Oh yes it is. In this universe, today is Friday...the 42nd.

    1. Anomalous Cowshed

      Re: because...

      Old McDonald had a farm, Eieio

      And in this farm there was a pig, Eieio

      And "step out of the car"

      And "you're under arrest"

      "Don't this, do that" - "That's it I'm out of here!"

      Old McDonald had a farm, Eieio.

    2. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: because...

      He saw all the beautiful, fast cars, and wanted to be like them....

      Poultry in motion....

  2. WillbeIT
    Trollface

    umm..

    To, er, get to , um, the other side perhaps? Just sayin

    1. Frank Zuiderduin

      Re: umm..

      Yup. That's it. I thought everybody knew that.

      1. Anonymaus Cowark

        Re: umm..

        yeap the gras is greener on the other side

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: umm..

          the gras is greener on the other side

          So, the poor chicken would continuously be crossing the road until it starves?

          (wouldn't be that surprised...)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: umm..

          yeap the gras is greener on the other side

          It's a chicken, not a cow :)

    2. Stuart Moore

      Re: umm..

      Yes, to get to the other aide, have known that since age 4

      Which made it all the more astounding when age 27 someone pointed out it also meant to die...

      All that time and I hadn't spotted the actual joke!

      1. Cliff

        Re: umm..

        Well damn! I'm 42 and had never got it either. Thank you Stuart, have a +1. I'd give you +2 if I could. Makes a heap more sense than an anti pattern.

      2. stucs201

        Re: also meant to die...

        The alternative question for that is "Why did the chicken commit suicide?"

        1. Frankee Llonnygog

          Re: also meant to die...

          IT version:

          Why did the button commit suicide?

          It was depressed.

      3. Aaiieeee
        Mushroom

        Re: umm..

        My mind is blown..... and I'm 27 too..

      4. Martin Maloney
        Coat

        Re: umm..

        "...It's really trying to go into the middle..."

        Q: Why did the American chicken cross the road?

        A: To get to the middle.

      5. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: umm..

        Ok, I still don't see how the chicken also meant to die. If it were a modern joke I'd understand given the amount of traffic and speeds it travels but when the joke appears to have originated, 1847, the invention of the automobile was still nearly 40 years distant and Lincoln wouldn't be elected for over a decade so crossing a road should have been trivial unless there happened to be a horse carriage at full gallop coming through. This whole chicken suicide sounds like some sort of new-age codswallop to me.

    3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: umm..

      To get away from the chicken, er, plucker?

    4. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: umm..Uncertain of the motivation....

      Did anyone suspect fowl play?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a chicken keeper I can tell you...

    It must have thought there was food on the other side. It's a boring answer, but it's the only reason chickens ever seem to do anything.

    1. Mpeler
      Pint

      Re: As a chicken keeper I can tell you...

      Maybe someone was egging him on?

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    I thought this had been answered by Terry Prattchet

    Just read "Hollywood Chickens"

    Cogito ergo cluck

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: I thought this had been answered by Terry Prattchet

      Read that last week , coincidentally. When i saw the headline i thought the Reg had just discovered it!

  5. msknight Silver badge

    What?!

    Had to slow down to a stop? Why didn't he just hit he plucker and put the confused feather brain out of its misery?

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: What?!

      Fact: when you run over a chicken, the noise sounds like the word 'escalope'.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What?!

        I can't really remember the sound when I last hit a chicken, but the rear view was a 20 foot high tower of feathers which rapidly expanded to cover the entire road.

        One way of plucking 'em....

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: 20 foot high tower of feathers

          Years ago on holiday, on a remote country road, my Dad's car hit a chicken just as we passed a small cottage. Feathers everywhere, indeed, and an irate old country woman ranting "You've kilt ma chicken". It took a fresh £5 note (it was a while ago) to pacify her, but for ages afterward my Dad was convinced that she spent her days sitting behind the hedge with a bag of dead chickens, thowing them out in front of passing tourists...

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: 20 foot high tower of feathers

            Years ago on holiday, on a remote country road, my Dad's car hit a chicken just as we passed a small cottage

            Mate of mine hit a chicken with his sidecar rig. Presenting it to the farmer's wife, uttering apologies, she replied laconically "Oh, that's chicken soup tonight then."

    2. Pete 2

      Re: What?!

      I suppose it depends on the size of the bird. A largish one could do a lot of damage to your car if you hit it at speed. Though it would almost certainly go under the vehicle - unless it took flight at the last second and hit your windscreen.

      Though I do agree: anyone who puts their own life (and that of their passengers and other motorists) at risk by slowing / stopping on a motorway, simply to "save" some wildlife shouldn't be a driver.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What?!

        suppose it depends on the size of the bird. A largish one could do a lot of damage to your car if you hit it at speed. Though it would almost certainly go under the vehicle - unless it took flight at the last second and hit your windscreen.

