Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chickens Running at Large

previously posted on a message board as a happy for a friend. This still brings amusement to my life so I wanted to repost on my blog. Written in Spring of 2003 after learning of my 1st miscarriage.
We used to have the city.
When I was working on my Master's Degree I would go do research on the weekend in Austin. One day while I was down husband calls and says "I think we have this chicken living in our garage." Well when I came home that Sunday, we went to the garage to see. Sure enough, there was this bird that resembled a chicken that looked like it had been through the fan. We let her into the back yard and started calling her FRED.
Well Fred started laying eggs--Fredrika. We weren't aware of how long she'd been there or if she'd had a rooster near her. We learned that chickens will sit eggs until they hatch. If they don't hatch they keep sitting and get depressed and could die. So...not wanting a depressed chicken on our hands, we swapped out her eggs with some that we knew were fertile--had a friend who lived in the country and who had chickens and geese.
So two baby chicks hatched out and Fred was happy. One drowned in the dog water--did I mention we'd never had chickens before and had no idea that we needed chick feeders and waterers? So Fred and Baby Huey were happy and ran the backyard together.
Well then my Mom calls one day and my Dad had had a stroke. So I left the house and went to Arlington to help Mommie and be with my Dad. While I'm there, my husband calls and asks my Mom if she thinks I'll be too mad to learn that he's been to the flea market and bought some more hens and a rooster to keep Fred and Baby Huey company--they looked lonely he says. I just shook my head and rolled my eyes. My Dad made a full recovery by the way. time passes we have baby chicks, sell baby chicks, buy baby chicks...blah blah blah. Occassionally the neighbors dogs might take off through the flock and kill one or two or they'd show up missing and you'd just know they went off and died.
Well...we were down to one lonely chicken. The city ordinances had changed and we were told that we could let our old chicken (her feathers were grey she was so old) live out the rest of her little life if we kept her from running amok and getting the animal control out there. So we made her stay near the house and she was good.
Then about 2½ months ago [originally written in April 2003]...6 more chickens show up! Now I know they're not her babies as there's no rooster and these chickens are distinctly not her breed! I found out yesterday that the neighbor on the corner who is an A$$ had them and didn't want them so he gave them to our neighbors little girl and she wasn't taking care of them so they started roosting in our tree and hanging around our old grey bird. Anyway, we're not feeding them or watering them and they are just hanging out at our house. We've tried catching them and can't. Animal control had been by once to talk with us about them and we encouraged him to try catching them and taking them away as they're not ours and we don't want them anymore as you're not supposed to have chickens IN THE CITY!! So...we've never caught them--they're too fast and they don't always roost in the same place.
So I come home yesterday after my appointment and find a CITATION on the door for "4 chickens RUNNING AT LARGE!" HA! I take a moment to talk to the Animal Control officer--Officer Whitely--and tell him about these chickens that aren't ours. Invite him to catch them. He says they're too fast. He tells us that it's suspicious because they run to our back yard for shelter--WE HAVE NO FENCE! So he says "we could shoot them." I remind him of the law about discharging firearms in the city limits. He says "HE" will shoot them...I say, "alright." Then he tells me that with dogs...if they're at your residence for 72 hours they're considered yours even though you're not feeding them, watering them, or giving them care! He's not sure what the deal is with chickens.
The complaintant --RP=Reporting Party--is upset as they get in her birdbath and eat her bird seeds and dig in her flowerbeds!!! HELLO!!! Sounds like she's the one feeding them!!! In the meantime ... our little grey hen has gone off and not come back. It's been 3 weeks or more so we suspect she's dead. As a result of our CITATION, my husband and I are spending my lunch at the judges office denying guilt for chickens RUNNING AT LARGE! HA! The funny part is this could go to court if they RPs make a sworn statement! Can you imagine the judge! I think he'd laugh us out of court! I'll kill'em before that happens--the chickens that is, not the neighbors!
post note: We went to the cattle call for citations that would later be tried. We were the LAST ones in a long list of cited. We talked with the city attorney who decided there would really be no way of trying the case. He couldn't prove the chickens belonged to us. The chickens had been removed--thanks to my husband and a long-handled landing net. So he dismissed the charges.

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