Video: Coop with four on the floor

updated 9/22/2006 8:45:05 PM ET 2006-09-23T00:45:05

Henrietta the chicken was living inconspicuously for 18 months among 36,000 other chickens at Brendle Farms — until a farm foreman discovered she had four legs.

Farm-owner Mike Brendle was amazed by the discovery among his standard two-legged, egg-laying hens.

"It's as healthy as the rest," he said.

Brendle's 13-year-old daughter, Ashley, named the bird Henrietta after the discovery. It has two normal front legs and, behind those, two more feet. They are of a similar size to the chicken's front legs, but do not function. The chicken drags her extra feet behind her.

Brendle said he has never seen a chicken with four legs before. He moves 36,000 chickens through his farm three times a year and has been farming for 30 years.

There is no definitive reason behind such deformities, said Cliff Thompson, a retired professor of genetics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He said it could be an accident of development, akin to a sixth toe on a cat.

Brendle said he jokingly suggested to his family they sell Henrietta in an Internet auction, but Ashley objected.

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