Choctaw chickens multiply

Published 9:31 am Sunday, March 10, 2013

People who drive through to drop off their recyclables in the bins at the Choctaw Landfill probably don’t generally notice the delicate new items sitting atop a stack of bundled scrap paper in a far corner, but the folks who work there are aware and they’re being careful not to do damage.

It’s a matter of life and death. The items are a chicken and her brood.

On Tuesday, the resident hen was sitting on a clutch of eggs and some very recent hatchlings while recycling business went on across the room.

Washington Parish Solid Waste Supervisor Troy Barber, who runs the landfill, happily showed off the feathered family scene and said there have been chickens at Choctaw for some time.

According to him, years ago a man’s truck broke down and while it was idle his wife continued to use it as a trash receptacle. When the vehicle was fixed, the man drove it to the landfill to get rid of the garbage and found that one of his chickens had built a nest amidst the debris.

The startled hen chose to flee rather than fight. She immediately disappeared into the woods, which might seem contrary to her lineage as a fancy fighting fowl.

The man returned to the landfill for days in hopes of reuniting with his chicken, then finally gave up, Barber said.

The hen came back.

Some time later, a kind-hearted local man dropped a rooster off on site to keep the hen from getting too lonesome, and before long the landfill was bustling with beak-bearing activity.

For a while, there were a lot of chickens at the landfill, Barber said. But the facility is located in a largely undeveloped area, and predators have thinned the flock to one rooster and one hen.

Still, life goes on, and now that pair has produced a whole new generation of Choctaw chickens.

Barber is hopeful for the flock.

“These are the survivors,” he proclaimed. “Their babies will be survivors.”