October 9, 2009




The “Big Chicken” Hunt

    The picture of a “big chicken,” in the May 28, 2009, issue of the Ligonier Echo was eye-catching. The chicken was missing from the Dave Tetkoski’s yard on 956 Route 259 on May 25. Tetkoski was preparing to have the fowl statue restored and display it in the 2009 Ligonier Days Parade when the foul play of theft occurred. Tetkoski estimates that the “one-of-a-kind” fiberglass statue is at least 50 years old.

      He purchased the rooster ten years ago…from Eastern Pennsylvania, according to the Ligonier Echo,

     The Ligonier Township police recovered the 7½-foot statue on June 1 after a Darlington resident called to inform them that a “giant chicken” was seen in the middle of Ross Road. This call was backed up by an anonymous call to the police.

     The June 4 issue of the Ligonier Echo included a picture of Tetkoski examining the minimal damages to the statue. Again, the newspaper repeated Tetkoski’s contention that “one-of-a-kind.”

     Unfortunately, Tetkosky’s claim is in error. I have pictures of these statues from far and near. (to view photo, click: Not far from here, on Route 422 east of New Castle, two chickens were advertised for sale in a business adjacent to the Garden Gate Restaurant. This was on April 28, 2008.

     In another direction, on Route 40 in Hopwood, Fayette County, a similar chicken statue perched on a bucket at Ruse’s Roost. It was sighted in August, 1996. (to view photo, click: )

     In 1991, McElwain’s Country Store, on the Mercer-Greenville Road in Mercer County, burned. For years a “big chicken” had been displayed in front of the store. (to view photo click on: )

 Owner Joseph McElwain said it brought sightseers to from miles around, many of whom photographed the icon he purchased from an auction of Conneaut Lake discards and obsoletes. Since McElwain was not going to rebuild his store, he placed a “for sale” sign on the rooster’s neck. It was purchased by a private owner on Route 62 east of Sharon.

     Another similar rooster was spotted in April, 1996, at Jewetts Poultry farm, approximately fifteen miles outside Albany, New York.  Two other “big chickens” were exhibited, one at the Canfield Fair in Ohio and another in front of Orchard Parks & Garden Store in Orchard Park, New York (to view picture click: Both of these statues have been painted and reflect the colors of a real chicken.

     Lastly, the “big chicken search” uncovered another fowl statue. It was reported swiped Fishers, a Cumberland market on Shiloh Pike, in an undated newspaper article. This was its third theft.

     McElwain reported that only seven of these statues were produced. Like Tetkosky, he was in error, since Tetkosky’s fowl is the ninth “big chicken” statue sighted.

     In spite of the fact that Tetkoski’s “big chicken” is not a “one-of-a-kind,” it is a welcome addition to the Ligonier community. Hopefully, it will appear in the 2009 Ligonier Days parade.

Additional Reading:

Eliminate feral birds: A call for political action

Staycation Day Trip: Somerset County, PA







  1. Off Ligonier Living blogsite:

    daisy_may said…
    the giant chicken that lives in ligonier, had plans to be in the fort ligonier days parade, but never made its debut due to time restraints on its restoration.. look for the chicken next year, bigger and better.. thanks for the support!!

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 2, 2010 @ 12:53 am | Reply

  2. The Jewetts Poultry & Ruse’s Roost chickens are both gone. I’ve got lots of others here if you’re interested:

    Comment by roadsidenut — October 3, 2010 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  3. Identical chickens (roosters?) are also being produced in metal (vs. fiberglass). I’ve seen a lot of them at garden places.

    Comment by roadsidenut — October 3, 2010 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  4. Found his link for Ruse’s in Hopwood, PA.: Big Chicken- Rt. 40, Hopwood PA link

    Comment by carolyncholland — September 6, 2011 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  5. Jewett’s poultry farm’s chicken was damaged by vandals around 2006 but will hopefully return by the end of the summer.

    Comment by Charlie — July 24, 2014 @ 1:49 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the update, Charlie. Gotta keep tabs on those large chickens! Carolyn

      Comment by carolyncholland — July 25, 2014 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

      • Thanks for the tip! Let me know if you hear of the statue being reinstalled. Sometimes these “will be back soon” restorations never seem to happen. Take care,Debra Jane SeltzerVentura, (the website) (the blog) (Flickr)

        Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:38:00 +0000 To:

        Comment by roadsidenut — July 25, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

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