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Bastrop Getting Aggressive About Trapping the Town’s Wild Chickens

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Tony Maples Photography


The wild chickens that call Bastrop, Texas, their home are in the process of being relocated by city officials, but these tough cluckers aren’t giving up so easily. Despite the fact the city has captured and moved 131 chickens in a year’s time, so far the relocation effort seems to have had little impact.

Since 2009, this flock of feral chickens has enjoyed legal protection in Bastrop, and visitors would often see them roving along Farm Street. The roosters and hens would cluck and peck, making their lazy way across the street (yes, this is an actual case of the chicken crossing the road!), while drivers would either stop or slow down and wait for them to get to the other side. Yellow signs along the road cautioned, “Slow: Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary.”

Bastrop Getting Aggressive About Trapping the Town’s Wild Chickens

Photo: Facebook/Allen Hallmark

The chickens are apparently the descendants of original flocks on long-gone farms in the area. Many Bastrop residents love the birds, so when an attempt was first made to relocate them, enough people spoke up to get a declaration of sanctuary status. However, many folks think the birds have outworn their welcome. In recent years, they’ve grown in numbers and moved to various parts of town. The crowing and squawking at all hours of the night, plus the mess the leave behind, has many citizens viewing the chickens as nothing more than a nuisance. A local hotel owner says their loud crowing has caused angry guests to demand their money back.

In February, 2018, the Bastrop City Council launched a chicken capturing plan, then in May, the council did away with the Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary. The chicken relocation campaign has met with some setbacks, however, such as the resignation of the animal control officer, the end of a wildlife trapper’s contract, and the theft of a specially-designed, $1,200 chicken trap. And that’s not to mention the fact that some Bastrop residents aren’t supportive of the plan at all. So far, the chickens have been reproducing faster than they’ve been getting caught and relocated.

Bastrop Getting Aggressive About Trapping the Town’s Wild Chickens

Photo: Facebook/Pixabay

Now the City Council wants to get more aggressive with the relocation effort, but exactly how they intend to do so isn’t clear. It may come through employing help from outside (a chicken “bounty hunter,” if you will) or getting a posse of citizens together under the leadership of the city’s new animal control officer. According to statesman.com, City Manager Lynda Humble said that the city would be willing to claim any chicken trapped by a resident.