Friday, July 10, 2009

Kauai's Roosters

As my family and I have taken on the life of chicken farmers, people now share their stories with me about raising chickens. The one I heard yesterday was from a guy I work with and his eminent new life as a chicken farmer as inspired by us. He was explaining how the Island of Kauai, has been, is being, overrun by chickens.
The Islands have been a stopping off point for hundreds and hundreds of years. So sea travelers undoubtedly packed with food on their ships, had creatures on board. Creatures for food and not indigenous to the islands. The theory most floated is; early Polynesian and french travelers brought chickens to Kauai as a food source and, as usual, chickens have taken over. I do recall the last time I was in Kauai, a whole town had become ruled by chickens, and "people" where laying eggs, it was weird. I dressed as chicken in order not to be noticed. However, my size had them tilting their heads around and clucking.... I scratched on the ground and made myself look "normal" they seemed appeased by this. The other theory is; in 1992 when hurricane Iniki hit is wiped out electricity for weeks and even months and with a strong backyard chicken contingent in Kauai already, coops and chicken fences came down and allowed the existing population free-range. Hmmm, I guess this is plausible, but what about other areas of the world where disasters have hit? Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Indonesia... you never hear about dogs taking over, or cats, or cattle, or monkeys (actually in parts of Indonesia I think this is the case)... why chickens?

As we all know, there is a "balance". You introduce a new creature to a new land, it's habits and needs can go nuts and destroy their new digs. And, it is even more obvious, the new land cannot support the new creatures habits as there are often times no natural predators.

Another case in point in Hawaii is snakes. Yeah, I hate snakes too. Someone introduced snakes to the islands, accidentally I am sure. Then someone got the idea to introduce mongoose to eat the snakes, the problem with this is; mongoose are nocturnal and snakes aren't. OOPS!

So, chickens living on the lamb in Kauai is a bad deal. The land there is so lush with every kind of foliage, weed and bug imaginable, the chickens are breeding, laying eggs, getting educated and taking jobs away from Hawaiians. I am not sure how Obama is going to handle this. I assume via a tax on the chickens and government assistance to the Hawaiians. It is really sad. Locals now have so many chickens running around that when it rains, and this can be often, they walk into stores, restaurants and the like and just sit down and nap. Accounts from people say that if your not careful, the chicken will be on your table pecking away on your cheesecake. And, the crowing is not just in the morning, it is ALL DAY LONG! Suffice it to say, Kauai has a problem. While free food is roaming the street, and from reports... good food. They are getting a bad wrap. I guess the Rooster are so aggressive the cats are scared.

I find this to be an interesting quandary. If living there, I am sure I would take a more militant stance against the chickens, if aggressive or a nuisance. On the other hand, they are good looking birds, family oriented and homebody's ergo possible good neighbors as they would control the pests, dump in my garden and maybe drop an egg once in a while. I would have to put up with the noise though.

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