Sports Commentary: Another level of embarrassment –– The Delaware Birdgade

Courtesy of Melanie Lopez


The Blue Hen, a breed coined during the Revolutionary War and well-known for its fighting ability, is meant to be a symbol of ferocity. However, instead of continuing this tradition, the live hen mascot project decided to name the three members of the Birdgade Captain Cluckers, Private Poultry and Corporal Doodle-Doo. At this point, one of them should’ve been named Sal Minella. Hopefully those names were written in pencil because each Blue Hen needs to be renamed as soon as possible.

The project of bringing live chickens to the games is the result of a collaboration between Delaware Athletics and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). The Delaware Birdgade is described as “a proud troop of Blue Hens whose personality and stories pay tribute to the Fightin’ Blue Hens Revolutionary War background.”

Those who attended the first two home games had the opportunity to suggest names for the Blue Hens. The winning names were announced on Sept. 30, when Delaware faced James Madison.

Other colleges have live mascots whose names are simple and logical. The University of Georgia has a live bulldog named Uga; Louisiana State University has a tiger named Mike and Navy has a goat named Bill. In comparison, Delaware’s live hens have names that are confusing and complicated.

The goal of this project was to bring light to the fact that the blue hen is a real animal and not just a funny bird in a mascot costume. Yet, the names of the live Blue Hens don’t align with the hope of the project, nor do they pay tribute to their Revolutionary War background.

According to, each hen has a certain personality and motto. Captain Cluckers is described as a natural born leader; Her motto is, “The Cluck Stops Here.” Private Poultry is described as a “bit chicken-hearted,” while Corporal Doodle-Doo is the funniest of the group. He can always be heard asking, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

The University of Delaware has one of the most unusual nicknames in all of college athletics –– “Fightin’ Blue Hens.” However, having an unusual nickname doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have unusual live mascot descriptions and names too.

The hens’ names need to accurately reflect the school and its history. For example, The Birdgade could be replaced with the name, Caldwell’s Company. Capt. John Caldwell was a military officer who became famous for using Kent County blue hens for cockfighting during the Revolutionary War. It would makes sense to see his name used in such a capacity.

It would also make sense to see the hens named after the people who had previously donated them to the college or even professors who have spent years looking after the flock. Originally, S. Hallock du Pont donated blue hens in the ‘60s for teaching and research, and just last year, three hens were donated by Wesley Towers, a 1964 university graduate who majored in animal and poultry health. It just seems unfortunate that these individuals were not honored in any way during this process.

Though, according to a Facebook post by the university’s Alumni page around,“the official naming contest might be over, but the unofficial one isn’t! What are your best names for these true Blue Hens?”

The alumni must stand up and collectively object to these ridiculous names: Captain Cluckers, Private Poultry and Corporal Doodle-Doo. The integrity of the live mascot project is at stake.

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    Susan 12 months

    LOL @ Sal Minella. Made my day!

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