If you’ve been to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai, you would have noticed the huge population of wild chickens roaming around.
Some locals like them, some are indifferent, and some find them annoying. Especially the early morning rooster wakeup calls and constant foraging for food.
It does raise some interesting questions though. Can you eat Kauai chicken eggs? Or the chickens themselves?
Here are some interesting facts about the wild chicken population on the island of Kauai:
What Are Kauai Chickens?
"Kauai chickens" is the term used to refer to the wild chickens that live on the island of Kauai, also known as the “Garden Island”.
They are a cross-breed of various breeds of domestic chicken and the Red Junglefowl. Much to the amusement of tourists, and often the annoyance of the locals, there is a huge population of Kauai chickens roaming in the wild.
There are very few predators on the island threatening them, so their numbers keep on increasing.
How Did Chickens Get on Kauai?
There have always been wild chickens on Kauai. The wild Red Junglefowl is a wild chicken that has roamed parts of the earth for thousands of years after the Polynesians brought this bird to the island.
A lot of locals also kept backyard chickens as pets for their eggs and meat. It was when the two of these combined that the population of wild chickens really exploded.
It’s an interesting story; according to local lore, when hurricane Iwa hit in 1982, domestic coops were destroyed releasing backyard chickens into the wild.
The same happened with hurricane Iniki in 1992 which destroyed homes across the island. These two incidents that released hundreds of domestic chickens into the wild to mate with wild Red Jungelfowls resulted in a booming wild chicken population.
Do Kauai Chickens Lay Eggs?
Yes, of course, they do!
It’s laying eggs that are hatching in the wild that has lead to the huge population of wild chickens.
Things are a lot different in the wild that a backyard coop, however. You may never have seen their eggs if you live on the island as they have to hide and protect them from predators.
Wild chickens are very adept at surviving in the wild, hence why they are there. They have some tricks when it comes to hiding and protecting their eggs.
You will have the egg song if you have backyard hens. This is when hens make a lot of noise after laying an egg. Often as a way to distract predators from where their egg is, and to make other flock members aware so they can help act as a lookout.
Chickens are great communicators, they use a range of different noises to alert each other when predators are approaching.
They will lose a few to predators like larger birds, mongooses in particular, as well as snakes and lizards mostly. But, you may just stumble across a wild Kauai egg if you look hard enough.
Can You Eat Kauai Chicken Eggs?
Yes, you can eat eggs from the wild chickens on the island of Kauai if you want to.
If you want to look at the positive, there are a few reasons why it’s a good idea.
The first is that free-range eggs, which is what wild eggs are, generally taste better.
The second reason is that they’re free. Eggs don’t cost a lot, but free is always better than paying for something. As long as it’s perfectly legal of course, which it is.
The third reason is that you’re doing a small part to help the slow down the already over-populated army of wild chickens.
While some islanders are strictly against harming the chickens to reduce their numbers, it’s still acknowledged that there are too many of them. Taking their eggs is the most humane way to make a difference if you want to see it like that.
You do have to be sure they are fresh though. Overwise you might get an unwanted surprise when cracking one open, and a worse surprise if you eat an egg that’s “off”.
How Can You Tell If a Wild Egg Is Fresh?
There is a tried and tested way to tell if an egg is fresh enough to eat or not. Just follow these steps:
- Put the egg into a bowl of water so it’s completely submerged
- If the egg is fresh, it will stay on the bottom of the bowl laying on its side
- If the egg stands up, it’s around its use by date and should be eaten soon
- If the egg floats, it’s past its use-by date and shouldn’t be eaten - doing so may result in food poisoning!
How does the float test work? Eggshells are porous. They let air into the egg over time and the more air inside the egg the quicker it goes bad and the more it will float in water.
In Summary - Can You Eat Kauai Chicken Eggs?
Yes, you can eat Kauai chicken eggs.
They are just as nutritious as shop-bought chicken eggs, and will probably taste better as they are truly free-range.
Just be careful to make sure they are fresh and safe to eat.