What Is “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken”?

“My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken” is a short story written by Alejandro R. Roces, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated writers of short stories and essays. The story is popular in short story anthologies. It was listed as one of Martha Foley’s Best American Stories in 1958 and 1961.

“My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken” deals with cockfighting. One brother, Kiko, has a chicken that he believes is a hen; however his brother, the story’s narrator, thinks it is a rooster. They ask their parents, the head of the town and the smartest man in town, Mr. Cruz, and no one can agree. Mr. Cruz tells Kiko to have the chicken fight a rooster and if the chicken wins, then Kiko must agree it’s a rooster. Kiko’s chicken wins, but surprisingly lays an egg at the very end, proving that Kiko was originally correct.

In 2007, a variation of the story was turned into a musical called “Something To Crow About,” and had its American premiere at La Mama Theater in New York City. The musical is based on the book of the same name, which included the story “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken.”

Roces, who was influential in the Philippines independence movement during World War II, was named the National Artist of the Philippines in 2003. He served as the Secretary of Education in the Philippines from 1961 to 1965. He passed away in 2011.