Odd News

Why did the chickens turn pink? Owner says he wanted to 'make people smile'

In this March 26, 2015, image provided by Randall Brown of Multnomah County Animal Services, a pair of chickens, dyed pink, are photographed in Portland, Ore. The animals were picked up earlier this week running loose in the city's waterfront park. Multnomah County Animal Services says the owner, Bruce Whitman of Portland, told the agency he used food coloring, beet juice and Kool-Aid to dye the two birds, then released them for a while to "make people smile." Officials say they told Whitman about the dangers of releasing birds in public places. He was billed for the time the chickens were in the county's care. (AP Photo/Multnomah County Animal Services, Randall Brown)

In this March 26, 2015, image provided by Randall Brown of Multnomah County Animal Services, a pair of chickens, dyed pink, are photographed in Portland, Ore. The animals were picked up earlier this week running loose in the city's waterfront park. Multnomah County Animal Services says the owner, Bruce Whitman of Portland, told the agency he used food coloring, beet juice and Kool-Aid to dye the two birds, then released them for a while to "make people smile." Officials say they told Whitman about the dangers of releasing birds in public places. He was billed for the time the chickens were in the county's care. (AP Photo/Multnomah County Animal Services, Randall Brown)  (The Associated Press)

The mystery of Portland's pink chickens is solved.

Multnomah County Animal Services says the birds' owner told the agency he used food coloring, beet juice and Kool-Aid to dye the two birds, then released them to "make people smile."

Owner Bruce Whitman of Portland says the prank succeeded beyond his wildest hopes. In his words, "I didn't expect to get this many people to smile."

He says he tucked the chickens into a tree to roost early Thursday in a waterfront park, figuring they'd wake to a good day with water nearby and bugs to eat, spread some smiles and he'd pick them up Thursday evening. He soon heard news reports that the birds had become poultry celebrities.

Animal Services billed Whitman about $16 per bird for their time in custody, and cautioned him about the risks of releasing birds in public places. He says he probably won't do it again — but he and the birds have now been invited to a couple of parades.