While it may not settle the ultimate debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg, there was no doubt Wednesday morning that it was the chickens who arrived first.
At some point in the middle of the night, someone dumped about 30 live chickens at the entrance of the city hall and they appeared to take to their new environment quite easily. Some were enjoying digging into the mulch while others decided to roost behind the shrubs. Another half dozen or so found their way into the trees.
City employees were careful not to walk underneath those particular branches as they arrived for work and it wasn’t long before officials began hatching a plan on what to do next. The good news is that no one’s feathers were ruffled over the stunt and good-nature debates on chicken recipes dominated the morning conversation.
Ward 1 councilman Gene Gallo, who admitted he’s no spring chicken, said it’s the first time in six decades with the city and almost three decades as a city councilman, “That I’ve ever seen anything like this before.”
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Gallo said he suspects it’s someone who is pro-chicken ordinance egging on officials to allow the raising of chickens within city limits. Palmetto recently initiated a ban on chickens and currently, they are only allowed in unincorporated areas of Manatee County.
“I went out there and there was probably about 30 chickens at our front door and in our mulch and bushes, three in the trees,” Gallo said. “What I think is there has been some people asking about a chicken ordinance in the city, which we do not have to permit them, and I think it’s somewhat of a subtle message to say these are the chickens we are talking about.”
The chickens were in good health and domesticated.
“It’s pretty clear they didn’t come from the wild,” Gallo said, though one or two of the chickens showed a little aggression to their fellow cluckers as to who’s who in the pecking order.
There was some discussion on how long to leave the chickens, even some indication to leave them alone overnight to give the owner a chance to pick them up, but Mayor Wayne Poston indicated city hall is no chicken coop.
“We’re not going to wait,” he said following a debate with Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. as to the preferred seasoning choice for a possible city barbecue.
No harm and no fowl came to the birds of a feather. Animal control assisted a local school to capture the chickens, where they will be raised among students and other animals within a Future Farmers of America or 4-H class.
By mid-morning all of the chickens had been removed.
Foghorn Leghorn was not immediately available for comment.