Apple has deliberately depreciated static linking of user executables on Mac OS X. Any time you try to link statically with Apple's ld, if a dynamic library of the same name is available, it grabs that instead. Not sure if the Autoconf build is affected by this, but the CMake build is. We worked around it by disabling the building and installation of static executables. The static libraries are built and installed, but a user has to pass some weird flags manually to ld to make use of them. Otherwise, since both the static and dynamic libraries have the same name and are in the same directory, the dynamic library will be picked up, rendering the results quite useless and broken.
We could rename the static libraries on Mac OS X to things like libchicken-s.a. This would make it easy for users to avoid the ld behavior, as static and dynamic libs would have different names. Do Mac OS X users think this is worth doing?