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CHICKENS OF WAR LAY THEIR FINAL EGGS

Operation Kuwaiti Field Chicken -- the Marines' plan to use poultry as living biosensors -- is cooked, for now. The chickens are dead, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Just more than a week after 43 chickens were brought here to ride into battle with the Marines, all but two have died.Most were buried in the soft sand outside of regiment headquarters. Small, wooden tombstones mark their graves. There is one for Captain Popeye, one for Pfc. King, another for Lance Cpl. Pecker and, finally, one marking the grave of The Unknown Chicken.The plan was to use the chickens the way miners once used caged canaries to warn them of poisonous gas underground. If the Marines moved into southern Iraq during a war, the chickens would be an early signal if Iraq launched biological or chemical weapons."Nobody knows why they died," said Griffin, 26, of Houston. "I just heard that they were boxed up really tight when they arrived and they started dying from the moment they got here. And it didn't help that nobody here really knows anything about chickens."
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