Kauai’s Wild Chickens: The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Hawaii’s official State bird is the Hawaiian Goose, or Nene, but on Kauai, everyone jokes that the “official” birds of the Garden Island are feral chickens, especially the wild roosters.

Wild Rooster-Kauai's
Wild Rooster-Kauai’s “Official” Bird

Wikepedia says the “mua” or red jungle fowl were brought to Kauai by the Polynesians as a source of food, thriving on an island where they have no real predators. A clerk at the Koke’e Museum in the Waimea Canyon shared her opinion on why there are so many wild chickens on Kauai these days: “Because tourists feed them!” she responded with a laugh.

Most locals agree that wild chickens proliferated after Hurricane Iniki ripped across Kauai in 1992, destroying chicken coops and releasing domesticated hens, and well as roosters being bred for cockfighting. Now these brilliantly feathered fowl inhabit every part of this tropical paradise, crowing at all hours of the day and night to the delight or dismay of tourists and locals alike.

Hen & Chicks, Lihue
Hen & Chicks, Lihue

For the most part, Kauai’s wild chickens add to the rural environment I enjoy.  But I have to admit, I’ve seen
roosters fighting over a dropped piece of pizza at the Costco food court.  I’ve also watched a hungry chicken peck a toddler munching on a cracker at Hideaways Beach and I’ve seen a mother hen rush an unsuspecting tourist to protect her chicks.

Online postings demonstrate the dichotomy of the love-hate relationship visitors and locals have with Kauai’s now famous, or infamous foul, depending on your point of view. The Wild Chicken blog has readers reacting to photos of roosters, hens and baby chicks with descriptions ranging from “beautiful birds” to “god-awful rats with wings.”

So what’s good about Kauai’s wild chickens?

First of all, they eat bugs, lots of bugs, including the mean and nasty Hawaiian centipedes that can give you a painful bite similar to a hornet or wasp sting, only worse.

And let’s be honest, many tourists get a kick out of Kauai’s wild chickens and consider them part of the island’s charm, even if they suffer from crow-induced insomnia.

Shop owners will tell you that kitschy souvenirs such as chicken-themed coffee mugs, T-shirts printed with Kauai’s “official” bird, and stuffed roosters that crow, fly (pun intended) off the shelves, pumping money into the local economy.

I would guess 99.9% of tourists snap at least one photo of a feral rooster, or a wild hen with her brood of baby chicks. I’ve shot hundreds of photos of both, starting with the rooster I followed around the parking lot of the rental car company the first time I visited Kauai.  –I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture the beauty of its multi-colored iridescent feathers.

I’m sure my list of the bad things about wild chickens is incomplete, but here’s what I’ve accumulated so far:

“Cock-A-Doodle-Do” doesn’t begin to describe the cacophony wild roosters can make when they start crowing in the middle of the night. My brother, and his wife, recently visited Kauai to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The first morning following their arrival in paradise, Clark told me how the roosters woke them up around 2 a.m. shrieking what sounded to them like an ode to their home state:

“West Vir-GIN-yah!” “West Vir-GIN-yah!” “West Vir-GIN-yah!” …Ad nauseum…

“Aloha!” I responded. “Welcome to Kauai,” I added with a laugh.

Workers at the Limahuli Garden on Kauai’s north shore are trying to figure out a way to keep wild chickens from destroying their new community vegetable garden. Wire mesh fences don’t work because Kauai’s wild chickens can fly, so they’re experimenting with other humane alternatives. When my family and I volunteered to pull weeds, we noticed gardners had spread a fine mesh net on the ground to discourage fowl foraging, but it didn’t seem to be working…

Pat and John of Princeville (last name omitted by request to avoid any potential PETA protests) admit they trap and kill dozens of wild chickens every year. “Because they’re such a nuisance in the yard,” they explained. “Destroying things, digging up plants and and leaving so many unsanitary droppings,” they added.

The Kauai Humane Society used to loan residents free chicken traps, but the demand got so high, they now refer homeowners to RoosterTraps.com to buy one.  KHS charges $5 for chicken pick-up, or trapped feral fowl can be dropped of at their Lihue facility to be euthanized at no charge.

The parking lot of the Koke’e Museum is nearly overrun with Kauai’s ubiquitous fowl.  A posting on the Koke’e Museum’s website tries to help discourage people from feeding the wild chickens with a list of negative impacts of the growing poultry population.

–The unnaturally large flock is bad for native plants.
–Wild chickens carry diseases that kill native Hawaiian birds.
–They leave unsanitary piles of kukae moa (aka: chicken poop)
–It makes for unsafe driving when visitors brake or swerve to avoid them.

Rooster Roadkill, Hanalei
Rooster Roadkill, Hanalei

I could create an entire album of roadkill roosters to show all the wild chickens who’ve tried to cross the road in Kauai and didn’t make it, creating dangerous driving conditions and sometimes gruesome piles of bloody feathers.  This photo shows one of the more sanitized shots of a dead rooster hit mid-stride on his way to another bug buffet on the opposite side of Kuhio Highway.

