Crazy Chicken Lady of Maui

There were 9 chicks in this batch.  After two weeks, there were only 5 chicks left.
There were 9 chicks in this batch. After two weeks, there were only 5 chicks left.

In my area of the island of Maui, there is a lady known as The Chicken Lady. She is a good friend of mine. There are probably several so-called chicken ladies here, but I'm talking about the one in Kihei.

Kihei is the Waikiki of Maui, more or less. There are subdivisions with houses and roads, but there are also many condominiums for tourists. Amid all the touristry-related shops and condominium buildings, there are small segments of Kihei that have forests, meadows and mango orchards. These fragrant areas are still, I imagine, much like they were in the days of Maui royalty.

But here in 2010, and for the past several years, every day at 5:00 p.m., my lady friend drives along a lower road in Kihei and turns left onto a road which name I shall not divulge, but I will say it runs parallel to -- and between -- Uwapo Road and Kanani Road. There is forest on each side of this road -- as there are on many of the lower roads in Kihei. The Black-Crowned Night Herons and the Hawaiian Stilt birds share the top of the forest canopy between dusk and dawn, but during the day they fly to fresh water ponds several blocks away. My friend parks where the forest begins on the right shoulder of the road facing the mountains -- in other words, heading mauka. The Red Junglefowl, free range chickens and roosters, live here and the other side of the road, too. Red Junglefowl (gallus gallus) live throughout the island of Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands. They are of the pheasant family and originally were in India, Sri Lanka and southeastern Asia. They have now been on the Hawaiian Islands for centuries. The males are colorful with red feathers on their heads and chest. Their tail feathers are violet and turquoise. The hens are various beige and brown shades which camouflage them well.

It is quite a sight to see the chicken lady as she arrives, driving 15-20 miles per hour in her little red car. The chickens and the chicks on the right side of the road see her coming, so they start running forward to meet her. She has to drive past them and then swerve to the right shoulder so she doesn't run down the thirsty, hungry little chicks or their moms. There can be an identical red car arriving two blocks ahead of the chicken lady's car, yet the chickens just stand there and wait. They know the unique sound of her car. When they see the chicken lady's car a block away and verify to themselves that it is her car engine they are hearing, they and their little chicks run forward. The roosters hang back and watch.



These are some of the jungle fowl on the other side of the road.  There are 35 to 40 cats on each side of the road.  Mostly, they respect the chickens.  Very Maui.
These are some of the jungle fowl on the other side of the road. There are 35 to 40 cats on each side of the road. Mostly, they respect the chickens. Very Maui.

New Rooster in Town

People drive by and some give a cheer for the racing hens and the little chicks. Others shout out, "Good job. Aloha, thank you." Random male drivers in pick-up trucks, dogsbarking in the back, speed by, some hanging on to their steering wheels with a right elbow and a right wrist, their heads stuck at a weird angle out the driver's door window, obscenities spewing from their mouths and then they yell, "Crazy Chicken Lady." It seems the weirdest men on Maui have something against the survival of the Junglefowl. They also appear to intensely dislike any middle-aged woman in a baggy, feeding-the-chickens-kine dress and hair up in a bun or maybe it's just this one middle-aged woman they dislike. My friend ignores the cheers and the jeers.

She has told her friends -- when they have asked -- that she goes to put fresh water in containers for the fowl because they are thirsty. As soon as she pours the water, they run to get their first sips of water for the day. She knows the Junglefowl can forage bugs from the forest's floor, but she feels sorry for them if they don't have water in this humid, hot weather. And, she reasons, since she is there anyway, she might as well throw a little chicken scratch their way.

She has to be agile when she arrives. She stops the car and very quickly pulls the lever beside the driver's seat to open the trunk. She grabs her gallon-size jug of water sitting in the passenger's seat, leaps out of the car, runs to the back of the car, throws the trunk door up, scoops out a bowlful of chicken scratch, throws the chicken scratch to the fowl on her right, then refills the bowl and jogs across the street with chicken scratch in one hand and a heavy jug of water in the other. That's how it all goes when everything goes right.

If there is traffic coming, my chicken lady friend cannot cross, so she yells at the chickens and roosters across the street to stay there. They are quite miffed that the chickens on the right side of the road always get fed first. (Now you know the answer to, "Why did the chicken cross the road?") There are usually little chicks to feed on the right side of the road and if the mother hens don't get fed fast, they run towards the middle of the road with their broods cheep-cheeping close behind.

