Monday, November 29, 2004

The Chicken Boys


Citizen's Voice of the Day

""On Thanksgiving, I would like to thank the chicken god for the beautiful chickens of Key West, which have changed my life forever.""



Diane, at the Coffee Plantation, called my attention to a group of young, black kids chasing down roosters and hens in the Bahama Market yesterday. She has tried to prevent these kids from netting chickens suspecting, as I do, that they are being supplied to adults who are interested in training the cocks to fight. The kids are pretty bold, and Diane says that they got in her face when she tried stopping them beofre, and told her that there isn't anything she could do to stop them. They might be right. I called the Chicken Lady to ask if there was something we ought to do, but she said that the kids are pretty much immune from interference unless they can be accused of trespassing on private property to catch the chickens. The only advice she could offer was to try to get pictures of the chicken-catchers -- the Chicken Boys, they are called. They apparently will scatter to avoid being photographed or video-ed at work.

There are, in fact, many free-range chickens in Key West. They stroll where and when they please. Mother hens lead their current brood of chicks around, frequently "crossing the road", and bring traffic to a standstill for a moment. Some residents like the chickens. We do. Others do not. One hears complaints frequently about roosters crowing outside a window at 2, 3, and 4 o'clock in the morning.

I don't know what the Citizens' Voice caller meant by the chickens changing his or her life. Nothing so dramatic has happened to me since my association with the Chicken Lady and her Chicken Store, but I have gained a new appreciation for chickens and those who care about them.

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