Joke of the day:  Why do Kauai chickens cross the road?  Answer:  Because they own it!

Not sure if wild chicken stew belongs under the “good” or “bad” category. The few people I’ve met who admit they eat what some call “native” chicken stew, describe it as a little stringy, but tasty.  Locals might share their wild chicken recipe if asked.  Here’s mine:  Put one wild chicken in a pot of boiling water.  Add spices and a lava rock for flavor.  When the rock is tender, the chicken is done.  Version-2:  Put one wild chicken in a pot of boiling water.  Add spices and a lava rock for flavor.  Simmer for several hours.  Discard chicken.  Eat the rock.  Lol…

The ugly side of Kauai’s chickens is the popularity of cockfighting.

Cockfighting was technically banned by Hawaii’s last monarch, King Kalakaua in 1884, but it continues as a popular underground sport on Kauai and other islands.

(I had a video of an actual cockfight, shot on Molokai, posted here, but YouTube blocked it because it was too graphic.)

As recently as 2010, the Hawaii State Legislature considered a proposal that would have recognized cockfighting as a cultural activity.  The resolution was approved by the House Committee on Tourism, Culture and International Affairs with the help of Kauai Representative, Roland Sagum (D-16th District).  The pro-cockfighting resolution was eventually scuttled by the House Judiciary Committee where I assume the conflict with State and Federal laws was a major point of contention.

Hawaii’s cockfighting laws are already some of the most lenient in the nation:  It’s not a crime to attend a cockfight, and it’s only a misdemeanor to use razor-sharp gaffs and gamble on the outcome of the often deadly and bloody battles.

Just a year before the resolution was considered, Kauai P.D. busted a large cockfight in Kapa’a where they confiscated more than a 100 roosters, 240 gaffs and $70,000 in cash.  15-roosters were already dead when police arrived and another 20 had to be euthanized by the Kauai Humane Society, due to injuries described in the Honolulu Advertiser as “horrible.”

I recently drove the same road where the cockfighting took place, and can tell you there’s a large property with multiple individualized cages where roosters are being raised.  Other than breeding and cockfighting, what would these roosters be used for, eh?

The breeding farm happens to be located next door to a meditation center where I went for a deep-tissue massage.  The massage was physically relaxing, but my mind remained alert because I had to listen to the competitive crowing of dozens of Kauai roosters declaring their dominance.  –Er-Er-Er—Er—ERRRRR!


103 thoughts on “Kauai’s Wild Chickens: The good, the bad, and the ugly!

  1. I lived on Oahu for many years, and have also visited Kauai quite a few times. There are definitely chickens everywhere and they aren’t afraid of anything. Pretty tough and independent. I heard a rumor that—if you try to cook one of these wild chickens in a pot with some rocks, the rocks will get soft and tender before the chicken will. 🙂

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to respond. You’re right, the wild chickens are pretty bold. They’ve not only survived and thrived, they’ve adapted to mankind and have little to no fear.

    2. The best way tof prepare a kuaui chicken is in a PRESSURE COOKER. Place it in there with sone onions, carrots and can of spam. Cook it at pressure for 10 to 15 minutes. The flesh is a bit stringy but it tastes good.

      Pour the cooked chicken and vegetables over some some rice and add a bit of soy sauce. Also, maybe add some flour to the pressure to thicken the stew or a small bit of curry.

      You catch them with a coat hanger. Straighten out the hanger and make a Shepard hook on the end. Lure them in with some food or corn or rice and grab them by the ankle. They very easy to catch with a coat hanger,

      Google “chicken + coat hanger” and look at YouTube. We eat one alm8st every night.

      1. Sounds really good, Hsmmy! My grandmother raised chickens and sold eggs for many years, so we often ate the older hens after they stopped laying. Yes, the meat was a bit stringy but tasted good after she boiled it with onions, carrots and garlic. I love curry, so I will try that next time.

      2. Oh my! I haven’t had spam since I left Hawaii. Actually, it’s quite convenient–easy and good tasting. I haven’t been to Kauai since May 2012 and I really miss it.

      3. People do what they have to do to survive. If it gets down to the level of catching wild chickens and snapping their necks, I”m not going to be all judegy.

        My recommendation, if you can afford it, go the grocery store and buy a farm raised chicken. Neck already broken, feathers already plucked. It’s really convenient.

    3. The chickens hide and get quiet when it rains, so I purchased a super soaker in an effort to imitate nature and encourage them to take their crowing elsewhere. It worked like a charm and it was quite entertaining seeing them run!! I’m limited to the range of the super soaker, but it at least keeps them away from our deck and windows, which is very helpful when trying to sleep.

  2. I am so glad I found your blog and look forward to future entries. I’ve been to Kauai 3 times since May 2012 and love it. My recent trip was from the end of February through mid-March. My husband and I are planning on spending the winters in Kauai but keep our home on an island off the shore of Washington state where we’ll spend the summers. (we are retired) We hope to rent a small, furnished studio or 1 bedroom furnished apartment, preferably on the north shore to avoid Kapa’a traffic! We’d buy an island car and possibly store it for the months we’re off island.
    I fell in love with the little powder blue/grey doves that seem to have no fears. The place certainly is a bird-watcher’s dream!

