Monday, May 11, 2015

Roosters of Key West

Key West has a lot of Chickens. Estimates are that over 2000 birds live on the 2x4 mile island. Locals are divided on the chicken issue- they add a lot of charm and character, but they are undeniably annoying at times. Regardless of what they think, there's not a lot that people can do about the chickens- they're currently a protected species. It is illegal to 'harm or harass' a chicken in Key West. Why are there so many roosters, and what type are they? Well, it seems likely that most of the roosters are the result of people releasing their chickens once cockfighting was outlawed. The sport used to be a big deal, especially in Cuba, and before the cold war, there was a major chicken trade. This means these chickens are probably mostly 'American Game' or 'Cubalaya' birds, but intermixed with other breeds that people had originally brought to the islands for food and eggs. They've interbred and have been feralized, to the point where it would be fair to just call them the Key West breed. Some have suggested the name Key West Gypsy Chicken, which is what I think I'll go with. Let's take a look at some specimens.

Feels unconnected to his past and his people's suffering. Not sure what to do with conflicted feelings about his privilege.

Gets asked for advice by younger chickens in the community. Often recommends folk remedies.

Pursuing a modeling/acting career. Big fish in a small pond.

Tough as nails. Doesn't mess around when it comes to her kids. The kids are cute, but a little rambunctious. You admire her pugnaciousness, but are not sure what message it's sending to the chicks about how to solve their own problems later in life.

Key West Gypsy Chicken
Key West, Florida, USA
April 2015
Member of the Junglefowl Family
§A Peep of Chicks§

~true bird fact~ They say Key West has fewer cockroaches than many other tropical destinations because these chickens keep the numbers down. I did not see any while I was there, so I have to assume it was due to the chickens.

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