PORTLAND, Ore. – 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.