  3. gang from Princeville … so how do you catch them? No body is going to turn you in. And nobody saw you do it. I already have the information how to kill bufo toads … didn’t know they can kill a small child. Amonia cup on body. I have them in side garage and pile up. That’s a gimmee.

    1. Barbara,
      They put bait in chicken/rooster traps. Ferral chickens go in to eat and can’t get out. Some people kill the wild chickens themselves… Others take them to the Kauai Humane Society where they are euthanized.

  4. My family loves Kauai and we have vacationed there since the 1960’s
    In April 2013, we returned to Poipu for what was to be a perfect vacation.
    We booked a condo at the Prince Kuhio – so delighted to be away from the fray.
    The 1st day we found the roosters in the garden behind the condo mildly entertaining.
    The 2nd day we found them less than entertaining and disruptive at 4 AM, 5 AM, and 6 AM
    By the 3rd day we were “googling” how to get rid of roosters
    The consensus was: The first 200 responses – “Use a shotgun”

    The remainder of our stay was disturbed,and interrupted by the incessant crowing of those horrific birds.

    It will be a long time before I suggested anybody travel to Kauai.

    1. So sorry to hear the roosters wrecked your vacation! Sounds like the management at the Prince Kuhio needs to set a few traps and thin out the poultry population. I can see that Costco has launched a recent crackdown on the feathered fowl. I was eating a slice of pizza at their outside food court this week and was surprised that I only saw a few pigeons scavenging for scraps.

    2. if you don’t like them, you don’t like them. So be it. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of other places to travel. Aloha.

  5. We’ve just been to Maui and Kauai and by day three were wondering what the heck is up with all the chickens! Really enjoyed reading your answer to the question (your blog is the top search result, btw), especially the chicken recipes. 🙂 I lived in Taiwan for a couple years where there were similar soup recipes for the ubiquitous street dogs (as I often reminded the stray pup I scooped up off the streets). Eating a local pest is not a bad way to go, if it can be stomached! Great blog on Kauai – glad to have found it!

    1. The sobering reality is that Kauai imports 90% or more of its food supply, so I’m sure there will come a day when our wild chickens become a desirable delicacy. A major hurricane, tsunami, even a strike by Matson (a recently avoided threat) could disrupt imports, causing the food supply to dry up in what experts estimate would be a mere 3-7 days. A big push is underway to become a self-feeding island by 2020… Perhaps Kauai chicken fricassee should be part of the plan.

      1. I’m a vegetarian and keep 20+ pet chickens for eggs and entertainment and I have to admit eating the feral chickens sounds pretty reasonable to me. They have a better life than the chickens at the grocery store that people are just fine with eating.

      2. Aloha Christina,
        I attended a recent Earth Day event in Hanalei where they rounded up nearly a dozen feral chickens to demonstrate humane slaughtering and butchering techniques.
        Afterward they made some pretty tasty chicken stew.

  6. We are staying at the PK right now, and have been for the last 2 weeks. We have been enamored by the hens with chicks, watching the broody gals gather their babies under their wings, seeing how they establish their pecking order, and watching a particular juvenile rooster find his place with the big boys. Yes, they crow at first light, and again at 7:15 pm, but it doesn’t bother us a bit. We have watched the little tiny babies grow into comical little chicks, quite resilient to the moody scoldings of the hens. One hen has eight chicks, which huddle under her whenever she stops moving. We have even noticed a hen who had five chicks but now only four remain. They are entertaining and, after we go home, I will miss the free morning and afternoon entertainment.

    1. Good, bad, or ugly, wild chickens have become part of the Kauai experience, so I’m glad you were able “go with the flow” and enjoy the loud, but free entertainment.

      Don’t know what happened to the chick by your vacation spot, but I do know I’m responsible for a “fowl death” in Hanalei. I was driving on Aku Road when a momma hen crossed the road with about a dozen little ones following her. The last chick seemed to get confused and ran back into the roadway where it was smashed by the tire of my passing car. I couldn’t see the squished chick, but the horrified look on some vistors’ faces let me know I had become a “chicken killer,” even though there was no premeditation on my part.

      Not sure what a “chicken behavioralist” would say, but I found it odd the hen and other chicks never paused, or looked back, perhaps unaware their family had decreased by one. I’m guessing wild chickens don’t experience emotional loss, rather they operate in “survival of the fittest” mode where cars, dogs, and hungry humans routinely thin out stragglers.

  7. Import a Kauai Fox! A great preditor of roosters everywhere. They love eggs. Will kill roaming herds at night just for the fun of it and provide great sport for hunters on horseback as well as on foot. “AFTER THE FOX”, and the trumpet would sound, dogs would bey and off the elite tourist would ride, jumping everything in their path for a pelt. A rabid fox here and there is much easier to control because they foam at the mouth and stagger sideways when walking. A dart gun filled with sodium something-or-other, could humainly get rid of that threat. Now, you have discovered a new tourist game and a way to thin out, if not destroy, the er=err=err=err=errrrr guys. OR………. sell pillows filled with chicken feathers as a keep-sake for the unsuspecting tourist.

