Portland welcomed spring with living peeps — remember those neon pastel Easter candies? Bright pink chickens were found moseying around the downtown waterfront Thursday morning, sending the capital of weird into a social media frenzy as Portlanders tried to determine the origin of these unusual, though quite attractive, birds.
The Multnomah County Animal Services picked up the chickens and asked for the owner to come forward.
“One of our officers just rescued two pink chickens from the park on the waterfront,” the organization announced via Facebook. “If you or someone you know lost two pink chickens, please contact us!”
Authorities speculated the strange coloration might have been caused by tampering with the chicken eggs.
“What we think happened is a novelty that we’ve seen in the past where dye is injected into fertilized eggs,” Multnomah County Animal Services’ Mary Kate Watson said.
The actual cause turned out to be much simpler, if not less creative.
Chicken owner Bruce Whitman admitted to the good-natured prank and collected his chickens Friday afternoon. The Portland bartender explained that he used a homemade recipe of beet juice, food dye, and Kool-Aid to color his chickens.
“I love making someone else smile because it’ll make me smile,” Whitman said. “This came back tenfold.”
Early Thursday morning, Whitman left his sleeping chickens in a tree by the waterfront, then waited for them to make their debut.
Whitman paid a standard impound fee to reclaim his birds and endured a gentle lecture on the dangers of leaving birds in public places.
“I’m a grown adult, old enough to know I shouldn’t dye my animals pink,” Whitman admitted.
Was the prank worth the minor repercussions? For now at least, two infamous chickens have captured the hearts and imaginations of Portlanders.
Whitman’s chickens have yet to be named, though Whitman said Henrietta and Beth Anne are top choices from fans.