Chickens Gone Wild!
Why is Kauai so infested with wild chickens? The local folk lore is that Hurricanes Iniki (1992) and Iwa (1982) destroyed domestic coops and such, letting the animals loose in the wild to breed and multiply. Some also say that the escaped domesticated birds joined up with jungle fowl originally brought in by Polynesians 1,000 years ago. The domestic chickens bred with the Polynesian chickens of times gone by, and here we are today.
Well, guess what? The folk lore is correct – with both analogies. In fact, a discussion of Kauai’s wild chickens actually made the pages of the June 2018 issue of National Geographic! Yup! According to National Geographic, genetic tests, and at least one biologist, Kauai’s wild chicken population has grown as a result of domesticated birds inadvertently let loose, and thereby breeding with each other as well as wild fowl.
Today – with no natural predators – the wild chicken population continues growing. Is this a good thing or bad thing for the island? The answer seems to be complex.
On the one hand, wild chickens eat lots of bugs and the nasty centipedes we all dread. On the other hand, while foraging for bugs to eat, chickens tear up foliage and grass, and even destroy vegetable and other gardens.
Then, there’s the revenue generated from wild chickens. Some island businesses make money from Kauai’s “wild chickens.” I’m sure you’ve all seen the coffee mugs, mug rugs, mouse pads, hats, t-shirts, and other items that depict our wild chickens. So, while the souvenir shops and others are making money off of the chickens, still other businesses – like restaurants, grocery stores, business offices, etc. – work hard to keep the chickens away from their customers and from walking through their front doors.
Of course, many tourists (and probably even some locals) are fascinated by the island teeming with wild chickens. Many even feed the birds, which then, brings them back for more. And worse, the chickens begin bringing their brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, and the rest of their family and friends back for more too. Before one knows it, tons of wild chickens are congregating in a place due to being fed by humans. The result: Lots and lots of chicken poop. Some might say that chicken poop is good for the environment. Others may bring up the issue of disease and parasites and everything else that comes with tons of chickens and their poop.
The topic of Kauai’s wild chicken population is an interesting one. Which side of the chicken coop are you on? As always, please contact us for any of your pest control, rodent control or termite tenting needs, please don’t hesitate to call us.