    1. Dave, I’m sure you’re joking when you suggest importing an invasive species like the fox to the Garden Isle. We’ve already seen the native bird population nearly wiped out on other Hawaiian islands thanks to the introduction of the egg-loving mongoose by misguided sugar barons.

      Still, I love your sense of creativity and suggest you come up with a “Rooster Wrangling Round-up” instead. Tourists could win cash prizes for catching the most wild chickens, similar to Florida’s efforts to put the squeeze on their python problem with a month-long snake hunting contest.

  8. Something must be working … We are seeing fewer chickens this year than we have seen for years! We have been coming here annually since 1987 and last year was HORRID!

    1. I’ve noticed the same thing Kate, especially around commercial locations such as the Costco food court where I’ve seen chicken traps being used. On the other hand, I’ve seen an explosion of feral cats in remote locations like the Hanakapiai Trail. Perhaps some of the hungry cats are eating baby chicks? At Hanakapiai Beach, many of the cats have learned to beg, enticing tourists to share their food.

      BTW: Huge difference of opinion on what to do with Kauai’s feral cats. The Kauai County Council backs an effort to trap the cats, neuter them, and return them to the wild. Groups struggling to protect the island’s endangered birds describe the feral cats, neutered or not, are the most destructive predators on the planet.

  9. After 5 nights in Hanelei I googled ‘roosters in Kauai’ to find out more–and found your blog. We are both 60, and although we live in CA, this is our first trip to Hawaii. Expecting peace, birdsong, tropical fruit and sunsets–what everyone raves about–we have found such noise it makes me want to go home to the suburbs where neighbors respect each other and are mindful of not letting dogs bark, etc. We purposely choose to rent a cottage away from big resorts and golf courses, but we are surrounded by hunting dogs that bark all night, and then roosters start in at 4am, but can be heard all day as well. I have never had such terrible sleep! Do other parts of this islannd have the hunting dog problem? I understand that they help control the wild pigs, and chickens kill some insects, but I am beginning to believe there are other reasons for the dog packs— perhaps pig hunting is a sport now? I was told by someone that the hunting dogs is a native tradition– I guess that means to respect it, but from where we are staying, the dogs bark in unison, at least 10 dogs in at leastt 2 locations in this pristine valley! What do residents feel about this? Add the roosters to the noise of the dogs, and it is intrusive, to say the least. Why not trap them all, create an egg farm, but put them in a large hen house, well away from people– even let them be “free-range” but within a farm?

    1. Susan,,
      So sorry to hear about your disrupted sleep during your stay in Hanalei. You’re right, wild pig hunting is a very popular weekend activity on Kauai. I’m sharing second-hand information, but am told that locals like to use packs of dogs to track the pigs and pin them down so they can be killed with a knife. You’re not the only one concerned about barking hunting dogs. Puhi resident, Michelle Williams, started a support group, , for homeowners bothered by the noise. Hunters oppose any rules that would crimp their pig hunting traditions.

      1. Cranky old coot? Not me “Rooster Friend.” I’m one of the people who gets a kick out of Kauai’s feral foul. I’m more irritated by my chain-smoking neighbors.

    2. Ear plugs might help and maybe a noisy fan. Not what you’d expect on a vacation 😦

      If I’m having a nap after my chickens are out for the day I put in earplugs. If I didn’t have earplugs I would probably have given up my vegetarian ways and had rooster stew by now :p

  10. Aloha everyone,
    Yes Roosters crow during early morning times, yes they do dig up vegetation in search of “Bugs, spiders and ground worms etc” but they also do one thing that Kauai really don’t see (besides there poo is a excellent natural fertilizer) is “RAT and MICE” control “Yes” chickens do consume rodents.
    Honestly I would rather see a Hen with chicks or a beautiful colored Rooster then a lice infested, disease carrying rodent running throughout freely. Chickens are very intelligent, they learn quickly because of being grounded fowls, these birds adapt quickly and make for great pets around the house, “EGGS” are something most of us enjoy so I suggest try trapping them and keeping them for egg layers.
    To our visitors we love you dearly so please don’t get discouraged by a little bird/rooster, when he crows he’s actually saying: “If you can hear me your alive, please wake-up to my beautiful Island and live life!” =)

  11. I live on Kauai, and really dislike the roosters. They have no natural predators here which have made them stupid…and lets say cocky :p I live in a very quiet neighborhood and after over a year of living in the same place, a neighbor got a rooster. Now it crows all through the night and sounds 10 times louder because it breaks a dead silence. It seems very rude to get a loud, untamed pet but I’m unsure of what to do. Any suggestions?

    1. KBMoonFarmer,
      If your neighbor only has a rooster, I can guarantee that old boy is crowing because he wants some girlfriends. Why don’t you go next door and talk your neighbor? Assuming you guys get along, you could explain that you’re a light sleeper and ask if he/she could explore some ways to keep their rooster a little quieter at night. There are lots of tips on the Internet, if they’re compassionate enough to care.

