Last Sunday was a beautiful spring day in Central Texas — even though it was the middle of January. We took advantage of the nice weather to drive over to Bastrop and check out the Colorado River Refuge, a nature preserve set up by a land trust.
After hiking along the river, defending ourselves from a territorial dachshund, and trying to tell if two bright red birds flitting among the trees were cardinals, we were hungry, so we meandered into Bastrop, looking for lunch.
Our approach to finding lunch wasn’t scientific; we were just driving around until we saw something interesting and local. Which is how we found ourselves on Farm Street. There weren’t any restaurants, but there was a series of golden banners hanging from the light posts that said:
Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary
We looked around, but we didn’t see anything that looked like some sort of official sanctuary for chickens. We didn’t even see a chicken coop. But we did see a lot of chickens wandering through the yards and along the railroad tracks. Colorful chickens. Talkative chickens — the roosters didn’t seem to consider it inappropriate to crow at three o’clock in the afternoon. And they looked pretty historic to us.
Obviously, it was impossible to avoid stopping the car and getting out to take a few pictures.
In the days before the Internet, this phenomenon would have remained a mystery. But a quick google informed us that:
- The chickens are wild — at least in the sense that they don’t belong to anyone.
- They’ve been there for a long time.
- The Bastrop City Council did indeed adopt a resolution proclaiming several blocks of Farm Street to be an Historic Chicken Sanctuary.
There’s a video about them on the Visit Lost Pines website.
The Austin American-Statesman wrote this all up last spring. Apparently someone complained about the chickens, saying that chicken droppings were health hazards. That got everyone else riled up and the sanctuary signs were the result.
Maybe I’ll move out to Bastrop. I’d like to live in a town where the response to snooty people who don’t like a little color and weirdness in their neighborhoods is an official thumb of the nose.