Friday, February 15, 2013


It is common knowledge that there are chickens everywhere in Key West, at least it was for everyone but me. The Gypsy chickens, as they are called by locals, are everywhere. They roam the streets, parking lots, yards and parks. You can find paintings, statues, postcards, jewelry, and sculptures of ... chickens. Some residents embrace the almost-pet chicken residents, while others would rather them disappear, but they are protected by law.

In the late 1860's, Key West's Cuban population began to grow, and by 1890, they comprised over half the population. They brought their love of cockfighting, and their chickens with them. This variety was bred for size and aggressiveness, and was named Cubalaya. Cockfighting was a popular business, but in the 1970's, here in Key West, it was outlawed and put many Cubalaya out of business and on the street. About that time, many domestic hens were put out on the streets when their owner moved away and released the hens to roam the streets. Boy meets girl, and you know the rest.

If the population of Gypsy chickens has not decreased, there has to be baby chicks, but I have yet to see one. I have seen pictures of these mystery baby chicks, and heard they roam the streets trailing behind their mothers, but I have not witnessed this myself. Are they hiding from me?  This is my quest: to find the babies.

A little chick was spotted peeking out from under it's mother's wing, as I took my walk today. When she stood up, 5 little chicks came scurrying out from the safety of her wings. FINALLY, I see the little chicks.

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