Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Tale of Two Roosters


These two magnificent roosters, a breed apart from the Gypsy roosters of Key West, have been given residence at Bahama Market by their owner -- not that roosters really ever have an owner -- who was besieged by neighbors complaints of their loud and constant crowing.

Richard raised these two from chicks, hand feeding them and protecting them from their natural predators, cats, hawks and meanie boys. He comes by frequently with food for them. Other than that, they're pretty much on their own. Their was already a chicken family living here when they arrived, a much smaller black gypsy rooster, his hen, and their chicks, and another young rooster who might be a brother to papa rooster and thus an uncle to the chicks. The gypsies were all pretty happy here until the two big newcomers moved in. Papa Gypsy challenged the larger of the two white cocks almost immediately, and was able to run him off up Whitehead Street towards the Hemingway House for a little while. He's back now, and he and his brother seem to have settled in under the Pass The Hat stage in the courtyard in the back. A wary truce now reigns between the breeds.

The real peril for these two is likely to come from the meanie boys, neighborhood youngsters who capture unwary fowl and either sell them to adult cock-fighting rings, or match them up themselves against other fighting cocks in town. It's a time-honored tradition in Key West, one carried on by generations of kids who came before these and did the same. That doesn't make it right, but some parents condone it because they did the same when they were their sons' ages.

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