Roswell's ‘Chicken Man' suspects birds were poisoned

Someone broke into Andrew Wordes' home last Thursday night.

The next day, "Everything I own started dying," he said.

Wordes, famed as Roswell's chicken man for his battle to keep livestock on his property, said he has lost more than one-third of his 160 chickens and turkeys.

"They've been poisoned," Wordes said.

Roswell Police were summoned to his residence on Alpine Drive Friday after Wordes discovered someone had entered his basement and released all his baby chicks into his backyard. Wordes had been out Thursday night and police suspected the burglary had occurred then.

Police returned to the home Monday after Wordes notified them he suspected someone had poisoned the birds. Officers advised Wordes to order a necropsy for the birds to check for toxins.

Though he has yet to order the test, he denied some online reports he is refusing police assistance.

"I've been in touch with the detectives," he said. "I've been in touch with the mayor. I've been in touch with my state senator. There's no question I'm asking for help."

He's got one sympathetic ear for sure.

"Some of them were turkeys and some of them were mine," said Mayor Jere Wood. "You're upset to hear these things."

Wood said he has contacted state authorities to arrange for a necropsy on the birds.

Wordes is a well-known figure among Roswell residents. He gained fame in 2009 when the city cited him for raising poultry in his backyard. Wordes took to the streets, handing out 500  chicks to promote his cause. Supporters wore yellow T-shirts and "I Love Chickens" buttons to his court appearance. His fight drew the attention of former Gov. Roy Barnes who represented him and persuaded the judge to throw out the city chicken ordinance.

Since then, Wordes' life has been a scrapbook of scrapes with the law: repeated citations for code violations, nuisance complaints and traffic tickets.

His property is posted with signs declaring "Trespassers will be construed as a bodily threat," and he's sure no one would have entered his home without knowing he was away. He blames that partly on the fact he had posted on Facebook an invitation asking others to join him at a rally for presidential hopeful Herman Cain Thursday night.

"I haven't slept in five days," Wordes said. "This is atrocious. It's an assault on me."