    2. *Update* I previously posted about an irritating rooster, but the problem has since gone away. Whether the rooster flew off or was eaten i have no idea. Honestly when I moved to Kauai I was amazed by the chickens, the idea of a bird walking around that is regularly eaten was amusing to me. I only have a problem with roosters when they are crowing outside of my window. I feel secure in the fact that I’m a light sleeper, and if something makes a loud noise outside of my window, I will wake up. Perhaps trapping roosters for sport would be a good solution, because the chickens and chicks are just adorable. Also chickens producing non fertilized eggs seems more beneficial for Kauai than more chickens 🙂

    3. Earplugs. I keep my chickens inside my barn at night and that helps keep them quiet but sometimes in the middle of our long, dark canadian winters the roosters get shack wacky and start crowing at one and two in the morning. Even with the barn closed up tight they can disturb my sleep as the sound carries in the cold, crisp air. That’s when I break out my earplugs.

      I’d hate to have such thoughtless neighbours, though. Could you ask them to keep them inside in the dark until after a reasonable hour?

  12. Love this blog. Laughed heartily when reading recipe #1 for native chicken stew. Thanks for all of the information which was enlightening and entertaining.

  13. Vacationing on Kauai from santa barbara ca. Had no idea about the roosters until we arrived. Curious, I Googled it and found your blog. Great read!

    Personally I don’t mind them. Sure they crow at all hours, but its oddly soothing. A constant reminder that I am on vacation and not in a city. And I would rather have the crowing of a few roosters over the bite of a poisonous millipede.

    1. Aloha Jason,
      Agreed! Roosters are a reminder you’re not in the city, and some days I even respond to “Kauai’s alarm clock” and see amazing sunrises! Here’s a shaky, short video
      clip of a giant centipede that scared the heck out of me. Shortly after I stopped recording, it crawled off the porch where it was promptly eaten by a feral rooster… Yum!

  14. Like Elise I came here hoping for a quiet (garden) holiday, and I did my research – I read a lot about the different islands, and being interested in gardens thought this would be the place! Once I heard the roosters in the morning I bemoaned the fact I wasn’t rich enough to have a private resort – but now I feel a little better – but only a little! I think the problem is you feel like the butt of some colossal joke. It reminds me of being in school, very young and being told “if you want to know how to spell a word, look it up in the dictionary!” – my reply “how can I look it up if I don’t know how to spell it?” – and like with most things in life you have to know the right questions to ask. And I never would have thought to put Kauai and feral chickens in the same sentence until now! There’s a reason I have turned down the opportunity of several holidays to the countryside in the south of France – roosters! I’m a night person and I have had to learn to adapt to survive, but once I reached retirement I promised I would not put myself through the sorts of things you either have to when you are younger, like getting up early to hold down a job, or those things you are goaded into by someone asking, “where’s your spirit of adventure?” Putting up with a lack of sleep is something I no longer have to do, so this adventure has turned sour. To top it all I got a very bad cold on day two, so sleep has been essential for recovery – and hard to come by! At home we have what is called the Trade’s Description Act where something has to be properly described to be legally sold, and I think Kauai is failing in this! And in this age of recession I am surprised – as it isn’t apparently illegal to catch them – that someone hasn’t created what I would like to call the Kauai Agri/Tourist Organisation – or KATO cat food company! All you would need is an industrial stockpot and grinder and a few supplemental ingredients – anyone interested? I’d put money into that!!! And think how ecologically friendly it could seem to be ridding the island of a non-native, providing local jobs (you could even put a bounty on them and make it a co-operative project (too socialist?) – or would there be a problem with all those who think it animal cruelty and that it’s charming to see them free, running around fertilizing the place while tucking into their Chicken Kiev!!

    1. Aloha Nix,

      I doubt there will ever be a united effort to irradicate Kauai’s wild chickens because there’s no universal opinion that they’re bad or annoying.
      In fact, you can see from other comments, that some people find feral chickens cute and charming.

      I do agree with you that Kauai’s not for everyone. I suggest everyone considering a visit to Hawaii take a
      quick survey to see which island best suits their needs and interests. Here’s the link:

  15. I’m staying in a condo at the Hanalei Bay Resort. There are a few simple steps I have taken in order to combat the incessant sonic assault. The front door should be sound and thick. There ought not to be windows. The wall slider sized door to the lanai must be double pained and fit tight to the frame. The blackout curtains shut out all light and also act as noise insulation. The curtains must extend to both walls therefore the track needs to be installed on the ceiling so that it travels all the way to the wall and not just near the wall. The sound of the air conditioning unit masks the crowing and thus must NEVER be shut off. It is essential the unit be in fine working order with a pleasing tone, and no rattles nor hums. I turn on the ceiling fan to high as well, which further masks the noise. With both the fan and the unit on there is much wind so extra blankets and/or comforters are essential. I listen to “Crickets and Nature sounds for tinnitus” on repeat on the iPad, which I place next to the bed. I have found these steps to be highly effective and more often than not have been able to sleep just fine.

