The first question people usually ask upon meeting me for the first time is, “where’s your chicken?” Many people confuse me with my friend, “The Chicken Whisperer,” named Forest.
Forest is known for pedaling his bicycle around Kapaa town with his fowl-feathered friends hanging out on his handlebars. Although I look nothing like Forest, most people still believe I am him. Most everyone believes me to be the chicken man, since I also pedal a bicycle around town with my dog. I have decided to go with the flow and channel some words of wisdom on the beauty of Kauai’s infamous fowl creatures, the wild chickens of the “Cosmic Garden island.”
Chickens are the one animal that we need more than any other for survival, and Kauai has thousands of wild chickens, making it the wild chicken capital of the world.
The alleged reason for so many wild chickens on Kauai is during Hurricane Iniki in 1992 many chickens from local farms broke away during the catastrophic damages of the storm. The wild chickens breed like rabbits and are therefore everywhere, from personal residences, to every outdoor dining restaurant and points between.
Chicken can be prepared in numerous ways, from deep fried, to barbecued, to a nice saute in wine sauce, to many different Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Mexican dishes. If you include the egg as a chicken, then chicken is also an active ingredient in almost everything we eat, from bread, cakes, protein drinks and thousands of baked goods to the old standby breakfast omelets, scrambled eggs, over easy, poached, boiled and microwaved. There are egg salad sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches. Chicken is the essence of the food chain.
The word “chicken” itself is used to describe someone who is afraid, and there is a good reason — chickens are usually running from humans. The word is out that we use them as an ingredient in almost everything we eat.
The chicken is also an alarm clock, with the rooster crowing at the crack of dawn and all other regular intervals to manage time without a clock.
Many visitors get a kick out of Kauai’s wild chickens, even if they suffer from a ‘Cock A Doodle Doo’-induced insomnia.
The infamous feathered creatures have a huge appetite for bugs, including the mean and nasty Hawaiian centipedes that can give you a paralyzingly painful bite.
We name many things after the chicken, we have the disease of chicken pox. We have expressions like, “you’re no spring chicken,” “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched,” to my favorite idiom of, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”
Chicken soup is a healing serum used for colds, coughs and flus. My ancestors called chicken soup “Jewish Penicillin.”
“The Chicken Whisperer,” when not pedaling his loyal feathered friends on his bicycle, is often seen with crowds of people surrounding him and his wild chickens as they take photos, tweet, and make YouTube video’s right on the spot.
The chicken also will act as a garbage disposal. When camping out, I see the chickens eating everything imaginable, even the unimaginable.
A rooster and a hen are the one pair of animals you would want if stranded on a deserted island.
Next time you see a wild Kauai chicken, stop and say, “Eerrrr eeeer eeeeer eeeeer.”
Just don’t ask me “where’s your chicken?”
• James “Kimo” Rosen is a retired professional photographer living in Kapaa with his best friend Obama Da Dog, Rosen also blogs as a hobby www.dakinetalk.blogspot.com