There is one rooster on the left side of the road that someone dropped there recently and he will not wait an extra second if my friend doesn't jog immediately across the road. This rooster is not a Junglefowl. He is some sort of mainland variety and very intent on being the first one she greets. Often, my friend has to stop traffic by putting her arm and hand up in the air so she can get to the other side very quickly as the rooster is already halfway across to meet her. When my friend gets to the other side, he follows her there and tries to get in front of her to beg to be petted. She doesn't pet him. She throws chicken scratch for him, but he ignores it at first and follows her as she rinses water bowls, refills the water bowls and throws chicken scratch for the waiting fowl.

This guy dashes across the street to greet the chicken lady if she doesn't cross the road quickly enough.
This guy dashes across the street to greet the chicken lady if she doesn't cross the road quickly enough.
Source

Rooster Fighting is Cruelty to Animals

For some reason, there is rarely a chick to be seen on the left side of the road, although lately there has been one. It's difficult to say why the chicks on the left side of the road don't survive more than one or two days, but the chicks on the right side of the road do.

Teenaged roosters go missing from either side of the road every once in a while, too. There are more than 30 cats on each side of the road who are fed by their colony caretakers, a man and wife team, every night after dark. But there are other predators in the forest also. They are men and their sons who set snares every month or two to catch young roosters and take them home. These men raise young roosters to adulthood so they can engage in rooster fighting. Sadly, many cats have been caught in the plastic fishing-reel string, too. Most of the cats die from starvation and suffering. I know of one cat that chewed its paw off and was found by a cat caretaker, checked out at the Maui Humane Society and given a clean bill of health. That's a rare happy story in the forests of snared victims.

There are also instances where parents and children go into the forests together and manage to catch or net a few young hens for the sake of taking them home to join their backyard hens and ruling rooster. There is poverty on Maui, so this is an understandable self-sustaining decision of a family .

But the men who arrive in their big pick-up trucks with their young, impressionable sons and screech their tires, leaving, when my friend arrives; these are the people I call predators. There is not a particular ethnicity here in the Hawaiian Islands that believe it is their culture's right -- as Georgie Fong of Haiku puts it -- to enslave, imprison and kill the roosters. No, there are many who believe it is their right. Of course, not all people within those ethnicities are supportive of rooster fighting. I don't know of any surveys to show if the supporters of rooster-fighting in each ethnicity are the minority or whether they are the majority. If such surveys have been done, I would like to learn the results of such surveys.

SO WHAT ABOUT THIS ROOSTER FIGHTING?

Rooster fighting is popular due to greed and perversion. Bets are made behind the scenes. The location of the next rooster-fighting event is planned. How many police officers in the Maui Police Department know about the event ahead of time and choose not to attend and not to arrest those involved, but instead turn a blind eye? I do not know. How many police officers in the Maui Police Department (and other police departments across the Hawaiian Islands) make bets themselves on this so-called sport? I do not know. I hope the answer is none. But the rooster fighting events are held regularly. Two roosters are drugged into a state of aggression. Razor blades are strapped on to their legs and they are forced to begin their fight to the death. This is pure, unadulterated cruelty to animals. Also, it is negligence of parents to children if some of these parents actually take their children or teenagers to the rooster-fights. Cockfighting is a misdemeanor under Hawaii State Law, punishable by a maximum fine of $2000 and one year in prison.

In April of this year, a resolution was passed (HCR277) which supports cockfighting as a cultural activity. The resolution was introduced by three representatives stating that cockfighting is a national sport in the Philippines and a "cherished tradition in many cultures throughout the world." There was great opposition by animal groups to the resolution.

The resolution does not give any person in Hawaii any legal right to carry out this cruelty. Cockfighting is still illegal here on Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

The chicken lady feels the least she can do is give the Junglefowl a little water and food every evening before sunset, so she puts up with the verbal abuse. If she is ever spat upon -- and she figures that's probably going to be the next phase -- she says her strategy then will be to make her 'chicken run' an early morning errand instead of an afternoon delight. She wishes she could do more.

Copyright owned by Pamela K. Williams

The cats at this location leave the fowl alone as long as they they are fed by their caretakers.  These cats know not to mess with the mother hens.
The cats at this location leave the fowl alone as long as they they are fed by their caretakers. These cats know not to mess with the mother hens.
Common Jungle Fowl of the islands.
Common Jungle Fowl of the islands.

This is funny. Good music, too.

© 2010 Pamela Kinnaird W

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Comments 28 comments

Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thanks, DDE!


