Scientist say wild chickens need to be studied - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Scientist say wild chickens need to be studied

June 14, 2004

Fitzgerald- For all scientific purposes, Fitzgerald's poultry population shouldn't be pecking around.

"The chickens are unique," said UGA ecologist, I. Lehr. "That's one way of putting it."

Lehr says the chickens may have important genetic information. And the city should consider spending money on a study.

"This is the only population of chickens in the Western Hemisphere who have gone back to the natural state and are not only surviving, but are reproducing in large numbers."

They may have different DNA, but the birds are driving the community in two. There are those who love them and those who want them out of their yards for good.

"They tear up flowers. They eat flowers. They kick up pine straw," said resident Melanie Kimball. "And they roost in trees and you get chicken droppings with a smell in your yard."

"Certainly extinction or exterminating them is not the way to go," said resident Barry Peavey. "They're beautiful birds and they add to the beauty of the community."

Whatever the city decides, the experts say getting rid of them is not the answer. "

Find out what is causing these chickens to survive and apparently increase in numbers," Lehr said.

That could be the answer to this poultry problem.

posted at 11:13 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com