Rooster caught at the Swamp Rabbit Inn!
General Pickens was a magnificent specimen of the Faverolle breed and indeed the ruling rooster of the little urban neighborhood bounded by Rhett, Wardlaw and Academy in Greenville's West End. His roost was five feet off the ground in a large bush that sat directly across from the front steps of 1 Logan Street, The Swamp Rabbit Inn.
General Pickens took great pride in his role of Nature’s Alarm Clock but the rest of us were far less keen. Strutting through the parking lot at dawn to announce the arrival of the day was a dubious honor to all but him. He would have to be relocated.
General Pickens did not want to be caught.
For the longest time he was tolerated and regarded as a joke. Everyone had a go chasing him. The Mail Carrier said she’d seen him in the area for over four years. The popular rumor was that he had been left behind when his original owners moved away. The decision to begin the hunt in earnest and call animal control came in mid July of 2015.
This turned out to be only the second rooster that City of Greenville Animal Control had been tasked with catching. Megan and Joanne brought out a special kennel/trap contraption for the purpose which was placed behind the Bike Shed. They gave Lisa tupperware containers of “chicken scratch” (corn) as bait to lure him in. Then began the wait. General Pickens was a wily customer! A few weeks went by and the rooster was already proving too smart for conventional tactics. Megan and Joanne came out again to affix a camera to the telephone pole to record GP’s activities. Lisa was diligently maintaining a trail of chicken scratch leading into the trap… and The General would eat the trail right up to the door. Infuriating bird!
Research uncovered that General Pickens made a circuit of the area twice daily. He had his wakeup call duties and then made a second stroll between 4 and 5 p.m. He visited the local pastor’s house every day and enjoyed dining on crushed pecans with the mourning doves at various locations.
The watershed moment came when Hildegaard and Henrietta, the laying hens, were moved into their coop behind the Bike Shed. General Pickens, old devil, became a more regular visitor! Joanne and Megan were coming by every Wednesday and Thursday to check if he had been caught. Troy, our resident handyman, had chased after him with a 2x4 at one point, and AJ did the same with a broom but to no avail. Roosters are high steppers when they want to be and GP was FAST! Sling shots and bb guns were fantasized about but never employed. Lucky, however, that they all failed because, it turns out, injuring or killing the rooster would have been illegal.
The triumphant day did finally come at last in late November. Megan just happened to be on hand when General Pickens’ proud comb appeared above a nearby bush. She decided to take an old fashioned approach. She got a net out of her truck and swiftly cornered the salty old cock between the shed and chicken coop and the saga had its end.
Don’t shed tears for General Pickens! He spent barely a day at the animal shelter before he was adopted by a farmer who welcomed him to a more appropriate venue to do what roosters do naturally.
General Pickens, you stud, farewell! Thanks for keeping us on our toes and giving us the runaround.