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What’s the deal with all the wandering chickens?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


What is the deal with all the chickens wandering all over the islands? They don’t seem to be pets or livestock, so where do they all come from (and don’t tell me eggs)? Who brought them, and when, to the islands?



Aloha Tom,

So you have noticed the ubiquitous wild chickens strutting about — a bizarre sight for most visitors who are accustomed to finding chickens only on farms or in their picnic basket. Why are there so many chickens, or Moa, as they are called in Hawaiian? Polynesians brought chickens to the island hundreds of years ago as a food source. Europeans brought domestic chickens, and Filipinos brought fighting chickens.

You will see beautiful, iridescent multi-color birds, as well as ordinary drab-colored domestic chickens, depending on where you go. Over the years some of the domestic chickens escaped into the wild, mated, and created new combinations. The wild chickens rule here, and it is against the law to harm them.

At Kokee State Park, on Kauai, you can buy feed for the many chickens that roost in the hills behind the museum. The chickens have amazing food radar and once they become aware of someone feeding one of their brethren, they all come charging from the underbrush, clucking, crowing, peeping, and flapping in hilarious fashion. Once the food is gone, the chickens vanish as quickly as they arrived.

The Moa have no natural predators on Kauai, and clearly they are thriving.

Mahalo for writing,

Big Kahuna