Wild chickens have been a nuisance to the residents of Oahu and Hawaii for decades - as well as being a pretty amusing and popular tourist attraction! If you’re as interested as I am in these wild chickens, here’s the history of chickens in Hawaii Oahu.
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Why Are There Chickens All Over Oahu?
Oahu or Hawaiian O’ahu is an island separated from the other Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Molokai.
Like all of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu is a magnificent, picturesque location with plenty of beaches, views over the crystal blue North Pacific Ocean, and lots of wild chickens!
There are two reasons that explain why there are so many wild chickens in Hawaii;
The first is that through a number of storms over the years, chickens that were being kept as pets were able to break free and flee into the wild.
The second reason is that chickens and other birds are protected by state laws in Hawaii so residents have not been able to deal with the chickens themselves.
The government is aware that residents are not happy about the wild chicken population. It’s fascinating for tourists to see so many chickens running wild, but nothing short of a nuisance for residents.
There have been a number of organizations and targeted efforts over the years permitted to capture wild chickens to try and reduce the numbers.
But if you visit any of the Hawaiian islands, it’s pretty obvious that the wild chicken population is out of control.
Are Chickens Protected on Oahu?
Generally speaking, chickens are protected by state law across the Hawaiian Islands. This depends on the exact location, however, as the laws do vary across the islands.
If you live in Oahu, or anywhere else on the islands, the best advice is to speak to your local office and ask them exactly what you can or cannot do to protect your property from wild chickens.
There have been a number of government-backed programs over the years to help reduce the number of wild chickens, some of which did involve residents.
The last I heard, more than 1,000 chickens were caught by volunteers all around the islands. This was done humanely and the chickens were not culled unless they had health issues.
Is It Legal To Kill Chickens in Oahu?
I've done some research into what exactly the residents of Oahu are allowed to do under local laws to protect the land from wild chickens.
As far as I can find out, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) governs these actions and they state that you are to abide by local laws.
Local laws vary across the islands, so you should always check with your local office exactly what you're able to do before taking any action.
It's unlikely that you'll be allowed to kill the chickens. In some areas, I do know that residents are allowed to trap and remove chickens if they're on their land and causing a problem.
What Kind of Problems Do Wild Chickens Cause?
As a tourist, seeing flocks of wild chickens it's pretty amusing. But keep in mind that your stay is short, for the residents, having wild chickens around 24/7 is far from amusing.
Some of the main issues that residents of Oahu have with wild chickens are:
Damage to property - chickens can do some considerable damage to property over time. They climb all over cars scratching up the paintwork, poop a lot, scratch around and dig up flowers, and so on.
They are noisy - No one wants to live within earshot of a rooster. Imagine having dozens of roosters giving you an early morning wake-up call every single day.
They get in the way - Chickens don’t exactly abide by road traffic laws. They go where they want when they want, and this often causes an issue for road users and pedestrians.
Potential for disease - There are a number of diseases and bacterias chickens carry that can potentially be passed on to humans. Salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis are two that have some unpleasant symptoms, and avian influenza viruses are always a concern.
They keep growing in numbers - The reason why chickens are able to thrive in Hawaii is that there are very few natural predators. This means, without intervention, they are going to continue to populate. (Although you can eat the eggs from wild chickens.)
As you can see, having wild chickens roaming freely is a far cry from having backyard chickens.
As much as I love chickens, I for one wouldn't like to have wild chickens roaming around where I live. There's nothing you can do to help, but if you're in Hawaii it's worth keeping this in mind.
There are wild chickens all over the Hawaiian Islands, and it doesn't look like anything is going to change soon as they're protected by state laws.
It's an interesting situation. The chickens have become somewhat of a tourist attraction, even if they are seen as pests by the locals for the most part.
Image credits - Photo by Vazgen Harutyunyan on Unsplash