R.I.P., Big Bro’

When I first read about the wild chickens on Starnes Avenue [“Foraging Ahead,” June 20], I thought what a strange thing to see in the city. About six weeks ago I moved to Starnes, and I can attest that “Big Bro” and his gaggle of hens took a bit of getting used to. Though the family may have [formerly] nested at 85 Starnes, by the time I arrived they had relocated close to the building I moved into. For the first week I could not sleep at all past 4:30 a.m. due to this rooster’s sets of loud crowing. However, after that week I learned to simply put the pillow over my head and started sleeping through the night with no problem.

For me, Big Bro’s crowing was the one thing that set where I live apart—a sliver of nature in the city, if you will. I always looked for the chickens when leaving my apartment during the day. Asheville is full of “bleeding hearts” for one cause or another, and mine is animal compassion. One day I commented to a visiting friend how sad I would be when and if that day came that I no longer heard this proud rooster’s crows, for I would know something bad would have happened to him.

Two days ago, that day came. The ironic thing is that not hearing Big Bro kept me more awake then hearing him. Yesterday, I was informed by a man in my building that he had shot Big Bro with his buddy’s BB gun. This man claimed that he had been living in the building for a year and has to get up early in the morning and that he couldn’t take it anymore. As if he was the only one who had to get up in the morning. I wondered to myself what right he had to take care of the rooster problem in such a dreadful way. Why take it upon himself to act on his behalf and his behalf alone?

So, like that—the rooster problem is no more. I wish I could say Big Bro had been relocated or know that he was “taken care of” because he was a threat to the health and safety of the people, but sadly this is not the case.

I, for one, will miss Big Bro’s calls.

— Rachel Applefield

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7 thoughts on “R.I.P., Big Bro’

  1. bluegrassbrad

    Anywhere in the city limits of Asheville is considered a bird sanctuary, this includes all type of birds and/or wild fowl (The rooster is feral and therefore considered wild). The jackass who killed the rooster is in violation of this ordinance (there are both city AND state ordinance’s covering this, as you need a permit from the state to kill a bird in a sanctuary) and can be fined. You should report him.

    Sec. 3-17. Bird sanctuary.
    The area embraced within the corporate limits of the City and all land owned or leased
    by the City outside the corporate limits is hereby designated as a bird sanctuary.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to:
    Shoot, hunt, kill, trap or otherwise take any bird or other wild fowl;
    Collect or destroy any bird’s nest or eggs; or
    Disturb or annoy any bird within such sanctuary without a permit issued by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

  2. just curious


    So, if i release another rooster, or a whole new flock, they then automatically become “wild”?

  3. bluegrassbrad

    Just curious – Here is a quick definition of bird for you:

    a. Any of the class Aves of warm-blooded, egg-laying, feathered vertebrates with forelimbs modified to form wings.
    b. Such an animal hunted as game.
    c. Such an animal, especially a chicken or turkey, used as food.

    Asheville is a bird sanctuary. Additionally there is no hunting of any kind allowed within Asheville city limits, so there is another ordinance broken by this jackass. Oh and here is another. It is unlawful for someone to purposefully harm an animal within the city. Why don’t you go here and read this:
    and educate yourself on our city’s laws instead of trying to be a smartass (and failing quite miserably at it as well).

  4. "JC"

    blue grass brad:

    Whoaa! Are you joking?

    I have thought for a while that it would be neat to release some egg-laying birds (quail, doves, chickens, etc) in Montford so that they could become a ‘wild’ flock. That way, one could circumvent the rules against such things in the neighborhood. You are allowed to have a flock, with certain restrictions of course, but generally cant have a male. But if you do have a male, then the flock can regenerate on its own, creating an ongoing flock. Seems kinda cool.

    After reading the info. in the link you provided, though, I see that it would be technically illegal to harvest the eggs from said “wild” flock, so my point becomes mute.

    So perhaps someone could answer my honest question without calling me names on the internet?

    If I release another rooster, does he automatically become ‘wild’? Where is the line drawn on ‘wild’? How did this flock from the article come to be “wild”?

    I would imagine they were technically feral, like the flock that used to exist (perhaps it still does?) in the neighborhood just east of Merrimon near the middle school. It was once owned by a woman (so the story goes) who moved or died, and the birds just moved into the neighborhood. The neighbors didnt mind them, so they became feral, ‘neighborhood’ birds. But I would imagine this is very different from the actual ‘wild’ birds in the area, like a sparrow or something.

    The law you bring up is quite interesting, and I’m sorry you found it combative?

    I feel it is unfortunate that somebody felt it necessary to kill “Big BRO”.

    Thanks for the link

    Lighten up, perhaps?

  5. monica

    I live on Starnes Avenue, right across the street from the feral entourage.

    While I think that killing the rooster with a BB Gun was a repulsive choice, I would like to add that during the several months we’ve lived in my home, my partner and I have called animal services repeatedly hoping that the rooster and its family could be relocated and given a chance new lives somewhere where their neighbors didn’t hate them.

    Animal services informed us that they came out twice, only twice in several months, and that they were out of ideas. Did we have any? We saw some folks from animal services once, a month or so after we had given up trying to work with them, also I believe, after the rooster had met its untimely demise. For about 10 minutes, they circled a tree that a chicken or two had nested in. Then, they left. Not a good faith effort in my opinion.

    While I appreciate that some neighbors were able to cover their heads with their pillows and fall soundly back asleep, some of us, especially those of us who don’t have air conditioning and rely on our open windows to make summertime tolerable indoors, weren’t so lucky. The rooster crowed from about 4:30am until about 9:00pm every day, and we chose to live in a city, not on a farm.

    Again, violence is no good. However, the situation was pretty desperate for some us functioning on minimal, interrupted sleep day after day. There may have been other options that we were unaware of, and those should have definitely been explored before taking the rooster’s life, but animal services did not appear to be doing their best, and that was really frustrating.

  6. Nicki Applefield

    Everyone needs “a sliver of nature in the city”. I, for one, need more than a sliver. Hey Rachael, I am pretty sure we are related.

  7. Vanna

    I for one, genuinely, sp, enjoy the sound of a rooster in the morning. However, for 4 1/2 hours starting at 4 am might be questionable. However, if I lived in the mountains rather than on the east coast, this may sway my opinion. Especially if a particularly crabby red hed was the one being awaken at this undesirable hour.

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