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Neighborhood chickens get free range in Boalsburg

by Norah Shipman

Diane Robinson first noticed the chickens roaming along West Pine Street in Boalsburg the week before Memorial Day.


We thought it was kind of funny at first,” Robinson said. But then the rooster and three or four hens took up residence in the branches of the pine tree outside her bedroom window, and it wasn’t quite so funny anymore. “It was kind of neat during the day, but in the morning it wasn’t so good,” she said. “Between 3 and 5 a.m., the rooster would start to crow.”


Robinson wasn’t the only one to notice. Harris Township Manager Amy Farkas said she has received more calls concerning the chickens than she ever thought possible.


The chickens are the talk of the town. We get calls from people that say they support them,” she said. “We run into people that just think they’re lovely and they just want the chickens to stay forever.”


But for some Boalsburg residents, uninvited chickens are much more attractive from a distance.


I think they’re cute, but I sympathize with the people whose yards they’re destroying,” Farkas said.


The chickens have crossed the road . . . and moved on down it a ways, so Robinson doesn’t mind them so much anymore.


I think they’re kind of cute now that they’re not living here,” she said.


Karen Stewart, who also lives on Pine Street, now has three chickens living in her yard, although she counted five more in a neighboring lawn the other day when she was walking her dog.


I think some people don’t like the noise of the rooster in the morning, but I don’t find that bothersome at all,” she said. “I have to get up early, so I’m up with the roosters anyway.”


Rumors have been circling around town regarding the origins of the chickens. Robinson heard they had escaped from someone who was keeping them to feed a python, although she doubts the validity of the story because so much time has passed without anyone claiming the chickens.


Farkas said there was also a story of the chickens escaping from a flock raided by a bear, but she said that story’s been checked out and isn’t true.


Farkas said the township is interested in helping the chickens, so it is putting together a team of “chicken catchers” to try to capture them and take them to a farm.


We don’t want the chickens to die. I want to make that clear,” she said.


Stewart also doesn’t want the chickens to be harmed.


They seem content, so I would prefer people not to be chasing them,” she said.


In the meantime, Farkas said the chickens add to the charm of Boalsburg.


We’ve had a village cat at one time, and a village tree and all kinds of other things,” she said. “So this kind of adds nicely to our folklore.”

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