They Shoot Chickens, Don’t They?

And Philadelphia's chicken-raising community — which I'm now proudly part of — is none too happy. (Plus: An update on my chickens' names)

Did you hear the one about the Lower Merion firefighter who shot the chicken? With a bow and arrow?

I thought so.

The firefighter made headlines when he skewered Connie, a pet chicken belonging to 38-year-old Lauren Seltzer of Belmont Hills, on March 29th. According to an NBC-10 report, Connie flew the coop and was free-ranging in a neighbor’s backyard. The neighbor called the cops. “She said she was worried about it because it was cute, it was really sweet and she didn’t want it to get hit by a car,” Steltzer said. Animal control was closed, so a policeman called a firefighter who likes to hunt. The firefighter came over with a bow and arrow and shot the chicken. Then he ate it. [SIGNUP]

As a new chicken owner, my feathers were ruffled when I read about this birdbrained incident. Then I wondered if it was even legal to shoot a chicken. Surprisingly: it is. If the chicken poses a threat to other domestic animals, then yes — it is legal. Otherwise, committing such an offense against “any domestic fowl of another person” in PA is a second-degree misdemeanor that comes with a $500+ fine.

It’s hard to imagine a chicken threatening anyone (or any domestic animal). Surprising someone, sure. But even your most rabid champion fighting cock isn’t particularly menacing. Loud and weird, maybe. As you can imagine, the chicken-raising community in Philadelphia — and there is one — is outraged about the shooting.

Thinking about the tragic fate of Connie the chicken made me go and spend some time with the chickies I adopted on Easter weekend, who are plenty loud and weird. They’ve grown to twice their original size. Seven days ago, each had sad-looking naked wingtips. Now, they’ve grown teeny-tiny feathers to cover their wingtips. They look less like baby chicks and more like chicken teenagers.

The chicks have names, finally: Roadie and Cordon Bleu. Guess which one my kid picked? The suggestions for the chicken-naming contest were fantastic. Highlights included:


Phil A.

Barbie Q.



Henry Kluckinger









Miss Shell



Cordon Bleu


The Venerable Bede

At any rate, the winner of the chicken-naming contest is Annelise Sullivan, who was the first to suggest naming a chicken Cordon Bleu. Congratulations, Annelise! Your copy of Regretsy is en route, along with a photo of Cordon Bleu herself.

Bleu is the smallest of the two chicks. Roadie has two dark brown stripes down her back; Bleu has the same stripes, but lighter. Roadie is growing a bit faster; her comb is growing in on her beak a bit, giving her a kind of bumpy profile. That, and her fast-growing tailfeathers, make me wonder if she has the poultry version of gender dysphoria. There’s probably an easier explanation though. My friend Janet warned me that she got chicks a few years ago and one turned out to be a rooster. Perhaps Farmer Howe will be in for a Crying Game-type surprise when I return his chicks next week.

MEREDITH BROUSSARD is a Philadelphia journalist.

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