If a bill successfully goes through Hawaii’s government, the state’s feral chicken population may soon see its last days.
If you’ve been to the Aloha State in the past 30 or 40 years, you may have noticed (and, I mean, how could you NOT?) a whole lot of feral chickens and roosters running around the islands.
There’s enough of them that there was even a feral chicken named Hei Hei in the Moana Disney animated feature.
Were chickens always on the Hawaiian islands?
About 800 years ago, Polynesians crossed the ocean in outriggers to find and colonize the Hawaiian islands. They brought along chickens (specifically the red junglefowl breed) in those big canoes, and on top of having no natural predators on the islands (save for cats and dogs), the birds thrived in Hawaii’s comfortable climate (as do the rest of us. Ahhhhh!!!).
The chicken population has been around ever since, but apparently wasn’t too much of a problem until the hurricanes of 1982 (Iwa) and 1992 (Iniki). It’s said the two storms destroyed many Hawaiian residents’ chicken coops, which allowed the fowl to roam into the jungles. These domesticated birds then mated with the wild red junglefowl (the descendants of those brought to the islands by the Polynesian), which resulted in the modern-day overwhelming feral chicken population, especially on Kauai.
Like the chickens of Key West, many tourists love the birds, but residents? Generally not so much. Feral chickens dig up plants. They poop EVERYWHERE. And although they do eat bugs, they’ll also grab a cracker from a toddler’s hand if the kid isn’t careful. Oh, and if you value your sleep? Roosters crow, not only at sunrise, but at any time of day (or night!).
The city of Honolulu has had its own chicken management program since 2016. It includes specific instructions of how to capture and euthanize the birds if they’re roaming around residents’ homes. But the rest of the state? Too bad, so sad.
Well, until now.
There was supposed to be a five-year pilot program that was initially intended only for Pearl City (that’s a small community – about 45K – on the North Shore of Pearl Harbor). But lawmakers are now proposing it become a state-wide since the chickens are considered “a road and health hazard.”
The program would deploy a special bird feed that includes a chemical contraceptive (yay, science!). The product is called OvoControl, and is a contraceptive for avian populations. The feed has been used previously on pigeons.
The idea has been made into a bill that’s moving its way through the state’s legislature.
The cost of the program hasn’t been determined yet. Another potential road bump is that the state department of agriculture must get approval from the EPA to administer the product to chickens, according to the bill’s latest amendment.
But if it passes, Hawaii’s feral chicken population may go the way of the dodo.
Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.
Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary