When you think of what you can see on a Key West vacation, you probably think of glowing neon signs on Duval Street, sandy beaches, and the Southernmost Point buoy. However, this island is home to even more unique sights and residents. Chances are you’ve heard of the Hemingway cats, but have you heard of the Key West roosters and chickens? It’s common to stumble upon these animals when exploring activities and attractions near NYAH, Not Your Average Hotel. Keep reading to learn more about these feathered residents.
How Did They Arrive in Key West?
No one really knows how chickens got to Key West. There are several theories. One is that Cuban immigrants brought chickens with them in the 1800s. Another theory is that Spanish explorers introduced them to Key West in the 16th century. While there is no official cause, the chickens and roosters adapted to their new environment.
Are You Allowed to Feed Them?
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to feed the roaming chickens and roosters. Due to a spike in their population, the Key West City Commission banned feeding these wild animals in 2021. If you are caught feeding them, even tossing scraps, you face serious fines. While you can’t feed them, no trip to Key West is complete without trying to get a picture of these wandering creatures.
Are Chickens Ever Removed from the Island?
At one point, someone was hired to help reduce the number of chickens on the island, but the Chicken Catcher quit less than a year into the job. However, the Key West Wildlife Center took over providing rescue, medical care, and adoption services to the feral animals. This organization works to rehabilitate sick or injured chickens and then relocate them to one of the properties they partner with.
Explore the Sights around NYAH
After checking into your spacious accommodation at NYAH, set off to see what adventures you can find. Be sure to keep your eyes open, as you might just stumble upon some of the roosters and chickens that call Key West home. Share your photos with us using #IShareAtNYAH!
When you’re finished exploring for the day, relax by one of our three pools or soak in the jacuzzi. If your group would rather enjoy a quiet night in, your private room is the perfect place to play some games or curl up with a good book. Browse our different accommodation options and special offers before reserving your stay online.