This New Zealand School Is Using a Chicken as a Traffic Officer

A traffic chicken is patrolling a New Zealand preschool.
A traffic chicken is patrolling a New Zealand preschool. / georgeclerk/iStock via Getty Images

Service animals can work to make life easier for people, from guide dogs to emotional support pets. But one preschool in New Zealand is thinking outside the box.

Their traffic officer is a chicken.

The policing poultry is named Henry, and according to The Washington Post, she’s being used as a sentry for Newstead Country Preschool located near a farm in Newstead, New Zealand. Farm owner (and school principal) Tracy Trigg outfits Henry with a fluorescent safety vest, then sets her out to wander the parking lot. Because parents dropping off their kids know about Henry, they drive slowly and cautiously in the lot.

Trigg told the Post that Henry is something of a stray who wandered into a neighbor’s home late in 2020 to urinate on the carpet. Henry essentially volunteered for duty when she broke out of her chicken coop one day and strutted over to the school’s class of 37 during recess. That’s when Trigg had the notion to use Henry as a kind of warning for drivers.

It doesn’t hurt that the students adore her. “When cars come, they don’t drive over the children because Henry makes the cars stop,” student Molly McIlmurray told the Post. “Then we can go for our bush walks. I love her.”

Henry is considered part of the school’s faculty to the point where she’s allowed in the break room. As for the vest: While you’d think it would be difficult to find one sized for a chicken, Trigg was able to locate one online.

“She was pretty relaxed and compliant about wearing the jacket,” Trigg said. “Now we pop it on first thing in the morning and take it off around lunchtime. As long as there is cheese involved, she’s happy to go along with it.”

[h/t The Washington Post]