Reward for Missing Chicken
by Shayne Benowitz
This morning, as I walked outside my front fence to get on my bike and ride to work at Fury Water Adventures, I noticed an unusual sign posted on a utility pole. There was a picture of a chicken with the words, “MISSING!!!” At first I thought, this must be a joke. It’s always sad when you see signs with missing kitties or puppies, but a chicken? What was going on?
I continued reading the sign, and realized it wasn’t a joke. The sign explained that the chicken answered to the name Sketch and a $100 reward was offered with a phone number to call. This chicken was not a pet, but part of an ever present population of chickens and roosters that roam free on the streets of Key West.
It’s just another one of those charmingly quirky things about life on this island. Maybe you’ve heard of Hemingway’s six-toed cats and the abundance of kitties all over the island, well Key West’s chickens are an even stranger phenomenon. Brought over in crates by Cubans years ago, they are now indigenous to Key West and it is not uncommon to wake early in the morning to the sound of “cock-a-doodle-doo.”
The island is divided with half of Key’s residents supportive of these chicks, and another segment that finds them to be a real nuisance. If you’re in Key West, undoubtedly you will come across a rooster or a hen with a family of baby chicks crossing the street or ambling around the sidewalk.
You may even find yourself having dinner alongside them if you’re dining out doors. Blue Heaven restaurant in Bahama Village is famous for this atmosphere, and well worth a trip for the cuisine alone. Once you’re woken up at 5 in the morning after a long night on Duval Street, decide for yourself where you stand on the issue of chickens running wild in Key West!
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.