Ceres police spent several hours chasing chickens on Crows Landing Road early Thursday after a tractor-trailer hauling the birds crashed into a fence, dislodging their cages.
Sgt. Danny Vierra said the truck, from Fresno-based Zacky Farms, was traveling north on Crows Landing Road near Cornucopia Way about 5:30 a.m. when for unknown reasons the driver started to veer to the right.
He sideswiped a diesel truck that was on the shoulder with a flat tire, and continued for about 20 feet before leaving the road and crashing into a metal gate near the Stanislaus County Animal Service Agency.
Vierra said 300 to 400 chickens escaped their cages. About a quarter of them died in the wreck, but the driver of the big rig was not injured.
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Ceres police, periodically assisted by the city's street crew, code enforcement, animal control and others, spent two hours gathering the chickens. A homeless man on his bicycle even stopped at one point and used his coat to collect a few.
Despite the jolt from the collision, the chickens for the most part continued to roost while it was still dark, making it easier to collect them, but had to be chased come sunrise.
One northbound lane of Crows Landing was closed while officers herded the chickens.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.,/b>