May 25-June 7, 2001
Back Issues
Paul E. Norris Jr. to head U.Va. police
More nurses coming, hospital will reopen beds
Nursing receives $1 million for McLeod expansion

Search committees for key posts named

Probing the mental wounds of ethnic conflict
Graduation festivities
Hot Links -- graduation special edition
Second Hot Links -- hospital centennial
Shenandoah Shakespeare Express coming to Charlottesville June 28
U.Va.'s 'Chicken Run'
In Memoriam
Memorial efforts for Meloy
Rebecca Arrington
This rooster does not always look both ways before crossing University Avenue.

U.Va.'s 'Chicken Run'

By Matt Kelly

Maybe the chicken crossed the road to escape.

Last week there was a chicken roundup at Carr’s Hill, where two roosters and a hen appeared around Easter. After several weeks of wandering around and causing a stir, one chicken is dead, one has been taken away and the third is still evading capture.

“Half a dozen guys, some of them bigger than linebackers, chased down the brown one and captured it,” said Carr’s Hill gardener Michael Leff. “The third one escaped. I saw it on the front lawn of St. Paul’s [Epsicopal Church on University Avenue.]”

Arborist Jerry Brown and several members of the grounds crew chased the birds on the lawns of Carr’s Hill May 17, according to Leff, who said the chicken was being added to Brown’s own flock. On May 18, several members of the grounds crew tried to run down the remaining bird outside St. Paul’s and Booker House, at the corner of University Avenue and Madison Lane. They were not successful.

Leff said the hen had been killed earlier in the weeks by a red-tailed hawk.

“Whoever is bringing these chickens in should cease and desist,” Leff said. “Once they are released, they meet with a bad end.”

Peter Bowyer, who has been the chef at Carr’s Hill for 10 years, said in previous years he has put food out for the chickens and they would flock to him. He said this year’s troupe was more feral.

three roosters
Matt Kelly
Chickens makes use of the lawn at their adopted home at Carr's Hill.

“I’m not going to spend my time making friends with something with as short a life-span as a chicken,” Bowyer said. “My life’s too short for that.”

Boyer said the death of the first chicken seemed to have no impact on the others.
“Chickens could care less,” he said. “They’re not much for friendships or forming alliances.”

Bowyer said he has been tempted to cook up the remaining roosters.

“I have eaten roosters in France,” he said. “They are strong, flavorful, gamy. You should stew them in wine — red wine, for my taste.”

Bowyer developed a soft spot for a chicken that came to Carr’s Hill last year. He took it home to his house in the country. He said the rooster was there for a while, then one day it was crowing and drew a flock of 15 to 20 chickens and they all took off into the woods. As far as he knew, none of his neighbors kept chickens, so where they came from was a mystery. He has not seen any of them since.

Eileen Trainum Bird, assistant to Carr’s Hill manager Nargis Cross, said that this is the third or fourth year birds have landed at Carr’s Hill. She said one year, the chicken was named Harlan, after Col. Harlan Saunders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. Some of the staff at Carr’s Hill fed it and it became a fixture, until a dog killed it.


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