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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > NovDec 2018 > The Florida Fowls of Ybor

The Florida Fowls of Ybor

Ybor hosts an eclectic history, including a wild chicken population that still survives and thrives today, thanks to its poultry-loving community.

Ybor City is a historic neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. If I want to entertain out-of-town guests, I take them to Ybor (pronounced EE-bore). With nightly drag shows, platesmashing Greek restaurants, pirate parades and Cuban cigars, Ybor is sure to please many. Another thing that makes this industrialized and entertainment city special is its famous flock of fowl.

From Cigars to Chickens

Vicente Martinez-Ybor, a Cuban exile and prominent cigar-maker living in Key West, founded the city in 1886. He opened its first cigar factory. The area attracted immigrant workers and quickly became known for its cigars, producing half a million a month. According to local historians and tour guides, when the workers relocated from the Florida Keys to Ybor, so did their chickens.

“They weren’t always roaming the streets, though,” says Dylan Breese, founder of the Ybor Chickens Society ( “When vacant homes started to be razed for development, the chickens that had been happy living in the backyards were forced out and found ways to adapt and survive in the streets.”

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November/December 2018