Animals On Planes: 1,200 Chickens Flown Cross-Country

More than 1,000 chickens lucked into a peaceful retirement starting with a cross-country flight to upstate New York. The white Leghorn chickens are past their prime egg-laying days, too lean to be eaten, and would have been slaughtered if the Animal Place rescue organization hadn’t stepped in to find them new homes. On Wednesday night, 1,200 chickens were loaded onto a private cargo plane from California to Elmira, New York. Operation Chicken Airlift cost $50,000 and was paid for by an anonymous donor.

The poultry were just another example of animals transported by air:

  • After learning how overcrowded California animal shelters are with tiny dogs, airlines including Virgin America have stepped up with Operation Chihuahua, transporting dozens of dogs to New York for adoption. West coasters can help prep the dogs for flight with “bathing, caging and snuggling” with Project Flying Chihuahuas.
  • The Department of Transportation now recommends that U.S. carriers allow certain unusual animals in the cabin as service or therapy animals. This may include pot-bellied pigs, monkeys or miniature horses (!), as long as they don’t cause a “significant disruption” in service.

Last year, many internet users fell for an adorable hoax photo of a panda cub flying in business class. The fake China Airlines press release noted that Squee Squee ate bamboo, “with a side of bamboo, and bamboo mousse for dessert.”

Have you seen any unusual animals on a plane?

Sunset Magazine’s ‘Westphoria’ Blog Celebrates The Weirdness Of The Western States

It’s no secret that the 13 states comprising the Western U.S. are a bit unusual. Enter Westphoria, Sunset magazine’s 4-month-old blog dedicated to celebrating all that’s quirky, kick-ass, and distinct about the Left Coast, Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions. Think retrofitted teardrop campers, chicken “sitters,” bike-powered farmers market smoothies, and, uh, hotel rooms designed to resemble giant bird nests.

For those of you living on the other side of the Continental Divide, Sunset is the nation’s top Western lifestyle magazine, focused on travel, gardening, design, green living, food and the outdoors. Understandably, we’re big fans here at Gadling.

Westphoria is sort of like Sunset’s black sheep little sibling: edgy, on-trend, a smarty-pants with a sweet soul. Categories include themes like “House Crush,” “Made in the West,” “Dream Life,” “Food” and “Wanderlust.” I’m hooked.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Green Garden Girl]

Is bird flu making a comeback?

Three chickens in Hong Kong recently tested positive for the bird flu. The sick birds were found on a farm with 60,000 chickens. Actually, the infected birds only tested positive for the H5 virus. Further tests are needed to discern if the deadly N1 strain is present.

Officials are acting quickly. The 60,000 feathered farm residents were destroyed, along with 20,000 others in the area. This will, one hopes, prevent the spread of H5 to other birds in the territory. As a precaution, authorities have imposed a 21-day ban on poultry imports. All farms surrounding the one with the infected birds are considered part of the area.

As scary as it might be to hear that the dreaded virus is still lurking, it is equally encouraging to see a swift response by authorities. Despite the fact that H5N1 hasn’t been in the news lately, health officials, at least in Honkers, have not become complacent.

How To Carry A Chicken (Around the World)

Earlier today, I saw a post on Kevin Kelly’s blog about how to move live chickens in China that featured some remarkable images. According to Kelly, “You get some large sacks, poke some holes in the top, weave the birds into each so each head it sticking out, and then you can throw the entire sack on a bicycle or truck. The birds were quiet and seemed to like the swaddling.”

Naturally, it reminded me of the chickens my neighbors in Zambia used to tote. While most people carry chickens in a relatively “humane” way — by holding them under their bellies, between the legs — not everyone in the world is so thoughtful. Here are some ways you might expect to see chickens toted in other parts of the world.

In PNG, you might see chickens carried on a stick. Looks like he’s going fishing!

In Ethiopia, the chickens might be strapped to a donkey.

In Burkina Faso, don’t be surprised to see them hanging from the back of a motorbike.

They do it the same way in parts of Vietnam.

In other parts of Vietnam, though, they may protect the chickens in baskets.

In Mali, they might use a bike.

Same goes for China — though they might have some sophisticated-looking cages.

Or just some woven baskets.

They use baskets in Nepal, too — but no bikes.

In parts of Africa, they use baskets AND cars.

Whereas in parts of Ecuador, some people prefer the low-tech feel of wooden poles.

In Bali, you might see chickens carried in beautifully-woven baskets.

The Burmese might use baskets.

Some Guatemalans use baskets, too.

In India, they transport them in baskets and then keep them together in netted playpens.

This shot was taken in Vietnam’s Bac Ha market — but it looks like it could’ve been taken in rural Africa.

But this is usually how I saw them transported:

In Malaysia, you might find them wrapped in paper and tied up with a pretty bow.

Finally, I’m not exactly certain where this photo was taken — somewhere in SE Asia, I think — but I do know that you shouldn’t park or stand next to it.

And we’ll close this photo essay with the most ridiculous video EVER: learn how to put a chicken to sleep in under 60 seconds.