I live on Grand Cayman where seeing chickens wander is as common as seeing squirrels hunting for nuts on a fall day in New England, if not more so. It is not uncommon to see them wandering around in grocery store parking lots, restaurant grounds or though the streets of Georgetown. Tourists find them to be quite the spectacle, especially the mama with crew of chicks running behind her or all tucked in and hidden under her wings.
I was riding on the bus through town yesterday looking out my window at life passing by. I noticed a chicken sitting on the white railing that wraps around the long-standing post office in the center of town. It was a cock, poor thing, his feathers were ruffled, the red comb on the top of his head that normally stands up pretty and straight is bent. Half of his tail feathers are gone, his hackle is not glistening nor is it as full and fine as it can be. The boy looked rough.
It was what I refer to as roosting time, between 5 and 6. A time when the cocks coc-a-doodle doo to tell the girls its bedtime and encourage them to roost as well for their safety. Most chickens here roost in trees and bushes or pens if owned by one of us. I could not help but to wonder if this was his chosen spot for the night or had he just stopped to take a rest.
Can you imagine a chicken’s life in the city, a place where he has to dodge cars, people or possibly a stray dog, barely a patch of grass in sight? Thousands of visitors’ dropped off at the port daily to wander through town and shop till they drop. I am sure he has a steady diet of bugs and snacks dropped on the street, though he didn’t seem too plump.
I cannot begin to know what that chicken experiences in a day especially living in the center of town. I wonder how many attempts there have been on his life, whether by car, dog or human? How did he even make it to the post office, crossing the street alone during traffic hour for a human can be deadly, never mind a chicken? Chickens do fly, but not long distances and only when they really have to. It does not seem to be an activity they enjoy.
In that moment, I found pity for that chicken and the life he lives. I put myself in his shoes thinking about the battles he faces everyday. Made my life look like a walk in the park. Thinking about him now wondering if he made it through the night. Wondering if maybe, just maybe he found a better place to roam and even possibly a few chicks to hang out with. Good luck Mr Chicken and thank you for your indirect reflection on life