Springfield Chicken Run! Cudd Frees Avian Detainees

July 12, 2010 206 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

When Max Cudd watched the round up of local neighborhood chickens by a dozen poultry police in four trucks, he was concerned enough to fight back. He opened the cages to release the pent up chickens. Some escaped. He didn't. He was fined $500.00 for his interference. The ornamental chickens and poultry, part of an aesthetics committee program from the 70s, have been living and thriving in the downtown neighborhoods for decades. The families and members of the Jacksonville Avian Nation have been in the core neighborhoods for decades longer than most. Brightly colored roosters, gorgeously feathered hens. Suddenly subjected to being rounded up and executed. That is until Max Cudd bravely put his cash on the line!

For a few years now, the neighborhood of Springfield's residents, both new and old, have watched the ongoing battle between equally ubiquitous groups of old hens struggling for mastery of the neighborhood.

One group, comprised of gorgeously feathered birds, their swashbuckling roosters, and generations of chicks, have provided color, comedy and character for 40 years.

The Other, comprised of primly feathered birds of prey, clustered in like-minded demolition teams of complaint-lodging avatars for a new pecking order, have long considered all other gamey hens to be fodder for the dangerous, lowest end of the totem pole.

Events quickened.

According to a longtime neighborhood resident posting on a local blog:

They had four trucks and 12 workers to round up the chickens. Just like when they came and stole the ducks from Confederate Park and the Roosters from our neighborhood....and took them away

In 2004, the neighborhood was bemused to see Avian roundups, as colorful birds of several species were chased down like fugitives, rounded up and dragged away never to be seen again.

This led a local wag to coin the phrase:  "When they came for the chickens, I said nothing, because I wasn't a chicken."

Round One went to the old birds at 3rd and Main.

Despite a recent thinning of the LOLA flock, there has not been a corresponding lessening of their Avicidal tendencies.

This time however, representing the sentiments of perhaps a third of the rest of the community, a brave freedom fighter struck a bold blow for the Cause.

Max Cudd will live on in the memory of the neighborhood for his brave act of chicken springing, and today, we can all stand as fellow citizens of Planet Springfield as yet another incident proves that the human (and chicken) spirit still endures.

Metro Jacksonville operative Chris Wickersham happened to be in the area when the break took place and captured the flight of the innocents on film.

Article by Stephen Dare(with help from Gloria DeVall)

photos by Chris Wickersham