The City of Bastrop is considering getting rid of the Farm Street Chicken Sanctuary. “The wild chickens have roamed here for centuries,” said Jane Campos who has lived on Farm Street for almost 60 years.
“It’s unique. It’s farm lots. You can have horses, you can have chickens, you can have dogs, you can have goats, you can have whatever you want to here,” Campos said.
When the City built the Convention Center, it pushed the chickens out into the neighborhood. So, in 2009, the city designated Farm Street a chicken sanctuary. But the sanctuary isn’t fenced in and eventually the chickens crossed into other neighborhoods.
“They’ve made it west,” said Bastrop Animal Control officer Troy Walters.
As the city grows, so does the number of people fed up with the birds.
“It’s a nice novelty, but the reality of it is it’s out of control,” said Joely Easterly who lives outside of the chicken sanctuary. “Some of these folks here didn’t sign up for it,” Easterly added.
In November, City Council hatched a plan to keep the chickens from driving people outside of the sanctuary mad. They started a trapping and relocation program.
“We partnered with the zoo and they took a shipment of chickens that we captured and took out to them. I also have a list of citizens that have come forward that want to adopt them,” Walters said.
Walters has successfully trapped about 40 chickens since March, but it hasn't been easy. “They’re very, very suspicious of any items in the yard and something that’s foreign to them,” said Walters.
The City said the birds are multiplying faster than they're being relocated. “It’s going to be kind of hard to stay ahead of that curve. I mean, we can snatch up forty chickens, but four hens can replace those,” Walters said.
That led City Council to the same conclusion Walters came to months ago. “These chickens migrated from the chicken sanctuary, so if they’re going to allow them to stay there running free, I think we’re going to be facing this again in a few years,” said Walters.
Now, Council is considering getting rid of the Farm Street sanctuary once and for all.
“The City Council made it clear we’re not going to be in the zoo industry,” Walters said.
That's not what people who grew up around the wild birds wanted to hear.
“I’d be very disappointed in the City of Bastrop that they don’t have any backbone to stand up and stand for something that has been a benefit,” said Campos.
City Council will have their second reading of the proposal to end the designated sanctuary on Tuesday. The trapping program will likely continue for multiple years.
Bastrop is asking anyone who wants to adopt chickens to contact them.