PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After more than 40 years of Santa service, the Corbett Fire Department is retiring its original Christmas Chicken costume.

Corbett’s unique tradition of dressing firefighters up like chickens to deliver Christmas gifts to families in need started in the late 1970s when Nev Scott, the wife of former CFD Chief Bob Scott, initially tried to rent a Santa costume for the same purpose.

The retired costume has gone from a spring chicken to an old hen. | KOIN 6 File photos of the department’s old costume

According to legend, the costume shop was out of Santa outfits, so she boldly rented a chicken suit instead. Corbett firefighters have been delivering presents as chickens ever since.

The Corbett Fire District’s new chicken. | CFD

Corbett Fire Department spokesperson Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky told KOIN 6 that the department has used the same chicken costume since the tradition began. Firefighters even purchased the outfit to keep the tradition alive when the costume shop went out of business in 2016. But the bird’s once-lustrous holiday plumage is now noticeably worn, and CFD has decided that it’s time for a new chicken suit.

“After 40 years of flying in the cold east wind, his feathers were getting frayed,” the Corbett Fire Department said.

Three Corbett families will receive presents and household supplies from the Christmas Chicken this year. The department has begun collecting donations for the annual delivery celebration.

In-person fire boot donations can be made at Liz’s Coffee Cabin in Springdale, or at the Corbett Country Market. Checks can be mailed to Christmas Chicken at P.O. Box 1, Corbett, Oregon, 97019. Venmo donations can also be sent to @Corbettfirefightersassn.