    1. Wow! Sounds like a lot of work, Bill, and I would miss the fresh ocean breezes. Note to others: A lot of Kauai homes/condos don’t have air conditioning because we have trade winds nearly every day of the year. Another reason… Electricity is screaming expensive here, so running an air conditioner would be prohibitive if you had to pay the bill.

  16. 1. I think roosters are urged by the the Tourism Bureau to get people to the the beach for sunrise oooing and aahhhhing. I have gained the ability to sleep through most nights, but mornings are still pretty iffy. Thereʻs a question thatʻs been on my mind since the first week one rooster or another woke me every half hour at Moloaʻa Bay, resulting in ME being at the oceanʻs edge to watch the sunrise. And ooooo and aaahhhh! (Thus, my belief that it could be a Kauai County conspiracy.)

    2. I love eggs. Theyʻre great protein. Easy to store in the fridge. Found in tons of recipes. Where are all the feral chicken eggs????? I have never seen even one egg in the undergrowth. I donʻt see chickens in trees. No eggs hiding in a nest built in the pile of beach toy crap on the lanai. No nest, no eggs. ????

    3. No “Wild eggs for sale” signs. Kauai-raised eggs are $7+ per dozen (!), and I need extra income to supplement Social Security. Where are the feral eggs? Do you realize what a booming business I could have if I could only start collecting eggs. “Aunty Mʻs Free Range Eggs” at the Farmers Markets. “Aunty Mʻs Free Range Eggs” recipe books, Free Range photography, Free Range Tʻs, Free Range Cafe. More tourist revenue for the island. More food self-sufficiency. Sleeping in, undisturbed.

    WHERE are the eggs?

    1. Dear Aunty M Flammatory,

      I love your writing style and hope to read all of your blog posts in the near future.

      I too have posed the same question: “Where are the feral chicken eggs?” I have only seen them one time and that was when some wild chickens decided to nest under some bushes outside the Foodland in Princeville.

      Here’s the method a friend of mine uses to harvest feral chicken eggs. She entices the chickens inside a pen with food, then closes the door and gathers the eggs until they begin to molt. Then it’s time to release them to the wild and gather a new batch of hens.

      Wonder what she does when a rooster gets inside? I think it would be challenging to shoo him out without releasing the other chickens.

  17. I was told that the wild chickens are only found where there are people and don’t venture into the back country that is unpopulated . Is that true? We just came back from three weeks in Kauai and loved it wild chickens and feral cats included!!

      1. Michael,
        So we’re all curious. Did you catch the wild chicken and fatten it up, or go straight from feral to dinner? Was it as tough as people say? How did you prepare the wild chicken: Boiled, baked or fried?

  18. Trying to run a business from home is a nightmare with these chickens running around. Imagine teaching an online class with roosters constantly crowing in the background. Since I don’t own a gun I’m thinking sharpened sticks or rocks with my slingshot….or maybe I just buy some poison.

  19. Would you happen to know how wild hatchings are fed? Does the mother hen regurgitate food like other birds or ? I’m asking because I’m trying to raise my chickens on the wild side and cannot seem to find out what to feed chicks other than store bought foods. Mr. Google has failed to answer this question.

    1. Aloha Eric,

      The mother hen digs in the dirt and loosens the soil to stir up bugs, worms, etc. My blog includes a video clip of a mother hen and chicks at Hideaways Beach. it shows the mother hen digging though piles of leaves, with the chicks running in to gobble up the goodies.

    2. Eric, they learn to scratch alongside the hen for bugs, seeds, grasses etc. That’s what wild and domestic fowl eat. The hens may pick up bits of taht food stuff to entice the chicks to eat but they learn fast to eat on their own. You cannot expect to raise feral chicks in a small location. They travel to where the food is.

  20. Al
    I live on Kauai and I know roosters and chickens are a huge nuisance. The don’t add any charm to the place in fact they take it away. People are drawn to Kauai for it’s natural beauty and quiet;you can forget the quiet part because of the roosters. They are here because of the the stupid tradition ( if you can call this a tradition) of cock fighting. It would be much better if those cowards who attend and promote cockfights would fight among themselves. In short the residents of Kauai should work on a program that aims to eliminate the chicken problem and bring the peace and quiet back to this beautiful place.

  21. I have never been to Kauai, but I live in a town known for it’s domestic chickens. Sure every body’s roosters are competing whenever they feel their domain is threatened, but they are really no worse than a barking dog. Many people who live in the area love the sound of a crowing rooster and the attitude to someone who complains: get out. You shouldn’t live in my home town if you don’t like chickens and I believe the same is true for Kauai. Wild chickens have inhabited Kauai as long as anyone alive today can remember and they are part of the island. I am not against wild chickens being killed to be eaten, but I am against their pointless slaughter simply for being themselves. The chicken haters need to suck it up or leave.

