RIP: Black Chicken

Building Mascot was Hen of Many Names

RIP: Black Chicken 1The mascot for Houston Recovery Center’s Chenevert building, the black chicken, is gone. He/she went by many names: Bob, Henrietta, Jefita (Spanish for “female boss”) and Skittles, based on who was referring to her.

This city-dwelling, wild bird roamed the property, sat on the police ATV, and would come and go – for more than seven years, according to John Turner, recovery support specialist. Her presence provided a unique flair to the downtown area and served as a reminder of resilience.

In early March, a cat attacked the black chicken. Officer Elizabeth Scheibe in HPD’s Mental Health Division stepped in to help since she has experience with animal first aid and was raised on a small farm. The chicken (which was discovered to be a hen), had small puncture wounds to her neck. Scheibe and her HPD coworker, Trammell McKnight, drove the hen to both the SPCA aRIP: Black Chicken 2nd an exotic vet clinic for treatment. Neither of these was a good option, so Scheibe took the hen home that night to nurse her to health. Scheibe and her husband discovered that the hen’s bones, muscles, and tendons appeared to be working normally, but she refused to drink.

“We thought she was probably dehydrated, in shock, and in need of rest,” Scheibe relates. “We turned our guest bathtub into a place for her to rest and tried to offer her water all evening, but she refused to drink.”

Scheibe researched how to tube-feed a chicken, since she still refused to drink in the morning. While her husband was out gathering supplies, the hen passed away.

RIP: Black Chicken 3The next business day, an employee saw the cat sitting on the HPD ATV in the same spot where the hen used to sit. Seems like the cat had a plan all along… RIP Bob/Henrietta/Jefita/Skittles.

The Back Story

Scheibe was invested in the hen. Schiebe transferred to the Mental Health Division in late 2018 and discovered the division had a station chicken. She went to the local feed store off North Main Street and bought chicken feed. Ever since then, Scheibe has put feed outside for her around 9 am.

“Whenever I would see her, I would loudly say, ‘Jefita, you hungry chicken, come here! She knew I was going to feed her and would run over to me. One time she actually flew over, which was pretty funny to see.”

Scheibe was invested in the hen. During the last big freeze in February, Scheibe was concerned the hen was going to freeze to death. She went looking for her and found her ice cold sitting in the HPD ATV. She grabbed her, wrapped her in a towel, and brought her inside the building.

“I decided there was not any harm in her staying in the HPD lady’s locker room to keep warm since the building didn’t have power and was going to be unoccupied,” Schiebe says.

So, from Monday to Friday morning, the hen lived in the HPD locker room. Scheibe came every day to check on her, feed her and clean up any mess she made.