        I had this happen about 30 years ago with a pigeon. The beast decided to land on the road just ahead of me so I had no chance to break. The stupid bird decided to take flight when my car was almost on top of it - and thus ended up minced in the engine compartment when it encountered the cooling fan on its way up (in those days they were still permanently driven by the fan belt). I cannot tell you what a mess it was under the hood, and to this day I don't know how the fan managed to stay intact.

        It took some serious jet cleaning and scrubbing to clear it - bird fluids and bits sure stick to hot surfaces...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What?!

          Try hitting one on a motorcycle, then... Not to be recommended.

          A mate copped one in the face. A full-face helmet visor was no match for said pigeon. Never mind cleaning the engine bay, a face full of pigeon guts is quite a mess.

          1. NumptyScrub
            Unhappy

            Re: What?!

            quote: "Try hitting one on a motorcycle, then... Not to be recommended."

            I ducked behind the touring screen, so just got spattered with bits rather than taking one to the head. Front of the bike also held up fine, but it did take some time to clean the bits off though, given they had plenty of time to dry up on the remainder of the journey :(

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: What?!

            There are worse things than pigeons in the visor.

            Smaller birds don't get slowed down by the helmet body and a swarm of bees is a thing of terror (as is a single solitary wasp.)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What?!

            Try hitting one on a motorcycle, then... Not to be recommended.

            You know, I can't say I've ever seen one on a motorcycle.

          4. sisk Silver badge

            Re: What?!

            Try hitting one on a motorcycle, then... Not to be recommended.

            I don't know about pigeons, but I once saw a guy take a pheasant to the chest on a motorcycle. The bird won. It knocked him clean off the back of the bike and wandered off into some tall grass while he was testing how much protection leathers give against road rash (quite a bit, apparently, but not so much against bruises and broken arms).

            Somewhat humorously, the bike continued down the road for about a quarter mile before it realized it had lost its rider and laid down in the ditch to wait for him.

            1. msknight Silver badge

              Re: What?!

              The trains don't always win - http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blthaw.htm

        2. Vinyl-Junkie

          Re: What?!

          I once hit a pigeon with 2 Class 37 locos and about 1500 tonnes of Freightliner train.

          The train won....

          1. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: What?!

            Are you an anime character?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Just you wait and see

            Jake will do much better

            He will have hit a flock of birds in a stealth bomber, during his testing career at NASA

          3. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: What?!

            I once hit a pigeon with 2 Class 37 locos

            I take it you hit it with the first one, with the other and the rest of the train just supplying the necessary momentum to offset the pigeon's impact.

      2. What? Me worry?

        Re: What?!

        "Though I do agree: anyone who puts their own life (and that of their passengers and other motorists) at risk by slowing / stopping on a motorway, simply to "save" some wildlife shouldn't be a driver."

        I suppose your policy position is okay for small fowl and poultry, but have you considered the ramifications of not stopping vis-à-vis moose?

        http://www.vti.se/sv/publikationer/pdf/algdocka-av-gummi-for-krockprov.pdf

      3. DanceMan

        Re: anyone who puts other motorists at risk by slowing

        Recent case in the news in Quebec of a woman who stopped on the highway for some ducks which resulted in the death of two following motorcyclists: she was convicted and sentenced and was just given leave to appeal.

        Precisely illustrates your point.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: anyone who puts other motorists at risk by slowing

          which resulted in the death of two following motorcyclists

          That's not solely her fault (and I am a motorcyclist). Following too close so that you don't have time to react to a vehicle suddenly stopping, then brake or swerve to avoid collision is noone else's fault but the person who's following too close. Sure, on a motorway it's usually a steady flow of traffic in more or less the same direction, but anything can happen to disrupt that, and it behooves anyone (not just motorcyclists, BTW) to be aware of that.

          What, in any case, is the number of ducks you can safely mow down without stopping, and at what speed? Had one taken flight and hit the windscreen, chances are she would have slammed the brakes, with quite likely the same (or worse) outcome. What if it had been a goose or swan instead of a duck? The average driver would brake, doesn't matter if that's before or after hitting it. A deer? Moose? What if she'd had an engine failure? Or a truck slightly ahead suddenly blowing tyre shrapnel in the direction of her car? Just a number of reasons why not keeping distance can be rather unhealthy.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Ever kept chickens?

    They are pretty much brain-dead. One of our free-range yard-birds managed to sprint under my Kubota about a week or so ago. Sadly, none of the meat was usable.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Ever kept chickens?

