Wild Chickens In Hawaii?

Rowan Bean, Journalist

Chickens: roosters, hen, chicks. They are everywhere. From outside your bedroom window to the beaches of Lumahai to the parking lot of the ABC store. In Kauai, the chickens have gone wild!

So the infamous question, where did they all come from? Well the local rumor is, the hurricanes in 1982 and 1992 destroyed domestic coops, releasing the chickens into the jungles. These domesticated birds then mated with the wild red junglefowl (brought to the islands by the Polynesian) resulting in the feral chickens we see today.

Having no natural predators, these chickens are populating at an alarming rate. And while tourists visually find them amusing and love to lure them closer with food for the perfect photo, they can be a nuisance both audibly and physically. 

It is unclear as to what their effect is on the ecosystem. “Before deciding how important it is to conserve them, manage them, or cull them, it would be good to at least know about their impact,” says Eben Gering, an ecologist. 

Most residents think it’s ‘no big deal’ that their running around, wild, but some local farmers feel differently. They find that the rooting and scratching of the chickens kills their trees and wreaks havoc on their gardens. 

But regardless, they are there to stay and have become a part of the island culture. And just like the chickens have, the people of Kauai must adapt to the lovely little birds that roam the island.