The Brac’s fowl problem

After being away from Cayman Brac for the last 20 years, I finally made it back to my beloved paradise in the sea only to be appalled at the number of “wild,” or “feral” as they are called, chickens.

Not only have the number of hens along with their babies overtaken what was once a beautiful landscape filled with lush vegetation and flowering plants, now there is an abundance of crowing roosters and “fowl” smelling feces at every turn.

Now I am quite accustomed to ranchland back in the U.S., but the unattended chicken population here has just gotten completely out of hand. Even the parking lots of local stores are overrun by these pests, with the ability to pull into a parking spot almost impossible due to the shear number of these nasty fowl being in the way.

In addition, not only are they a nuisance, they are also a hazard to drivers by constantly being in the crossroads and at every turn. On top of that, I am constantly finding abandoned eggs in places I had no idea chickens could even reach, including inside a boat on a trailer, in grape trees, cisterns, etc., and even stealing our dog’s food right out of the bowl.

Everyone is surely aware of the many diseases associated with birds, especially unsanitary habitats, but no one knows how to get a handle on it. Not only are we concerned with the massive mosquito problem here, but we’re also facing a losing battle with the birds … which are not native to this area I might add.

Some point out that the “new local inhabitants” are helping to keep the chicken population under control, but that is additionally worrisome to think that they are serving these nasty creatures to us on a plate without any type of regulation or health concerns beings addressed. Free range is one thing, but this has gotten to the point of disease-ridden varmints taking over the island.

To top it all off, the roosters seem to be so defective they have no sense of an inner “alarm clock” by which they crow. Not only do the roosters and hens cackle and crow at all hours of the day, they don’t seem to know when to stop. Is there ever going to be any hope in getting rid of these smelly beasts, or will the island be overrun and neglected in this aspect, too?

Danna Kuerz