May, 2016 ~ Chickens ?!!? As we entered the St. Augustine Road Fish Management Area, we thought we heard a rooster crow. No, must have been something else. Then another crow. Very strange – in all the years of walking in the area, we’ve never heard a rooster crow.
And just as we entered a clearing, there they were: four, at least one of which is a rooster. We know nothing about chickens but these don’t look like your ordinary farm yard chickens. Friends informed me these are a breed called Polish and someone is likely missing them. I walk around our neighborhood a lot and think I would have heard them crow if they were from nearby.
I’ve long wanted chickens but we don’t have the yard for it, even with the new moveable chicken coops. I was really enjoying these even though they weren’t particularly interested in hanging around when we approached them. They edged away but kept feeding. They were in the same clearing, every day, for a week and a half.
How did they get here? Do they belong to someone? Did they escape? Did someone turn them out into the woods? I stopped by Trad’s Nursery, a few miles away, because they have chickens and for some reason I thought they were part of the movement to get the city to permit homeowners to keep chickens. They gave me the number to a feed store. The kind gentleman at the feed store told me that people turn their pet chickens out all the time when they get tired of them. He will always take them in and gave me advice on how to catch them if I wanted.
I was making plans on how to catch them when disaster struck. Well, for one of them, anyway. One morning, as we entered the park, we heard the crowing but it was coming from a distant, impassable area of the woods. In the clearing, instead of foraging chickens, there were feathers – lots of feathers – many, many more than a casual dropped feather or two – almost an entire chicken’s worth of feathers. And in the dirt, animal footprints and clear signs of a struggle.
So, no more chickens. We’ll never know if the remaining birds were frightened away to other feeding grounds, returned home or met some terrible fate. A fisherman who frequents the park said he hadn’t heard them in a while but told us all about the capture of a family of wild boar over by the entrance to the park – yikes!