Wild Chickens Get Cocky in Hawaii

Omnipresent fowl frustrate locals, tourists

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2009 9:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Chickens are running amok on the Hawaiian island of Kauai—and they’re not letting locals or tourists forget it. “Those blasted birds won't let me sleep,” one human resident tells the Wall Street Journal. “They make a racket all day and night.” The birds first tasted freedom after a 1992 hurricane that opened the pens of domestic chickens as well as competitors in an underground cockfighting scene.

Since the hurricane, the chickens have multiplied freely. Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Kauai never introduced mongooses, which hunt chickens, and no official attempts to curb the population have ensued. Some locals have sought to destroy the fowl, but Kauai’s humane society fights for the birds—and their images make for hot merchandise. “Everyone complains about the roosters, but then they buy everything rooster,” including pens, statues, and T-shirts, says a gift shop worker.

Some complain that chickens keep them up all night with their squawking.   (Wall Street Journal video)
Chickens were let out of their pens in a 1992 hurricane.   (Wall Street Journal video)
In Kauai, the chicken crosses the road.   (Wall Street Journal video)
Roosters are everywhere in Kauai.   (Shutterstock)
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