  22. Aloha, Maui girl needs help catching roosters to make her neighborhood peaceful again. Willing to catch them one at a time. Any suggestions about traps that work? And how to catch a single rooster easily? I need your help or Im going to lose another roommate and I can’t move because hard to find rentals that will take my good cats. Please serious answers only. Mahalo. Michelle

    1. Aloha Michelle,
      I know several Kauai homeowners who successfully use chicken traps to rid their properties of feral foul. Not sure
      about the Maui Humane Society, but on Kauai, you can drop the captured roosters off at the animal shelter and they’ll
      be euthanized.

  23. Visitors who complain about the chickens didn’t do due diligence in researching their vacation destination. Any general Kauai information page discusses the ubiquitous chickens. My husband I stayed at the Kauai Beach Resort, near Kapa’a and the airport. Did we see and hear the chickens? Absolutely. Did they bother us? Not really. We thought they were kind of funny. I wholeheartedly appreciate the bugs they eat. I’d take wild chickens over bugs any day. My husband and I are not particularly heavy sleepers and they never caused me sleepless nights and some nights, we left the lanai door open. Besides, if noise is your only complaint, there is an easy solution that only costs a couple bucks and no chicken deaths required–ear plugs. Why would anyone complain when there is such an EASY solution? Why would you need an internet board to help you solve the chicken noise problem when the answer seems relatively within the realm of common sense?

  24. Perhaps those of you who cannot take the noise, should “fly the coop” and not visit Kauai or two more suggestions: 1) same as mentioned before, earplugs 2) wait until you reach the age when hearing-aids are necessary(I have) and just remove them when you do not care to hear the cacophony of the roosters. “Home, home on Kauai, where the roosters and hens roam,where seldom is heard a silent night……..!

    1. I spent a week in Kauai. Then went to Honolulu for several days. I missed the roosters. I’ll never go to Oahu again- been there, done that. But Kaua is a return-to kind of place. Chickens and all.

  25. I have been visiting Kauai for years and am surprised at how few there are from recent years, even since May. What is up?

    1. Aloha Morgan,
      The number of feral chickens you see on Kauai seems to depend on where you travel on the Garden Isle.
      I don’t see much difference when I visit KoKee State Park, Poipu Beach, and the Spouting Horn… Still plenty
      of roosters, hens and chicks running around.
      I have noticed a lot fewer chickens at the Costco in Lihue where they use traps to rid the food court
      of the aggressive “moochers.” Same goes for Princeville and other areas where home owners and business
      owners have the right to rid their property of unwanted fowl.

  26. Very much enjoyed your post; found it as I was researching for my own blog after a recent trip to Kauai. We are big fans of the Kauai chickens and hope they happily cluck and crow for a long time to come

  27. My husband and I went to Kauai on our honeymoon in January 2013. We saw many, many wild chickens during our trip. We stayed in a hotel by the ocean, and although crowing could be heard, it was mostly drowned out by the sound of the ocean waves. Crowing never disturbed a night’s sleep for either of us. My husband and I thought the roosters were absolutely gorgeous, and we wished we could have taken a beautiful pair of Moa back to Texas with us as a living reminder of our wonderful trip. Also, although some say they are aggressive birds, we never witnessed aggressive behavior toward humans or even other chickens. We particularly enjoyed watching them interact with each other and occasionally with people at Old Koloa Town near the food trucks and tables.

    1. Aloha Amy,
      The wild roosters can get aggressive with each other when they’re fighting for control of the hens. I’ve also seen a few feral fowls get aggressive at touristy
      spots where visitors feed them, causing the wild chickens to lose their fear of humans.

  28. Thought you wild chicken lovers would get a kick out of the latest news from Kauai’s utility officials:

    Preliminary cause of the recent power outage : chicken got into the equipment at the Kapaa switch yard,
    caused circuit breakers to trip and they had to be closed manually. On the Mainland they’ve got squirrel problems,
    here it’s chickens.

  29. I have heard that the feral roosters have a distinctive crow, unlike most domestic fowl. Is this correct? I would pay someone to ship hatching eggs to me in the mainland. I love exotics and would love to study them.

    1. I don’t know the science behind feral vs domestic rooster crows, but from my experience as a farm kid, now living on Kauai, I would say the feral rooster’s crow
      is higher pitched and ends more abruptly.

    1. Thanks for the link to my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in Poipu. I suggest you spend more time on the north shore of Kauai next time you visit. Less tourists… more wild chickens… Lol…

  30. Where I come from those chickens would have been dinner a long time ago. Meat is though you say? Nothing meat tenderizer would not cure! Kauai is beautiful! Loved our stay there!

