That guess isn't toally absurd, I found this interesting tidbit about Romans and chickens.
On his return to Rome, Pulcher was tried for incompetence in Rome and fined heavily. (This was unusual for the Romans, who normally realized that defeats had to be expected. The Carthaginians on the other hand often crucified unsuccessful generals.) The story arose that Pulcher was defeated for impiety. The Romans kept sacred chickens in cages to determine the attitude of the gods: if they ate, the gods favored battle (hence if the chickens were not kept well fed, a favorable omen could usually be gotten). Pulcher's chickens were apparently sea-sick and refused to eat. He is said to have thrown them overboard, saying "If they won't eat, let them drink." The gods were apparently not amused.