13 February 2019

Ridgeland “Chicken Toss” – A New Update

Chicken being tossed from the roof of a building into a crowd of people.

There’s a question whether the Ridgeland, Wisconsin “chicken toss” in Dunn County will be held this year. We probably won’t know until after Saturday, February 16th, the day it would normally take place based on previous years’ mid-February dates for the event. At least one animal activist has said he will attend and film the event if it or something like it takes place. Meanwhile, please see the following exchange between a person who opposes the chicken toss and Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd.

On Tuesday February 12th UPC received the following email:

To Whom It May Concern:

I emailed Sheriff Bygd, County DA Nodolf, and County Board Supervisor Brian Johnson in regard to Ridgeland, WI Pioneer Day's Chicken Toss scheduled for Feb 16, 2019. I emailed them in hopes it could be cancelled via State Statute 951.02 (the mistreating of animals) if they would not cancel it for being immoral, unethical, or inhumane. The only person to reply to me so far is Sheriff Bygd. I found his response interesting as it seems he finds the event acceptable. But I also found it interesting that he questioned me about it being cancelled. Can you confirm if indeed the chicken toss was cancelled this year and replaced with a barbeque like he stated? I would greatly appreciate it. I reside in Neenah, WI and many local people are trying to support the cancellation of this barbaric event and would be thrilled to know that indeed it was cancelled. But I'm also wondering if Sheriff Bygd is just saying this to pacify me by the tone of his email.

Here is Sheriff Bygd’s email reply to the writer:

It's at least nice to hear from someone in Wisconsin about this event; however, your plea to stop the event is misdirected. The sheriff's office is not involved in planning the event. Have you confirmed that the "chicken toss" is planned this year? I've heard they are planning a barbecue instead due to all of the protesting. Personally I think that would be a shame since a lot of the local people take the chickens home and raise them on their farms. We have investigated this event in years past and found nothing illegal taking place. From what we have seen, the protesting has only fueled the event by bringing more people into town.

I have no more authority to stop this event than I do stopping you from protesting it, [since] both would be infringing on someone's rights.

United Poultry Concerns sent the following email to Sheriff Bygd on February 12th in response to his message above, but have not heard from him:

We are informed that the chicken toss may not be conducted this year. If so, we are glad, even realizing that most of these birds (roosters mainly, we believe) have little hope in an atmosphere in which they have no power to defend themselves. We also know there are people in Dunn County who find the chicken toss ugly and degrading but hesitate to speak out.

If there are people in Dunn County who truly want to give a good life to some of the chickens, as we are sure there are, surely they can arrange an exchange that does not include hauling chickens in feed bags and crates to a rooftop and throwing them up in the air like inanimate objects amid a shrieking mob in bitter cold. This is animal cruelty, legal or otherwise.

We respectfully ask you to find a way to object to the chicken toss in your capacity as Sheriff and fellow citizen. Please use your influence to move the community in a kinder direction where these birds are concerned.

Thank you very much for your kind attention. We would be happy to hear from you.

--United Poultry Concerns

See our previous action alerts this year:


Thank you for protesting against the Ridgeland “Chicken Toss.”
Our voices are being heard.
— United Poultry Concerns