|The Great Chicken Invasion of 2012 has come to a squawking halt. Pet chickens, allegedly abandoned by renters, grown into a mighty band of marauding, feathery pillagers, will peck at bugs and lizards no more in Coquina Gables. Crack of dawn crowing will no longer rouse sleepers from their roosts. Free eggs are now a thing of the past in The City of St. Augustine Beach, right up there with Henry Flagler’s golf courses, the through-way through the State Park, the Boondocks Tavern and Russ Stauffer’s pet palmetto Bug, “Charlie.” To quote the late, great Ed Van Cott, “They ain’t no moe.”
There hasn’t been such a flurry of feather flicking since the days of the Great Muscovy Duck Invasion of nineteen hundred eighty and eight. Duck Haters were driving their cars into peoples’ lawns (Boston Globe) to try to run down the poor things, and their crime? It was the same as the chickens. They had become too many to be allowed to live! The Muscovy Duck Debates became so heated that one neighbor accused another of murdering Ducks by smashing their eggs and smothering the babies. The “Bitch of Buchenwald” (So named by the Duck Loving Neighbor) went free. But for the chickens there is no reprieve. The City of St. Augustine Beach hired a professional Chicken Hit Man, “Hunter Hunter.” Hunter Hunter hunted the crowing caperers by creeping around in the darkness looking for their roosts. No fifty caliber, high power rifles on this Safari, only gloved hands grabbing the chickens in their sleep! No sporting sense here, just eradication, fowlacide! Like humanoid weasels, they crept up the trees while the chickens slept and with gloved hands, snatched them from their dreams. In a flurry of squawking, wing flapping, self defensive clawing, the chickens were bagged and shipped off to an undisclosed location (KFC?).
The great good city fathers expressed concern about chicken sicknesses to support the expenditure of public funds for the Great Chicken Hunt of 2012. While Leprosy bearing Armadillos, rabid raccoons, virus laden mosquitoes, rattle snakes, Cotton Mouths and vicious spiders of all sorts roam the woods, there will no longer be a danger of Chicken Fever. I’m so relieved.
There is no mention of the species of chicken in the St. Augustine Record’s front page news story, but the picture looks like they were Rhode Island Reds. All this flurry and not a peep from the proliferation of New Englanders in St. Augustine. If that had been Leg Horn The Rooster, Texas would have been up in arms. Now St. Augustine Beach is quiet. No loud “uckbucking” (With a Providence accent) as the hens drop an egg. There is no proud papa strutting his stuff and crowing about it on ‘E’ Street. No chicks obediently following the mama down the sidewalk.
On the up side, in 1988 when we had the flap of quacking about the Ducks, people were coming from all over the world to see the place where the Mayor of St. Augustine Beach was attacked by a Muscovy Duck – aggressive little beasties! Londoners filled our hotels and restaurants. Berliners and Amsterdamians crowded the city asking to be shown the Muscovies. Maybe it will happen again? The Muscovy Duck controversy was pivotal in American Culture. People started having Rubber Ducky Races on their rivers. The name even became a popular CB handle for a while. Now truckers are talking about “chicken haulers” and choking chickens instead of the squeaky rubber duckies. Maybe the chicken fracas will have a similar impact.
Now that this threat has been contained, perhaps we can ask The City of St. Augustine Beach to bring Hunter Hunter back to hunt down the ticks, fleas and mosquitoes that infest St. Augustine Beach and pose an even greater threat to health than Chicken Fever? Then we must consider how to deal with the Armadillos and Raccoons.
Hunter Hunter Hunts all sorts of pesty animals. If you have a pesty animal, give him a call. Steve Hunter, Jr. owns and operates St. Augustine Animal Service and Trapping. And if you want the government to pay for it, call the City of St. Augustine Beach. Ask for the “Dumb Clucks Department,” and when you talk to them, be sure to use the expression "Health Threat." That seems to be their “hot button.”
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