The Hawaiian Island of Kauai is blessed with stunning beaches, waterfalls, and canyons, and then … there’s all those wild beach chickens!


After traveling all over the world, this is really one of the strangest and funniest things I’ve ever experienced. Wild, noisy, colourful, moody, chickens everywhere.


While lounging on the beach one day, I looked up to see a big rooster struggling across the sand with a harem of four hens in tow. While inside a local supermarket, I casually passed two big black hens strolling down the meat aisle. More than once, a random rooster tried to charge me, causing me to turn a bit chicken myself.


So how did all this poultry end up ruling a beautiful beach paradise?


Well, the popular theory is, back in 1992, several Kauai chicken farms were destroyed by Hurricane Iniki, freeing the brazen birds to forever roam. Another theory claims sugarcane plantation workers brought a bunch of chickens to the island, only to have them escape and multiply at an alarming rate.

Whatever, the reason for their widespread presence, these feral birds make for good entertainment.

Tourists take their picture, and hopefully slow down to let them cross the road, sometimes in packs.

The only downside? I found even wearing earplugs inside my beachfront hotel room, didn’t drown out the deafening sound of “cock-a-doodle-do” at 5 a.m. most mornings.

That’s still a small price to pay to witness such a comical and unlikely Hawaiian mascot.

I’d go back to Kauai just for the chickens

Kauai Facts

  • Geography. Kauai is the fourth largest of the main Hawaiian islands and also the oldest. It has a population of more than 65,000.

  • Rain. The east side of Mount Wai?ale?ale has an annual average rainfall of 460 inches making it one of the wettest places in the world. However in other parts of the island the average rainfall can be as little at 18 inches a year.

  • Beaches. Nearly half of Kauai’s shoreline are made up of beautiful beaches.

  • Getting there. There are direct flights to Lihue Airport in Kauai from Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. But many travelers take a short flight from Oahu or Maui.

See the sights

Other cool things to do in Kauai

  • Zipline through the Kauai Rainforest
    I really got a sense of how beautiful and untouched this island is, while soaring from treetop to treetop on this visually stunning eco-adventure. It’s not cheap, (about C$125) but you get the rare chance to zip through several custom designed rides, over mountains, plantation streams and thick jungle growth.

  • Kauai Luau
    It may be a bit corny and targeted to tourists, but hey, you’ve got to do a Luau when you’re in Hawaii! For about C$55, the Kauai Grand Hyatt offers a fun dinner and show, featuring the typical Hawaiian music, Fire-dancing, crafts, and great food.