Watch the video and you'll notice a preponderance of roosters. In fact, these feral birds look like game fowl, suggesting that this population might not be derived from escaped female pets that were acquired for egg production, but rather a population of chickens managed for the production of aggressive males.
Though it is thought that these birds have been in Key West for over 175 years, their numbers certainly grew in the 1950s, when thousands of Cubans fled the Revolution and came to Key West to support a booming cigar industry. These Cubans brought their chickens with them. The birds were used for meat and eggs, but the roosters were especially prized for their beauty and prowess for cockfighting.
Why might that be? Because illegality and the threat of fines creates a strong disincentive for being responsible or claiming ownership. “Oh, THOSE chickens. Never saw them before. No idea who they might belong to.”
CLUCK is not in a position to offer a reward, but we can lay down a challenge: Bring us evidence of a community with a feral chicken problem that resulted from people being allowed to keep only hens.
We're hypothesizing that feral chicken populations result from one of two situations:
1) Communities where all chickens were illegal and the laws were not enforced, and
2) Communities where both hens and roosters were allowed.