Fitzgerald, Georgia is a small town like any other. You’ll find this southern gem just 25 miles northeast of Tifton in south-central Georgia. Fitzgerald is the county seat of Ben Hill. The town, which was founded in 1896 by a land corporation under the leadership of Philander H. Fitzgerald, is known best as a site of peace between Civil War veterans.
Nowadays, this place is known for something else! Several states hold world records for having the biggest something or another. Minnesota has the largest ball of twine and Illinois has the world’s largest rocking chair.
Georgia is home to the world’s largest chicken! Yes, you read that right. This isn’t just any ordinary fowl. When Jim Puckett began constructing what he claims will be the tallest topiary in the world, he was hoping to make his town stand out. But his fantasy tourist attraction lost him his position as mayor, and now a massive chicken made of steel towers over Fitzgerald, Georgia.
When Puckett campaigned for re-election in late 2021, he suffered a humiliating loss at the polls with 95% of voters rejecting him. The topiary chicken is planned to be a bed and breakfast. It was a well-known political issue and has so far lost his administration $291,000.
The building of the 63 feet tall topiary chicken has been temporarily halted until Mayor-elect Jason Holt takes office. Puckett wanted to see the project finished by the time he was out of office in January of 2022.
The former mayor says that every time it hits a national article or interview, he gets calls from people saying they’ve got their credit cards in their hands. These people are ready to book that chicken right now. They want to come to Fitzgerald.
Why a Giant Chicken?
Fitzgerald is home to many Burmese chickens that roam the streets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture used these wild Burmese chickens in an experiment at Tifton, Georgia, which is only 30 minutes away. We don’t know all the specifics of what transpired, but Fitzgerald is now overrun with the wild Burmese chickens that were released there.
Burmese chickens are exotic, lovely, and more athletic than typical chickens. One authority on poultry claims that when confronted with conflict, Burmese chickens will disperse and plan their strategies whereas other breeds charge headlong into the conflict.
The people of Fitzgerald have mixed feelings about these untamed birds. Some people feed them frequently with seed while others use a rake and a few strong words to drive them out of their lawns and gardens.
Burmese chickens are a recurring element of the Fitzgerald scene, whether they are adored or despised. They cause minor traffic issues, get you up early in the morning, and some people even say they keep the pests away.
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