General Discussion     Tech Questions     Parts & Services     Suggestions/Ideas     Help & Website Instructions     Blogs    

Chicken lights
Print Topic | Close Window

By Knucklehead - Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:10 PM
Where did this term come from.
By Tinyshaker - Thursday, January 08, 2009 3:01 PM
In the northeast, your owner/operators that hauled frozen chickens would add lights too there trucks and trailers and it snowballed from there. I can remember back in the early 70,s seeing trucks lit up going up the road, its nothing today to see a chicken hauler with a couple hundred lights on his or hers rigs pulling dressed chickens.:w00t:
By dashby - Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:09 PM
I thought chicken lights were mounted low on the bumper etc. so the chickens could see the truck and run out of the way.  lol
By glenn akers - Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:21 PM
Thats a good one Dean.I will remenber that.
By John Dameron - Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:15 PM
Does anybody remember chicken pens made out of dowel-like rods that people would transport poultry in?  There was an elderly man in Covington, VA in the '50's and '60's that drove a light blue Plymouth sedan, about a '51 model.  Every few days he would drive up to Sweet Springs (about 25 miles one way) and buy whatever chickens, turkeys, ducks or other farm fowl the farm wives would sell to him.  Then he'd take them back to Covington, his woman friend would clean them, and they'd sell them to mom and pop grocery stores.  That Plymouth went by our house every few days with a chicken coop sticking out the trunk.  I never knew what his actual name was except he was a Mr. Baker and the neighboors called him Chicken Baker.  I guess if his name had been Mr. Friar, he would have been Chicken Fryer.
By jbdistributors - Thursday, January 08, 2009 7:08 PM
It seems to me the term originated with the Perdue chicken trucks out of Salisbury,Maryland. Around the early 1970's Perdue was the up and coming chicken outfit in the northeast and he had a big fleet of new Pete and Freightliner cabovers and new reefers. They were running up and down I-95 like their bunk was on fire. Around this time, among the many radio commercials old man Frank Perdue was broadcasting, they had "The Hard Driver" who alledgedly was a Perdue trucker and he would ramble on how he and all his brethern would get the chickens to market fresh and on time. Perdue's fleet manager at the time put two big yellow lolly pop marker lights under the front bumper of the tractors and I believe this is where the term chicken lights originated. They had some real bad wrecks on the NJ turnpike during that period and were taking some heat over the CB and with the speed cops.This slowed them down somewhat, most of them were good drivers though. Back then old Frank had a reputation of running his drivers till their nose bled. LOL
By johnperkosr - Friday, January 09, 2009 5:04 AM
dont talk nothing bad about my chicken lights
By GearUpJammer - Friday, January 09, 2009 5:21 AM
Anyone from the Northeast remember the song from the radio commercial for Cookin' Good Chickens?

"Well I make my livin' behind the wheel of a rig

and my eyes are open wide,

'cause I'm trucking fresh chickens up to New York City,gotta get 'em there before daylight

I'm cookin' good..."

By Eddy Lucast - Friday, January 09, 2009 5:42 AM

Are you hauling swinging chickens?

By chocko - Friday, January 09, 2009 6:34 AM
Eddy we used to haul swingin chickens. Took a standard 2 rail meat railer added 2 more rail and hauled boxed iced chickens on the floor with swingin to max out load.LOl
By MIKE WALLACE - Friday, January 09, 2009 8:07 AM
I remember going to get loads at blue coach foods in Vineland/Buena NJ with old Joe the yard man when I was a kid hanging around the yard all I can say is it was nasty. Them chickens came in one end in wooden crates came out the other in wax boxes of ice and what happend in between was a horror show. We're not Jewish. but my mom always bought kosher chickens because of places like that.


By MikeF - Friday, January 09, 2009 9:55 AM
I used to drive an ACAR with a Hendrickson rear suspension that was speced out by a local chicken farmer (to haul eggs).  He made one run and took it back the the dealer and it was resold.  It had to be been close to hauling swinging or flying eggs.  Musta been speced out for fossilized dinosaur eggs with that setup.
By Tinyshaker - Saturday, January 10, 2009 1:53 AM
Mike i worked for a Chicken company back in the 80,s {Townsend Inc} and you are right about the process of a chicken. Pulled many a load of frozen chicken and covered a many of car windshields with chicken juice coming from the floor drain tubes out the back of the trailer.:D
By Post from the Past - Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:22 AM
I always thought the term chicken lights was because the chicken haulers had several extra lights mounted on their trailers to warn folks to stay well back from the trailers, a load of live chickens in crates or frozen ones on ice blocks realy left a trail behind those old trailers. as bad as a load of live hogs or sheep or cattle. 

  For those who are squemish about how chickens are processed DON'T go to China and visit the markets there.

 wasn't much better on our farm either on chicken killing days when we would pull the heads off of 300 or more fryers each time

By johnperkosr - Saturday, January 10, 2009 8:47 AM
eddy dont haul chickens but have chicken lights as truckers call them
By Post from the Past - Saturday, January 10, 2009 9:13 AM
johnperkosr (1/10/2009)
eddy dont haul chickens but have chicken lights as truckers call them

 John I went through the phase thatI believe many do where I had to have a light stuck anywhrere one could be mounted

   one friend ofmine started calling me (Chicken light gage) because of all of the gages and extra lights. a few trips across country and I figured out they were more trouble than they were worth to Quote a DOT officer " if your are going to have them they all have to work and be the correct colors" as he was writing out a $100.00 ticket for my inoperable green lights. I guess I could have turned them on and paid more for having the wrong color LOL

 one nice thing about over here is these guys may be running every color under the rainbow.  

