KEY WEST — From Key West to Kentucky Fried Chicken? Well maybe not, but some could end up on the dinner table before too long.
The city commission agreed Tuesday night to begin negotiations with a local chicken catcher to cut down the population of roosters and hens in town.
Longtime resident Armando Para Sr., who owns Conch Town Barber Shop, is proposing to catch the chickens, which will then be taken to a farm outside of Tampa. Para will charge the city $20,000 for his services, City Manager Julio Avael said.
Para is a longtime island resident who has worked with chickens his entire life, City Commissioner Harry Bethel said, although he did not elaborate on the type of chicken business Para’s family had run.
Commissioners were firm on not taking away all the chickens, saying that they are a part of the town’s character and a draw for tourists. It is unclear how many birds will be spared or how the others will be caught.
The island was once home to prize-fighting cocks and their trainers. These days, the chickens have a memorabilia store dedicated to them and chicken paraphernalia can be bought in many Duval Street shops. They made CNN news last weekend following reports that the commission was considering removing chickens from city streets.
“Our goal is not to rid the island of chickens. They are part of our island charm,” Commissioner Carmen Turner said. “Too much of a good thing has become too much.”
Now if they could only do the same thing for the vomiting frat boys during Spring Break in March.