Chip the Bay Bridge chicken delivered to new home

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- A former Oakland mayoral candidate was briefly reunited with his pet chicken before he delivered the bird to her new home on Tuesday, one week after it escaped from his truck and caused backups on the Bay Bridge.

Ken Houston, a contractor from East Oakland and the director of the East Oakland Beautification Council, couldn’t wait any longer to get “Chip” the chicken back in his arms. He went inside a cage himself to scoop up the bird at the Oakland Animal Shelter on Tuesday afternoon after showing documentation and photos proving he was the rightful owner.

Chip and another chicken escaped from the back of Houston’s truck last Wednesday morning before he could donate them to the Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard next to Esperanza Elementary School and Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy.

Houston said a teacher told him some of chickens at the school’s urban garden died, so he wanted to help. Houston had already donated two chickens on behalf of the council.

Last Wednesday, Houston made a pit stop for work at the old Oakland Army Base near the Bay Bridge before donating two more chickens. Houston said Chip and the other chicken escaped from a cardboard box in the back of his truck.

“When I came back, I was like, 'Oh my God! They got out at the army base!'” he said.

Chip quickly became famous as it was spotted trying to cross the Bay Bridge. She stirred up countless chicken jokes and earned the name “Chip” from the CHP. The other chicken is still missing.

Houston said coincidentally, Chip’s former name used to be “Chipper,” in honor of his first chicken he had when he was a boy.

After Houston was reunited with Chip, he drove straight to the urban garden to deliver the chicken to her new home.

Teacher Suzanne Ludlum, who runs the urban garden at Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard, said Chip will help teach students how to care for an raise animals.

“It’s exciting and brings really positive attention to this area of Oakland which doesn’t really get positive attention,” Ludlum said.

A crowd of students gathered next to the coop when Houston delivered Chip to the garden. By the looks of it, Chip is already a class favorite.

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