Feb. 19, 2004, 2:29PM
Roaming roosters have some apartment residents crying fowl
By CHARLIE BIER
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Poultry in motion
Residents at the Tamarac Pines Apartments say they're tired of playing chicken with a flock of five roosters who have been nesting in the pine trees and shrubbery in and around the complex parking lot.
Some residents of the apartments, an independent living retirement home at 10510 Six Pines Drive in The Woodlands, complained the roosters scratch and foul their cars, wake them in the early morning hours, chase wheelchair-bound residents and frighten children.
David Hopper / Special to the Chronicle
A gang of roosters guards turf along a wooded area at the Tamarac Pines Apartments in The Woodlands.
Mary Beth Fredericks said her 5-year-old son, Marcus Johnson, was pecked and scratched while he waited for the school bus to take the kindergartner to Lamar Elementary School.
"My son's in hysterics because everyday at noon when he's waiting for the bus, they're waiting for him," Fredericks said.
Fredericks said when the roosters recently pounced on her son, she tried to beat them back with sticks. Then the roosters came after her.
"I couldn't get them away from him. They're really mean. They have no fear at all," Fredericks said.
Her son said he won't go to the bus stop until the roosters are gone.
"They scare me how their claws start to claw me. I got up and I ran, and then I started crying," Marcus said.
Fredericks said the roosters have been around for all of the two years she has lived at the complex. They nest in a stand of pine trees that sits in the middle of the complex parking lot. The roosters also mill around beneath street lights and below apartment windows, crowing from 1:30 a.m. on through the early morning.
"Nobody can get any sleep," Fredericks said.
Fredericks said it is her understanding the roosters were dropped off near the complex and have found a home in the trees and shrubbery, where they have easy access to food from some residents and passersby.
Nancy Addington, a wheelchair-bound resident, said the roosters run up and peck at her.
"Sometimes, they chase me. I just chase them right back," Addington said.
In response to resident complaints, Kelli Copeland, Montgomery County Animal Control director, said animal control officers tried to collar the roosters Tuesday.
"We're going to go out and try to catch them with some chicken feed. We don't have chicken traps, so we'll have to use dog traps," Copeland said. Copeland said they would try to place any roosters they catch at farms or offer them to livestock auctions.
The roosters probably aren't trying to attack people, Copeland said, but rather have come to associate humans with food.
"Apparently, what happened is the residents have been feeding these chickens and apartment management said they had to stop. So they're coming up to people looking for food," Copeland said.
Tamarac Pines management declined to comment about the situation, but did say residents have been asked not to feed the roosters.
Mary Connell, community relations manager for The Community Associations of The Woodlands, said catching the roosters would be left to animal control officers.
"We're available for help if needed, but officially, we're not really involved. They're wild ... animals that are loose in the county, so animal control would need to come out and get them," Connell said.
Copeland said their office usually turns over similar cases to county or state livestock agents, but will fill in in this case.
Fredericks said one white rooster had been caught and taken away by Tuesday night. According to a television report, a neighbor, Susan Ferris, was going to take it to a farm. At least two other birds also were reported to have been captured by Tuesday night.
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