Ybor Chicken Society president upholds 130-year tradition

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The Bay Area's known for warm weather, beautiful beaches, and chickens? Tucked away in Ybor City is a park where poultry is on parade.

Protected by a Tampa city ordinance, Ybor's chickens have free range to roam the streets but they've mostly made their home in Centennial Park.

Dylan Breese is president of the Ybor Chicken Society and caretaker of a clan of cluckers who can trace their heritage all the way back to city's first residents.

"The people who came to Ybor about 130 years ago brought chickens for food, for entertainment, and as pets. They've been here ever since," Breese explained to us.

Started back in February, the society acts as a buffer between the birds and business owners by cleaning up feces and leading them away before the park's weekly Saturday morning market.

"Some business owners have a concern about the mess that the chickens make. They do kick up a lot of mulch and a lot of landscaping so the need is there to help them out and promote harmony between them and the chickens," Dylan told us.

McKenzie Oison works at The Bunker Cafe, just a stone's throw away from where the chickens roost. She's also a supporter of the Chicken Society.

"It kind of all started when we found a litlle chicken who had a broken leg and he kind of took it upon himself to take the little chicken and fix her leg.That was Coffee Bean, our sort of mascot for a little while."

Also, each day Dylan ensures none of his feathered friends go hungry.

"I stop by here and make sure that they get some breakfast, make sure that they have a little bit of corn before bed and that they get to bed safely," Breese told us.

For Dylan these aren't just chickens, they're a part of Tampa's historic past.

"They are an important part of Ybor's history because they are one of the lasting legacies from when this whole thing began."

For more information about the Ybor Chicken Society, visit https://www.yborchickens.org/