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BarB Dreamhouse

Laura Beil

Tri-City Tales Issue No. 18

In March of 2023, the Tri-City Animal Shelter got a call about a stray chicken in Duncanville. The young bird was spotted roaming, appropriately enough, on Oriole Street. When animal control officers picked her up, they noticed how remarkably congenial she was. Not only did she let everyone handle her without objection, she seemed to crave human companionship. Like a dog. With feathers.

She remained in a cage in the hallway at the animal shelter for more than week while staff tried to locate her owners. No one came to claim her. They couldn’t determine why she had -- forgive us for this one-- flown the coop. As it happened, her stay at the shelter overlapped with the Friends of Tri-City’s annual Cats, Coffee, Dogs and Donuts event. Attendees started lining up for a spring photo op with the resident chicken. (Including Cedar Hill council member Chad McCurdy, in the photo below.)

When it became clear that her owner would not be found, shelter director Tammy Miller took the chicken home. Her husband jokingly named her Barbeque Chicken, which Miller shortened to Bar-B because the only way she would ever make it to the dinner table was with her own chair, plate and napkin. BarB gradually settled into her new digs, a roomy outdoor enclosure complete with a heated foot warmer on her perch. Not that she’s there much.

During the day, BarB scampers in and out of the dog door, sometimes hanging out in the barn, other times coming in to sit with the family and watch television. She rides on top of the dog, and bosses the cats. When Miller arrives home from work, BarB runs out to greet her (see video). “We have to get onto her so she doesn’t get in a car,” Miller says. She’s so friendly with strangers, Miller worries that she is going to jump into an Amazon delivery van one day and ride off. That said, Miller cautions that BarB’s easy-going nature is highly unusual.

Every year, in the months after Easter, the shelter takes in the chicks and bunnies that looked so adorable in Easter baskets, but grew into adult animals that need food and clean cages. (Stuffed animals are just as cute, and much easier to care for.) BarB was in such demand for spring pictures, she will be making a return to the photo booth for this year’s Cats, Coffee, Dogs and Donuts on April 20. But this time, BarB has something new: a home to go back to.  

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