Mystery surrounds 26 headless chickens in North Pole

COOP: Bodies laid in a lollipop pattern, heads gone; three survived.

May 25, 2010 

Twenty-six chickens were mysteriously beheaded at a North Pole chicken coop this week. Then things got weird.

Troopers say they were called to a home on Sharon Road on Monday to a report of a mass chicken slaughter, with the carcasses laid out in a peculiar pattern on the ground.

The homeowners, who live in a semi-rural wooded neighborhood with large lots, had 29 white chickens in a backyard coop, said Trooper Ken Vanspronsen, who responded to the scene.

Sometime overnight Sunday, someone crept in and tore their heads off, but the homeowners told troopers they didn't hear anything unusual. They woke up Monday and went out to feed the chickens, when they discovered 26 of them dead.

"They were very concerned as to why somebody would do it, and kind of spooked," Vanspronsen said.

There was no sign of the heads, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. The carcasses had been laid out in a north-south pattern -- oriented with the coop -- in a roughly 12- to 15-foot line on the ground with a circular arrangement of corpses at one end, in something of a lollipop pattern.

"It's kind of a mystery as to why somebody would tear off chicken heads and then arrange the bodies in a linear pattern," Peters said. "It's certainly something that is perplexing. ... It's unsettling, to say the least."

Troopers wouldn't name the homeowners, saying they didn't yet know if the act was a threat against them or if it was simply motivated by vandalism.

There was no damage to the coop itself and just three chickens survived the incident. It wasn't clear if the suspects had been interrupted in their work of if the surviving chickens held some unknown significance.

"It's kind of hard to say why anybody would do it in the first place, let alone why they'd stop," Vanspronsen said.

The chicken carcasses when found were buzzing with flies in the warm Interior day and the meat was not salvageable. The display was photographed and the chickens were thrown out, Peters said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call troopers at 451-5100.

Find James Halpin online at or call him at 257-4589.

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