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July 5, 2023

The Puerto Rican Colored Chicks, 1947

Frankly, we didn’t believe it either. But the evidence looks pretty convincing. It seems that down in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a certain experimental-minded senor named A. R. Zeno injected two dozen eggs with various vegetable dyes two hours before hatching time. When the chicks broke through their shells they were peeping happily and were apparently quite normal except that their feathers were bright blue, red, green, pink and lilac.

And here they were as they arrived by Pan American air express eight hours later in New York City, in 1947. Chick authorities generally agree that the process was harmless.

Said Dr. Walter Landauer, Connecticut Agricultural School: “The injection of the dye does not hurt the chick because it goes into the albumen without actually getting into the chick itself.” Dr. Alexis L. Romanoff warned against the process becoming a fad. There’s a law in New York against importing chicks as toys, he added.

The Puerto Rican colored chicks as they arrived by air express at La Guardia Field. No, they were not dunked in dye—they were born that way.

Here’s how it’s done. Just before hatching time the eggs are injected—at the end which has no air pocket—with harmless colored vegetable dye.


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