This article appeared in the September 03, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Super chicken: How Henry the hen became a preschool crossing guard

Rogelio V. Solis/AP/File
A chickens-crossing-the-road sign in Jackson, Mississippi. A New Zealand chicken has taken it upon herself to act as crossing guard for a preschool. Henry shows up, complete with fluorescent safety vest, to maintain parking lot safety.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Why did the chicken cross the road? To make sure parents drove safely at preschool drop-off.

That’s a true story, not just a bad twist on an ancient joke. A rescue chicken named Henry wears a fluorescent vest and struts around the parking lot at a preschool in Newstead, New Zealand. Her (yes, she’s a hen) job is to ensure drivers use caution when dropping their children for the start of the school day.

She uses squawks and stern looks to help control traffic, principal Tracy Trigg told a young reporter from Kea Kids News. If you ignore her, legend has it she’ll leave an unpleasant deposit on your car.

She gets paid in cheese, her favorite food.

“The staff have identified Henry’s skills and have encouraged her to live her best life,” school parent Erin McIlmurray told The Washington Post. “I think it’s fantastic.”

Henry appeared one day at the house of a friend of Ms. Trigg. The house couldn’t contain her big personality, so Ms. Trigg took the chicken to her farm, which adjoins the school. 

Henry jumped the fence and began bossing around the car park. The kids loved it. Ms. Trigg saw educational opportunity, not avian annoyance.

The high-visibility vest made it official. She’s a traffic warden who lays eggs off-duty.

Now Henry’s fame has spread around the globe. She’s not a water-skiing budgie, but with all the tough news today a vest-wearing chicken is a refreshing story.

“We can’t let all the stardom go to her head,” Ms. Trigg told the Post. “Or she might start wanting the overpriced tasty cheese instead of the good old economic Colby.”

This article appeared in the September 03, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/03 edition
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