  31. I live on the Big Island Hilo Side and recently bought a house next to a neighbor (who’s property needs to be condemned) btw and he loves his chickens and Roosters. When I lived nr the ocean we had no problem w bugs or centipedes I even got bit once for foolishly weeding flowers without gloves…it was no big deal! just like a wasp sting…now back to the non native
    chickens….you have to build expensive green houses to grow anything!!! The noise is the least of the problem since Hawaii needs to move toward a more self sufficient mode regarding vegetables which are imported unless you can get up early for farmers markets which I support! The feral chickens are just intolerable and cock fighters are barbaric and should be fined more heavily…this so called tradition bs is just ridiculous…I once enjoyed a beautiful herb garden which we cook with on a daily basis as they are extremely tasty and good for your health…now I will be spending a lot of $ to grow food! They even killed my poor 3 ft fig tree grubbing for worms! It is hard enough to obtain fresh organic produce here which is essential to a healthy diet. All you have to do is spend a day people watching to see the obesity that is dragging our healthcare system down nationwide…Wake up people…home gardens good/ chickens need to be eradicated and factory chicken farming is disgusting…the UN just released a study that unless we transition to a plant based diet by 2050 greenhouse gases will be at levels which could permanently alter weather patterns planetwide! but we are too brainwashed by the meat media to wake up. Now I have heard this local non sense of if U don’t like it leave…well if you don’t like science and want to kill yourself with a meat based diet maybe U should take the next rocketship off the Planet or risk losing not only the beautiful but backward Hawaiian islands but our Mother EARTH!

    1. Aloha Chicken Little,

      My landlord has a dog, so bugs, not chickens, have repeatedly destroyed my poor efforts at growing some cherry tomatoes and spices. Tropical
      oregano is my only success story. Snap off a piece, stick it in the ground and you’re set!

      1. Your reply is as kurt as your attitude about a serious problem. Me and my neighbor will be buying22 hollowpoints and filing an x on the heads lets see how your friends stand up to that? Good fun and target practice says he …co operation between nieghbors is the key…better than letting people round them up for cock fighting…let U know how it goes with the flow or maybe we should wait till they are overflowing to do something about this disgusting shitbpile of crap piling up on our carports where children play?
        ps herb gardens are easy to grow w a little neem without the worm grubbers kill the wild pigs too!

  32. George Washington, our country’s founder, was a known enthusiast of cock fighting. Those of you who enjoy consuming any form of chicken meat should get real and leave this matter to one’s individual taste.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ronald. Isn’t it great that George Washington also supported the adoption of the Bill of Rights which protects everyone’s First Amendment freedom of speech, even when we may have different tastes?

  33. I am a very nonviolent and animal loving person but I can only take so much. We have lived on Kauai for 16yrs and I have never had a problem until now. My neighbor feeds these chickens daily and our properties border an undeveloped area where they keep pouring in. I have been forced to kill and feel terrible about it or go nuts with the incessant crowing at all hours. I mean I am surrounded while I sleep with open windows when one decides to start at 1am and here goes the rest. What unfortunate event needs to happen before this problem is taken more seriously. Doesnt everyone know how upsetting it can be to never get a full nights sleep do to screaming chickens? The law should recognize this and help keep people from snapping. Im not a snapper but Im being tested constantly by these damned roosters and I have now become a chicken killer instead of a pacifist. Boy could I use some help.

    1. Dear Dughum,
      Sorry to hear the wild roosters are disturbing your sleep. The noise ordinance for the County of Kauai does not offer any relief. If you check out the Noise Reference Manual you will read the following on Page 5: “The island of Kauai has no State or County regulations which apply to excessive noise being made from animals.”

      The Kauai Humane Society discontinued their program to euthanize wild chickens trapped by residents because the demand was so high they couldn’t cover the expense. One option to being a “chicken killer” would be to hire a professional pest control company to come and thin out the flock. Of course, the best solution might be to convince your neighbor to stop feeding them.

      Good luck!

    1. Jennalattu,
      Thanks for the “pingback.” You should also credit me for the photo of the wild rooster sitting on the fence by the Hanalei taro fields that you included at the end of your blog.
      Here’s another link you might want to add for your readers who are interested in ongoing DNA studies of Kauai’s feral chickens taking place at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve:

  34. The chicken & rooster problem is not free entertainment & it is a menace to society (& may people’s sanity) w/ risk of #disease while the #infestation is causing increasing problems. The state of #Hawaii is doing nothing to eradicate the on-going problem of the #FerelChickens on #Kauai since #hurricaneIniki; and, many suffer from crow-induced #insomnia.


    –The unnaturally large flock is bad for native plants.
    –Wild chickens carry diseases that kill native Hawaiian birds.
    –They leave unsanitary piles of kukae moa (aka: chicken poop)
    –It makes for unsafe driving when visitors brake or swerve to avoid them.

    Not having a good day…

    1. Susan,
      Not sure how to answer your question, but I would note that Kauai has lots of wild chickens and more rare/endangered birds than any other Hawaiian island.
      I’d say you’d be better off on Oahu, except they have lots of pigeons in Honolulu.

  35. Hi, has anyone tried using a dog whistle to quiet the roosters? From what I’ve read, they can hear that frequency.

  36. I’m a feather artist and make beautiful art pieces from feathers. I’ve learned to skin and tan the pelt for use of. Any way I could get a few dead birds?

    1. Aloha CS Boyle,

      You’re welcome to catch as many as you can… (-;

      The only other option I can think of is to contact the Kauai Humane Society. I believe they still have a program
      where they euthanize roosters brought in by homeowners.


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