‘Survivor’ 38: Did Wendy cluck up? And why does the existence of chickens often create a ruckus among castaways?

You would think that Manu tribe member Wendy Diaz had enough to worry about after she injured her ankle last week during a reward challenge on “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” But she was more concerned about the fate of the reward – namely a clutch of chickens. But while Dan “The Wardog” DaSilva was practically smacking his lips  at the prospect that meat might be in reach, Wendy was plotting to save the poultry’s necks. “The players signed up for this game, not the chickens, so why should they be penalized,” Wendy explained, which is a bit odd since she is neither a vegetarian nor a vegan and normally eats chicken back home. We must invoke another bird — cuckoo!

She then weirdly decided to hide the flint so her tribe mates couldn’t cook the fowl and then lied about the act to two players who were trying to be her allies, David Wright and Rick Devens. But, as the preview of next week’s episode revealed, Wendy will end up releasing her fowl friends. The one saving grace is that the two tribes are about to break into three. That just might save her neck.

That got me thinking of other seasons when a chicken reward or a sighting of a wild bird might have caused some feathers to fly and emotions to soar.

*“Survivor: The Australian Outback” (2001): On the very first chicken clash on the then-young reality show. Kimmi Kappenberg, a vegetarian, and Alicia Calaway get into a food fight. Muscular Alicia demands protein every day and starts putting her finger into Kimmi’s face. She objects but is told by Alicia that she will “always wave her finger in her face.”

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*“Survivor: Africa” (2001): Clarence Black had a food fixation. First he overate his share of cherries and beans. Then he started hankering for his new tribe’s chicken. Everyone else wanted to keep them around and use them for their eggs – even thought they had yet to produce any. He made a deal. If there was an egg by morning, their lives would be saved. Sure enough, one materialized. The poultry fairies had spoken.

*“Survivor: Marquesas” (2002): “Boston” Rob Mariano, a city lad, got excited when he heard some chicken-like noises in the jungle and went off to hunt down his prey. Sure enough, there is a juicy rooster out there. He thinks he has it cornered but it surprises him by flapping its wings and taking shelter in a tree, as Mother Nature teaches him that chickens do indeed fly.

*“Survivor: Cook Islands” (2006): On the very first episode of this season, in which tribes were divided by ethnicity, Jonathan Penner managed to get a chicken away from Yul Kwon, but his tribe mate, Jessica “Flicka” Smith, accidentally causes the chicken to escape. That led Penner to inspire the episode’s title (and probably a country song): “I Can Forgive Her but I Don’t Have to Because She Screwed With My Chickens.”

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*“Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites” (2008): Cirie Fields, Amanda Kimmel and Parvati Shallow – known as the Black Widow Brigade – released their final chicken, Gloria. They think they will be the final three and that it is their last day on the island. But as Parvati and Amanda arrive back at camp, so does Gloria.

*“Survivor: Samoa” (2009): Shannon “Shambo” Waters was what could kindly be described as a character. Besides her mullet hairdo and grudge against Laura Morett, Shambo loved her some chickens. She claimed she could talk to them but that didn’t stop one fowl from fleeing the coop and causing a tribe mate to get nearly choked by a rope at camp as he chased it down.

*’Survivor: World’s Apart” (2015): Jenn Brown, a vegetarian, was able to use her aversion to chicken slaughter to her advantage. She left camp because of her disdain for such bird abuse, which provided the perfect alibi for her to look for an idol. And found one she did.

*”Survivor: Kaoh Rong” (2016): Tai Trang went one step further in his aversion to chicken abuse by making a plucky clucker he dubbed Mark into a pet. At first, he kept him tied up but soon he would just walk around with his human companions. To help avoid Mark becoming dinner, Tai would gather food such as clams and mangoes to satisfy his tribe mates’ hunger. Mark made it all the way to the final Tribal Council and was allowed to be released into the wild. Meanwhile, Tai was presented with a $50,000 check from Australian singer Sia, who attended the finale, and another $50,000 check for the animal welfare charity of his choice.

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