Having fresh chicken has taken on a whole new meaning at the Bojangles’ in Ridgeway.
For the past several months, that restaurants’ customers and staff alike have been clucking over three daily visitors: a rooster and two hens. The friendly fowl aren’t ruffling any feathers but rather seem to have amassed an immense fan base across the county.
Bojangles’ shift manager Terica Chase said it all started in the spring, when a speckled chicken started hanging out each morning in the Bojangles’ parking lot. She named her “Clucky.”
Restaurant employees used to take biscuits out to Clucky, “and he must have gone out there and told his friends,” because soon enough three other chickens arrived – although Clucky hasn’t been seen in quite a while, she said.
“They’re friendly. You can walk up to them,” said Ricky McKnight of Bojangles’.
Biscuit-maker Jeff Woods said the chickens spend a lot of time around his bright yellow car.
When Brianna King gets to work, “they walk me to the door in the mornings,” she said. “They are crowing all morning.”
“They hold up the drive-through traffic,” Chase said with a laugh and added that the customers seem to get a kick out of it.
According to Facebook posts, customers love the chickens at Bojangles’.
“Nothing like being held hostage in your car at 6:45 in the morning by the live chickens at Bojangles’,” Sandra Hairston wrote, referring to a time she went to pick up BoRounds for her husband before work – but she got a laugh out of it, she said, and hoped her story would give others a chuckle.
In fact, that morning got even weirder for Hairston. Her car wouldn’t start, so her son picked her up at Bojangles’ and drove her to Advance Auto – where Santa Claus showed up driving a Silverado pickup truck.
On Friday Keisha Law posted photographs of chickens standing at the outdoor menus, with the comment, “I guess they are protesting at the Bojangles’ in Ridgeway!!! I needed this laugh!! They were loud too!!!”
Her post drew dozens of comments, including “If they knew better they’d get away,” from Paula Aiken; “Oh my!” from Salina Hairston; “Lord they better run, do they know where they at,” by Rona Renee Moore; “I saw him there a few weeks ago. I see they’re still at it,” from Delana Boyd; and “Awesome – need that laugh,” from Carolyn Martin.
“When I saw them at first, I couldn’t believe that there were chickens there,” Law said Tuesday morning. “Since I made that post, a lot of people are saying they are there all the time.
“It was a joy to see them. It did make my day. It was a positive experience.”
To get to Bojangles’, the chickens cross the parking lot and back yard of the Ridgeway Branch of American National Bank. They live behind Gerald Easton’s lawn-mower repair shop next to the bank.
Easton said he has had the birds for about four months. He started out with three hens but, unfortunately, he added, “The Dominicker got gone.”
That was the one the restaurant staff called “Clucky.” Early on, Easton got a white rooster, who now looks after the two remaining hens, a black one and a red one.
They all have made their nests behind his shop. “I’ve been aiming to build them a chicken coop but ain’t had the time,” he said. “They find their own nests and lay eggs.”
They tend to lay two eggs a day in whatever current nest they’ve chosen to use. After about a month with one nest, they abandon it and choose another site, and it usually takes a few days to find it, he said.
He said he enjoys having the chickens, from hearing the rooster crow all day long to hunting for their eggs to seeing how they act.
He also said he has gotten a kick out of their popularity at Bojangles’. People talk about his chickens all the time, he said, always cheerful about it and often with jokes.
“A lot of people go up to Bojangles’ and say, ‘I want that one right there,’” pointing to one of the chickens, he laughed.
“The rooster has pecked on the door. Everybody laughs and says, ‘He wants to commit suicide,” Easton said.
Having the chickens visit every morning is “very cute, because we sell fresh, not frozen,” Chase said.
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.