Well, this isn’t the world’s largest living chicken (we’ll get to that later), but this is the world’s largest chicken, built in 1963 in Marietta, Georgia. The 56-foot-tall bird can be seen up to one mile away, and was initially built to draw hungry customers to Johnny Reb’s Chick-Chuck-‘N’-Shake. Wow, say that five times fast!
The bird, built by Atlanta Steel in nearby Atlanta, was made out of steel and was painted bright red. It has eyes that rolled, a beak that opened and closed, and a head comb that swayed. However, the first time the motor was ever turned on to activate those features, every window in the restaurant shattered because of the intense vibrations. The chicken wouldn’t move again for several years.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) purchased the restaurant in 1974. Colonel Sanders visited the restaurant and demanded that the big bird be taken down. He claimed the restaurant should be promoting him as their logo, not the chicken. He changed his mind, though, when he was told that that specific KFC was the busiest franchise on the planet.
There were a few near-death encounters for the chicken, like in 1989 and again in 1993 when a massive storm started “plucking” the steel panels off the bird. The frame, which then became exposed, had been eaten away by decades of pigeon poop. The world’s most enormous chicken needed some love.
Days after its destruction, KFC decided the whole restaurant needed an updating. It would spend $200,000 to rebuild the chicken and $500,000 to rebuild the restaurant. Pepsi chipped in too for the sole purpose that millions would see its logo in the land of Coca-Cola. The rebuild made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Oh, and they perfected the motor, so those big, googly eyes now roll.
You can visit the chicken today at the KFC in Marietta, Georgia, at 12 Cobb Pkwy N.
If you’re wondering about the world’s real biggest chicken (alive, that is), click here (and yep, this video is real).