DDE profile image

DDE 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting Hub, thanks for sharing


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 4 years ago from Philippines

Cockfighting is legal in the Philippines. I think it's rather cruel. Thank you for sharing this story of a woman who finds meaning in being kind to the chickens, despite the ridicule she gets.


hubahubahuba1 5 years ago

Looking at your article again today. That's our rooster, Mr. Speckles was his name. He was named by our little boy. We surely miss him :-(( and we are hoping he is still well. Honor to the chicken lady!!!!! Thank you.


ChristinCordle12 profile image

ChristinCordle12 5 years ago

Great article!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

hubahubahuba1, thank you. That's amazing that you placed your pet rooster there.


hubahubahuba1 5 years ago

Sorry for misspelling rooster!


hubahubahuba1 5 years ago

It may be our roaster (mainland looking) we placed there. Thought it was a better home since our neighbor complained and has already abused our dogs. We had heard about the chicken lady. We are in Maui Meadows. Now our neighbor reported our hens to the homeowners association for us to get rid of them. Our hens are hand held domesticated pets so the roaster you described sounds like the one we had. He loved to be petted before he ate. We went back a few times to see him doing well but haven't been there lately. I praise the chicken lady for her dedication to these beautiful animals. Please continue as we need more compassionate people in this world like you. To get honor, is to give honor and to get respect, is to give respect I learned from an elementary teacher here on Maui.


Pat Dubé 5 years ago

Ha ha! Besides chickens, I'm a pretty good "people whisperer", too. I guess you just gotta listen and care, that's all I can attribute it to. :))


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Pat Dube, I laughed when I read how you deduced your way to the decision. You're smart. You would make a good sleuth.


Pat Dubé 5 years ago

I came to that conclusion because of the passionate way you spoke out for these chickens and it seemed to me that you either would have had to go VERY often with your friend to find out some of the intricate details, such as, pulling the lever behind her seat to open the trunk, or you would have to have been your own friend. I realized I could be wrong but decided to make a guess and see if you confirmed it or not.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Fossillady, yes it is an interesting situation here. And the chickens are respected by the cats due to the hens and roosters' sharp beaks. The cats leave the little chicks alone, too, for the most part. Thanks for reading this hub.


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Personally, I like chickens and roosters cause my grandmother loved them so. Interesting situation with them and the cats of Maui.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Pat, I had to re-read this to see how you came to that conclusion. Thanks for reading this hub. I like the name your husband dubbed you with -- 'the chicken whisperer'.


Pat Dubé 5 years ago

So YOU'RE the chicken lady!! Ha ha. I love chickens!! We had some chickens for awhile (or my son did) and they would come to my door and call for me and talk to me. My husband used to call me the "chicken whisperer." They sure can make you feel needed and loved. Thanks for sharing.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Priscilla, Aloha. Thank you for reading my hub.


Priscilla Starks 6 years ago

Informative and fun..thanks for sharing. I have seen the chicken lady you speak of and I believe she drives a white car now. God bless her.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you. Yes, I did take the photos. I love the patterns on the hen's feathers, so I take a hundred photos and always plan on doing some paintings -- but I rarely do. Thanks for reading this.


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Yes, now I know why the chicken crossed the road. haha. Nicely written. Once again, beautiful pictures. Did you take those photographs?


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

May we all know a chicken lady..!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

You're welcome. Thanks for stopping in.


MCWebster profile image

MCWebster 6 years ago

I loved this article and applaud the chicken lady for her dedication, kindness and courage. Thanks for sharing, Pamela!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you, u neek. Your titles look interesting. I'll be reading some this weekend.


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

The Chicken Lady is humanity at its best. Thanks for sharing her story.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Hi Cliff. You lucky, lucky person to have those companions. I LOVE the Lory birds. I try to draw and paint them. I LOVE the African Greys. When we moved from Arizona to here we didn't want to put our Kalani through the trauma of the airplane ride, so we left her (or him?) at The Oasis in Southern Arizona. It's a wonderful sanctuary for birds. The Greys have their own flight aviary of 40' x 40', so they actually get to fly. But I do wish we hadn't left her behind. I like to think she's happier there....but she was pretty attached to us.


killrats(cliff) 6 years ago

Every nice indeed. We say animals and birds are stupid, I don't think so. I have a Chattering Lory that lets me know if there is someone at my gate. My African Grey's (3)will literally ask for their supper if I am a bit late. I get a blast of Come Dad supper time NOW.

Have a great day


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you, Butterfly Lady. I'm just on my way now to feed dem chickens. (-:


Butterfly Lady profile image

Butterfly Lady 6 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

Beautifully written article and beautful pictures. I'm sure chicken lady will have a great reward coming her way in the by and by. Animals were put her for us to protect and cultivate, I think. Shame on those wo do not get it. Saw your comment on my sight. Thanks for stopping by.

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