At one point, my family lived on a small farm-ette which included chickens. We had them for the fresh eggs and, occasionally, for the chicken soup. I hated those chickens. I disliked feeding them, gathering the eggs, and most especially, cleaning the coop.

HOWEVER, I love chickens in Hawaii. Why? Well, they seem to be fairly autonomous. There are feral chickens on most of the islands, apparently. They just wander around on their own, not expecting to be taken care of (or eaten). We first experienced chickens in the wild on our second visit, when I had an appointment at the University of Hawaii. (That was also the time we discovered that you cannot eat a Fat Boy burger and drive at the same time, but that’s another story.) While I discussed philosophy with professors, Rick entertained himself by wandering around Manoa, where he first met a flock of wild chicken.

Since then, we encounter them regularly. The photo is from a Kailua parking lot, where a hen and her chicks had decided that it was a good idea to huddle up next to a truck tire, for some reason. We have seen them on hikes, as well, and at a park along the beach. They are amusing to watch. One morning on the way to a conference, I watched a rooster walk across the street with several hens. One hen, somehow, missed the crossing and was left on the median. She was panicking, wandering around in circles. Annoyed, the rooster crossed the street to reach her and then chased her back across the road to join the group, complaining all the way.

That’s the reason I love chickens in Hawaii. They are so amusing when they are on their own, rather than cooped up or in cages. They may be annoying to some, crowing or clucking at odd hours, but I love seeing them as fellow creatures, rather than captives. One writer compared them to the movie “Chicken Run: The Great Escape,” which makes me laugh. Even the chickens love hanging out in Hawaii!


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