We just arrived home last night from our trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As we set off last Friday evening, I said to my husband that I hoped to see some chickens on our adventures. I thought for certain that we would discover at least one chicken hiding in a backyard. I doubted that I would come across chickens in such a secluded place. I could not have been more wrong.
In addition to having mongoose, wild donkeys, lizards galore and a plethora of hermit crabs, the island was inundated with feral chickens. I could not believe my eyes when I arrived at St. Johns and saw chicken roaming the streets. Skittish of humans and the like, the chickens roam freely. Everywhere I blinked there was another chicken.
Streets of St. Thomas
Baby pullet at a local restaurant looking for her Mama
Pretty girl in the grass
The chickens appear to small bantams mostly. There are plenty of roosters too. It was not uncommon to see a rooster with a few henny girls by his side. I even saw a few roosters living together forming larger flocks of about 20 chickens. My husband chuckled at one point, and thought that I had died and gone to chicken heaven!
Chickens at the Westin
Rooster foraging for scraps
I was able to capture some photos of the chickens from the two islands that we visited, St. Johns and St. Thomas. Many of them forage for food scraps and through open roll off containers that hold the garbage of the island’s residents.
Mama hen and chicks foraging near dumpster
Seeing the chickens was a little bittersweet for me. I was happy that there were so many, but I was also saddened by the fact that they were fearful of humans, foraging for their food and were seen as a nuisance by the locals. If only the locals could begin to keep some of these chickens in their backyard and enjoy their eggs.
Heading into the underbrush
The most amazing thing though was when I recognized the chicken alarm. I have heard it too many times at home to not recognize when the flock is in danger. At home, I always investigate when I hear it. I get a burst of mommy adrenaline and fly out to see what the flock fears. Typically, it is a large bird or a chipmunk foraging near the run. One unassuming day, I heard one of the island’s chickens sound the alarm in the distance. I was taken by surprise when I got a burst of mommy adrenaline. Yet, there was nothing I could do. No one to protect. No one to rescue. It made me realize how much the chickens truly are part of our family. Instinctually, I was ready to spring into action.