Herodotus and Ovid wrote of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Fast-forward a few millenia and we’ve got feral chickens ruling the roost after Hurricane Katrina.
The Times-Picayune reported last week that in post-Katrina New Orleans, feral chickens are dancing in the streets. It is surmised that these flocks are the descendants of once-domestic birds released from their coops during the hurricane. Like the chickens that have roamed the Hawaiian island of Kauai since Hurricane Iniki, these resourceful chickens now thrive in the 7th, 8th and 9th wards of the Big Easy.
Barbara Young, who feeds the chickens that roam the 9th ward, remembers visiting the area in late 2005, where she saw flood-ravaged houses and felt an “eerie quiet”. Then she saw a hen and a rooster and “that gave me hope”, she says. “We’re going to have life. We’re going to be able to go back home.”
According to the Times-Picayune article, animal control officers in New Orleans note that capturing the wild chickens is “extremely hard” and often requires the efforts of several officers. I think I see a career opportunity for a certain unemployed Chicken Emperor…
The opportunities are apparently extensive. The Times-Picayune article cites recent chicken-catching challenges in Philadelphia, Miami and Phoenix . And a few years ago, Key West, Fla., hired a municipal chicken wrangler to keep its bird populations under control. I don’t know how much the job pays, but think of the prestige!