Chicken Nation


“People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Two hundred and forty million pounds of chicken are produced in Nicaragua. Children as young as four years, are taught to pluck chickens with their mothers and siblings. In their teens, they display their machismo by chopping the head off the chicken with a sharp machete. Nicaragua is, indeed, known as Chicken Nation.

The symphony of roosters crowing awaken us at dawn. Hens descend from their mango tree perches at the first ray of light. Their little social flock forages through my neatly raked pile of mangoes, pecking and clawing the mangoes to shreds. They gaggle, cluck, and peck their way through our lives on the island. We are always surrounded by chickens.

Can you find the eggs?

One or maybe several hens laid eggs in a nest of barbed wire. Clever! The other day, I found a single egg that had been laid behind my broom on the porch. That’s what I call ‘giving back’.

The King of Chicken

Juan, pictured above, is the king of chicken in Nicaragua. Some say that he is the largest cock of the trade. Respected by some and despised by many, he reportedly sells six thousand pounds of imported U.S. chicken on “bad days.”

In my opinion, U.S. chicken cannot compare with Nicaraguan chicken. It is juicy, tender, and tasty. However, Juan doesn’t agree. Strictly a business man, he juggles supply and demand like a pro, driving down the cost of all chicken sold in Nicaragua. Only time will tell if the chicken controversy pecks holes in the business confidence. As the Nicaraguan’s say, “Renounce a friend who covers you with his wings, and destroys you with his beak.”

In Nicaragua, chicken is king! Daily life revolves around chicken. They gather eggs like an Easter egg hunt, hack off heads with sharp machetes, and pluck feathers as rapidly as a speeding bullet. There are chicken buses, chicken kings, cock fights, and cock mafia. Now, you have a little better understanding why Nicaragua is a chicken nation.