Fair Oaks Village chickens are beloved and celebrated by many and scorned by some. Their squabbles, persistent calls to each other, and continuous patrols of Village streets and its two parks add character to the fabric of our community.
Residents and visitors take photos of chickens, feed them, and watch their antics while sitting at the park, an outdoor cafe or the Fair Oaks Deli. The Deli is one of the Village favorites for great food, company and entertainment. Cars driving through Fair Oaks Village stop and wait for chickens to meander across streets. Drivers wait, honk their horn and wait some more. Groups of two, three or four chickens often choose to linger in the middle of the street before crossing. They gather for conferences in parking lots and streets. These chickens tend to hang out in pairs or in a group – unless one has been chased away after a noisy squabble. When a chicken is alone, it crows even more.
During hot summer days, I see them resting in the shade of a tree in a park. They squabble, chase and call to each other. The biggest roosters have the longest and deepest calls. OO…OO…OO…OO…OOOO. The smallest chickens sound more like they are coughing with a scratchy throat. eh..eh..eh..eh..ehhhh…Even thin and scrawny, the smallest chickens behave as if they were the big roosters.
A chicken family lives on Bridge Street – a short street leading from the Village that ends at Fair Oaks Bridge. On one side of the street the rooster hides deep in bushes with mother hen and her five growing chicks. On the other side, two hens mingle with a small gray rabbit. The three of them emerge from the hillside lined with trees and dense shrubs at dawn and usually retreat into the hills by 730 am.
Almost every day I stand on Fair Oaks Bridge, one lone chicken calls good morning from Bridge Street, deeply hidden in bushes.