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The Battle of ChickenMaga -- Surgoinsville 2023

Updated: May 8

The Battle of ChickenMaga started with a skirmish in early spring of the year 2023, when a small band of chickens raided a neighbor’s yard in the City of Surgoinsville, Tennessee.

No shots were fired, but said neighbor called the Law seeking due punishment of the Invading Horde and their Master (that’s right, forced servitude still exists for the chicken species).

Due to the severity of charges for an unprovoked incursion, the matter naturally was brought to the attention of the Surgoinsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen. This clearly being a very complex moral and legal matter, the Board naturally sought advice from legal Counsel on retainer to the City.

Accordingly, some billable hours later, Counsel delivered a comprehensive Draft Chicken Ordinance to the Board, which set out, among other minutia: limits on numbers of chickens to be allowed on various size properties; required dimensions and other construction details for chicken enclosures; inspection requirements; annual chicken license fees; and noncompliance penalties.

The Board passed the Draft Chicken Ordinance unanimously on first reading. Chicken People are generally an east-going, mind-your-own business sort. But as word of the Ordinance seeped out, Chicken Peoples’ hackles began arisin’.

Chicken People expressed their concerns and were assured by the Board that the Ordinance was deader than a proverbial doornail. Nevertheless, the matter lingered for weeks on the Board’s agenda with no clear direction.

Battle lines were drawn. To the Chicken People, it was a matter of their right to produce food for themselves and their families on their property. To the Board it was their right, if not duty, to regulate.

About fifty Chicken People showed up for a Board meeting on April 10, filling every seat, packing the remaining standing space, and overflowing into the hallway. The Chicken People agreed that it was the responsibility of Owners to prevent their fowl from trespassing on neighbor’s property. But as there is already a state law pertaining to trespass by farm animals, they argued additional city ordinances were superfluous.

Further, the Chicken People vowed to work with city police to assist in resolving chicken disputes, hand-in-hand like good neighbors. (The dispute that started this whole fandango was resolved early on by helpful neighbors providing a coop to the offending Owner to keep her chickens from wandering).

Ultimately, the Board relented and a resolution was proposed to drop the issue for good and to use the state law to bring charges if or when required. That resolution was approved unanimously by the Board.

In the end, no blood was shed and everyone seemed satisfied with the agreement. So, the “battle” was essentially a spirited--but polite--discussion, and the sides were not that far apart. All lived to spar another day. Kudos to the Chicken People and the Board.

Please forgive your author for the disrespectful word play on the terrible 1863 Battle of Chickamauga, Tennessee, in which thousands of Southern men and boys were slaughtered defending their homeland from Northern aggressors on their scorched earth march to Atlanta and Savannah. May they all rest in peace and may this country never face such circumstances again.

As for concatenating MAGA and CHICKEN, your author seeks no such forgiveness. We believe the above story to be illustrative of what we can all do to Make America Great Again. Diligent exercise our civic duty as We the People to speak out and engage with our elected servants can put us back on a track our forefathers intended.

For readers in Hawkins County, Tennessee interested in exercising their civic duties, please contact Grass Roots Patriots at For those in other counties or states, we’d be happy to help you organize local chapters. God bless America.

Jack Parker

Published in The Rogersville Review - Apr 23, 2023

Jack Parker is a retired professor recovering from academia on a small farm in rural East Tennessee.

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