By Wolfcreek_Steve - Saturday, January 10, 2009 9:36 AM
I always thought that the term "chicken lights" was a politically correct way of saying the dude driving was chicken ($hI-) manure.
One time I bought a pick-up from a guy that must of thought he was going to haul chickens with it. took me a week to get all the nonworking lights off from it and repair the wiring to the important stuff like stop, turn and tail lights.
By jbdistributors - Saturday, January 10, 2009 10:31 AM
I pulled a reefer for a Tomatoe company about a year and that was more than enough for me. When we couldn't get loads down to Miami we would haul Ludens cough drops to Atlanta then bounce up to Gainesville, Georgia and haul fresh killed chickens that were top iced. First load going to Miami I could not believe how much water and chicken Glop was leaking out the drain holes in the trailer. Went to a hell hole reciever in beautiful Liberty city. Thankfully the place had a hot water hose and I washed out the trailer best I could. The trailer doors and ICC bumper looked like they just came off the Dalton Hwy, what a mess. I couldnt see doing that work everyday.

Back when Perdue was tearing up I-95 they were getting a lot of grief over the CB for spraying that glop over trucks they were passing. Comments like; " Thanks Perdue now I got Chicken S*** all over my truck" would start some wicked radio fights, punch ups in rest areas and on more than one occasion shots being fired. Ahh the good ol days.

By KeithC - Saturday, January 10, 2009 11:48 AM
I spot a couple Perdue trailers every morning at work, usually right after my lunch break.. most of them you can smell the stench before you even open the door.:sick:

Hard to believe Sysco actually loads them, but usually they just throw a couple pounds of coffee on the floors and load them out anyways.:ermm:

By Scott Waggoner - Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:31 PM
I always thought chickens were named "fowl" for a reason. And yes I'm addicted to lights also, I have admitted it in public, step two, hang some more on.
By junkmandan - Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:44 PM
In the 60s at Gateway we used to throw cinnamon on the floor of the reefers to reduce the stench . Would'nt have been so bad if operations would immediately clean the reefers after unloading them, but lots of times they'd park 'em in the lot for 3-4 days to a week to let the maggots get a good start, then have somebody clean it .
By clyde318 - Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:25 PM
Talk about chicken lights. That was one of the un-written company rules at Reliable. The more the merrier in Tom A's book. My Sterling truck and Cottrell trailer had over 120 of the damn things. One night I was returning from Calumet,Mich. with a partial load of winter test cars,heading to Brimley,Mich to fill out to head back to Detroit. Got east of Marquette on M-28 running along the Lake Superior shore line,had lake effect snow coming down so hard I could barely see the end of my hood,Carl Besola can tell you about running in snow like that,well,I stopped in Munising,noticed a car pull in behind me. Got out to go in the store,and saw it was a Mich State trooper had pulled in. He saw me in the store,and actually THANKED me for having all those lights. He said he just followed the glow,and knew I was still on the road. I told him there was a few times I wasn't too sure about that.
By John Costley - Sunday, January 11, 2009 12:35 AM
I always liked having that "glow" from the extras.It was always a pain to keep them all maintained, especially back before sealed beams became popular, but it was alot easier on the eyes when you were doing most of youre running at night.Ive run with and without extra lights, it always seemed that having the extras on the trailer just made everything better.You could see the lines on the road easier when you looked in the mirrors, you could back into a tight slot easier,you could see if the trailer was getting squirely in snow quicker, and they just plain kept you more alert and awake.Not to mention that you just felt better going down the road in a sharp looking unit,lol.

As far as trailer odor, I never hauled much chicken, just on rare occasions when I emptied out in chicken country, but I hauled alot of fish, usually whole salmon, one fish to a box.The boss bought 5 lb cans of coffee and 10 lb bags of cornmeal by the pallet, never left the yard without a can and a bag under the bunk.Spread the corn meal first, then the coffee on top, then keep the reefer running, usually around 55 to 60 degrees.By the time you got to the first produce house for youre first of 5 to 15 pickups the trailer was dry and smelt great,sweep or hose it out and youre ready to go.John

By Jeff Miller - Sunday, January 11, 2009 6:49 AM
I used the coffee trick once as well only it was to remove the smell of eggs.  Seemed to work well.
By small package '67 351 - Sunday, January 11, 2009 8:30 AM
Just wondering where the term "chicken lights" came from. Being raised down here in the southeastern part of Texas, I was brought up to believe they were used by all the drivers coming out of the chicken farms late in the night, so they wouldn,t get tangled up with oil field truck traffic on the dark farm and county roads.

Has too much time passed for anyone to really remember or has it gotten lost in tranlation?

By Mike Horrie - Monday, January 12, 2009 7:25 AM

Not really a awnser but cute.