      Of course, it's brain-dead. I mean, it successfully committed suicide, ceased to exist, popped its clogs, kicked the bucket: dead, brain-dead!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ Arnaut the less (was:Re: Ever kept chickens?)

        The little tractor is a Kubota L3430.

        I don't do Kubotas in boats, I run Perkins.

  7. Anonymous IV
    Joke

    Philosophical question

    Why can't chickens just cross the road without having their motives questioned?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Philosophical question

      Because they look suspicious. To you, a chicken. To the police, a potential civil rights agitator.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Philosophical question

        Did they issue an ASBO?

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Philosophical question

          Anti-social Bird Order?

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Why did Hemmingway's chicken cross the road?

    To die...

    Alone...

    In the rain...

    1. Martin

      Why did the film-mad chicken cross the road?

      To see Gregory Peck.

  9. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Optional

    Well, we all know the elephant crossed the road to make a trunk call, so I suspect that the chicken crossed because it was stapled to the elephant.

  10. Qwelak

    Thought everuone new

    The chicken crossed the road to see his flat mate.

    1. Martin
      FAIL

      Re: Thought everuone new

      I was pretty sure that was the hedgehog.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Thought everuone new

        "I was pretty sure that was the hedgehog."

        No, the Hedgehog did it to prove he had guts.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Police wouldn't be happy

    I reckon if I saw this and called the police, they'd suspect foul play.

  12. ISYS
    Coat

    Why did the chicken cross the playground?

    To get to the other slide..........

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Why call the police ?

    It's a chicken, not a buffalo. It'll move sooner rather than later (case in point, it moved before the cops got there).

    I've been stopped by fowl before (geese in fact), it takes them a leisurely 30 seconds to waddle off and let you move again.

    Calling the cops for that is about as useful as calling them when Facebook is down.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Why call the police ?

      "I've been stopped by fowl before (geese in fact), it takes them a leisurely 30 seconds to waddle off and let you move again."

      Had that happen 2 nights ago. They don't move any faster if you lean on the horn either.

  14. silentmovie

    COLONEL SANDERS:

    I missed one?

  15. Joe Harrison

    Why did the chicken only cross half-way?

    It was a Rhode Island red

  16. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Dogs

    My father taught me to never swerve for dogs because doing so you are likely to kill yourself or someone else in another vehicle.

    A tourist here recently swerved for a rabbit and put his whole family in hospital.

    P.S. The only dog that I've hit survived the impact.

    Paris wouldn't swerve for a dog ----------->

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Dogs

      "A tourist here recently swerved for a rabbit"

      Did he hit it?

      Back home, rabbits, possums and other non-domestic small-furry-animals are regarded as "targets"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: possums

        I've heard New Zealanders refer to possums as "squashems"...

        1. Mayhem
          Thumb Up

          Re: possums

          Yep, but the key to possums is to hit em with the back wheel so the mess sprays out behind you, rather than under the vehicle. Even more fun on the gravel back roads.

          Cue the mandatory rally ad

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaoAkoLT274

          On the other hand, Aussies learn early to swerve round wombats, which are pretty much indestructible mobile traffic islands...

          1. Cpt Blue Bear

            Re: possums

            "Aussies learn early to swerve round wombats, which are pretty much indestructible mobile traffic islands..."

            Most Aussies learn.

            I've seen the aftermath of a Holden that hit a wombat at around the tonne. It punched the passenger side upright through the fender and tore the hub clean off. The skid and scrape marks were about 300m long. Its a miracle the thing didn't roll over. That was on an old tank like HQ, not a fall-apart-if-you-look-at-it-funny Commodore.

            To add insult to injury, the driver had walked all the way back and found the bloodied mound of brown fur was still breathing so he walked back to the car get something to finish it off with and by the time he'd got back to the scene the bugger had wandered off into the bush never to be seen again.

            We picked the poor bastard up about an hour later.

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: Dogs

      quote: "My father taught me to never swerve for dogs because doing so you are likely to kill yourself or someone else in another vehicle."

      In the UK you are required by law to stop and give details if you hit a dog, so I would need to stop anyway. May as well attempt avoidance if you believe you can do so safely.

      I would however agree that there is no cause to unnecessarily endanger yourself or your passengers, if you do not believe you can perform an avoidance manoeuvre safely.

  17. Richard Boyce
    IT Angle

    because....

    ...they're trans-dimensional beings who have been performing intelligence tests upon us. We keep failing, but they're optimistic that we'll eventually figure things out.

  18. Shaha Alam
    Black Helicopters

    I'm surprised a SWAT squad wasn't sent in to 'take out' the chicken, military execution style.

  19. Peter Storm

    Quantum Chicken!

