You know you’re in Key West when…

…you come back from sightseeing and there’s a rooster perched on the roof of your car.

Key West Chickens

“Gypsy chickens” have the run of the island, roaming streets and sidewalks, appearing in restaurant courtyards, nesting in trees, and making it completely unnecessary for an alarm clock. They’re said to be the descendants of birds brought to the island from Cuba for cock fighting before the barbaric pastime was made illegal.

The gypsy chickens have caused rifts among residents, with some thinking they’re a nuisance and others wanting to protect them. We’re rooting for the chickens, who so far are winning the war. They’re protected by law. Harass the feathered locals, and you’ll pay a steep price: a $500 fine.

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