Key West Chickens

A family of chickens wondering around downtown Key West.
A family of chickens wondering around downtown Key West.

If you have visited Key West chances are you have seen many a chicken wandering around. There are literally thousands of colorful, feral chickens inhabiting the island. To some people, these chickens add color to the already colorful Key West. But to others, these creatures are a nuisance, dirtying our streets and creating a bunch of unnecessary noise. My personal feeling fall somewhere in-between.

Whether you like them or not, chickens have called Key West home for about 200 years. Early settlers brought chickens with them as a food source.  They were also used as a source of entertainment; cockfighting has thankfully been outlawed. Through the years these chickens were set free and multiplied into the nearly obscene numbers we have today.

Due to multiple complaints to city officials regarding the chickens, the City of Key West hired a “chicken catcher” to round up the chickens and send them off to a nice free range farm up north. But that did not pan out too well for a multitude of reasons, and the city soon dropped the contract. However, it did invest money to the tune of about $45,000 per year into the Key West Wildlife Center which provides rescue, medical care, and adoption services for the island’s feral chickens.

A colorful Key West chicken.
A colorful Key West chicken.

For those residents and local businesses that are chicken proponents, you may find chickens on their property. For instance, Blue Heaven is a famed restaurant on Petronia Street known partially for the many chickens that live on the grounds and join diners as they eat. But for the chicken detractors the Key West Wildlife Center will lend out humane chicken traps for a refundable security deposit of $100.00 to trap chickens on their own property and then bring the chickens to the center in a timely manner.

Even with the Wildlife Center’s efforts, for better or for worse it looks like the island will always have chickens roaming free.

 For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site. To see what is happening on Key West during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events.

And before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn
Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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