    A quantum chicken would have both crossed the road and not crossed the road therefore eliminating the need for crossing at all as it would be on both sides at once and on neither side. There was no sign of it when the police arrived because of the observer effect, as as any fule kno.

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: Quantum Chicken!

      But they did find a box which had a high radioactive signature that had chicken sounds coming from it......well it did until they blew it up

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    A chicken and a cow are waiting at the side of a road.

    The cow starts to cross and says to the chicken, "Are you coming?"

    The chicken replies, "Well I would but people will never stop talking about it."

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chickens are, in my view underestimated. Particularly fallacious is the view that chickens are towards the lower end of the food chain, eaten by foxes, Colonel Sanders, and just about everything in between. Chickens are, in fact ninja style, relentless, ruthless killers. If any small creature gets into their pen, they immediately attack, viciously kill and eat it. Insects, small mamals, the lot. One partucularly revolting memory was one of our rather small pet chickens eating a large, still live and struggling frog, head first, the frogs legs kicking wildly. They are decended from Velociraptors. Remeber this and treat them with the respect they deserve. Give them the chance, and they'll kill you and everyone you care about. You've been warned.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Ruthless bird brains

      Chickens are indeed ruthless killers, in the days when I kept horses, I also had a fair few chickens wandering around, On the odd occasion when opening a feed bin and finding a mouse, if I was able to catch the little bugger and splat it the chickens would go mental with each other trying to get the most meat.Also if a mouse was daft enough to show up in their pen they would fight each other enough to the point the mouse could escape,

      Their beaks are quite wicked and designed for cutting meat although they are omnivores. On the other hand genius is not a requirement for elevated status in the pecking order and like Jake I have mowed the odd chicken, I borrowed a Kubota out front mower , it had a 60" wide cutting deck with three large cutters, while I was topping the field my wife decided to let the chucks free range for a bit. One of the larger birds came ambling up the field then suddenly made a bee(chicken)line for the front of the machine and disappeared into it, I swear about three times as much gore and feathers came out the side chute compared to the amount of bird that went into it.

      I also managed to strim a hen with a heavy duty strimmer, it took all the feathers off one wing but the bird survived and didn't seem too bothered by the experience.

      For anyone who fancies keeping a couple of chickens I can recommend Wyandottes, the eggs are usually large, brown and often double yolkers. You can easily get 200 eggs a year from one of these hens.

      Road sense is poor though.

  22. Alan Edwards

    > A spokesman said: "Responding officers were unable to locate the chicken

    That's because it was in someone's oven before the cops arrived.

    Shows there is such a thing as a free lunch.

    1. stucs201
      Linux

      Which brings us back to the IT angle...

      ...it depends on which usage of the word free you mean.

  23. Terry Cloth
    Coat

    She wanted to lay it on the line

    (Does that parse in British?)

  24. earl grey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Just don't hit a skunk

    You don't be happy...the skunk won't be happy...and anyone coming down the road for the next week won't be happy.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Just don't hit a skunk

      True dat.

      I moved from the UK to Oregon recently and that was one of the very first things I learned (my Oregonian in-laws explained it to me, prompted by my cry of OH JEEZ WHAT IS THAT SMELL GAAAAAAAK)

      We brought our dog over from the UK and he has no awareness of such things. Any day now he'll bounce on a skunk or coyote expecting it to play with him.

      Also, not surprised this happened in Portland. The place is delightfully - although I must admit, a trifle self-consciously - weird. Would I swerve to avoid a skunk? Certainly. A hipster? Hmm, let me get back to you on that one...

  25. DropBear Silver badge
    Joke

    Huh, cross it...?

    The chicken did no such thing - it was walking ALONG the road. It's not his fault the road happened to be a mere few meters long, but miles and miles wide...

  26. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Holmes

    Real journalists stick to the facts

    - Did the alleged chicken actually visit both sides of the alleged road?

    - What was this chicken's name? What color, race, age, weight, sex, and social security number was it?

    - Which road was it trying to cross and when?

    - Who saw it happen? Are they reliable witnesses?

  27. Arachnoid
    FAIL

    - Who saw it happen? Are they reliable witnesses?

    I think you have the press mixed up with the cour...........er never mind

  28. Dr Scrum Master
    Coat

    Colour?

    Was the chicken black?

  29. steve11235

    To prove

    to the opossum that it can be done.

  30. Michael Dunn

    Classic reply to "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

    For most of my life, the "witty" answer has been "For some fowl purpose." Which led to my making up the following: Why did the dolphin cross the river? For some foul porpoise.

  31. CaptainBanjax

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    why wouldn't it?

  32. asiaseen

    I suppose someone has to say it

    Playmobile, or else...

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