Sunday, August 19, 2012

The "Real Life" Aloha Chickens

Recently, I won a trip to Hawaii via an online sweepstakes.  (Really!  My cousin won a trip to the Bahamas years ago, too.  Many online sweepstakes are legit.)  I got to bring one person, and chose my sister.  I let her pick the island, and she chose Kauai, where I'd never been before.

Our stay was at the awesome Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation:

I'd stayed at their Keahou Beach Resort a few times in Kona, because that hotel is located next to BEST snorkel spot on the Big Island.  (And they give you a free full breakfast to boot.  This is major for Hawaii.  Food is pricey.  Unlimited bacon anywhere on the Big Island is a serious bonus.)

But that was on another island.  Like I said, this was my first visit to Kauai.  I didn't know what to expect.

Yes, this is the view from the room.
Our Kauai condo was gorgeous and overlooked a grassy lawn, dotted with palm trees.  Behind that was the ocean.  I'd read in the Kauai guidebook to expect lots of chickens, which had me kind of nervous because my sis is a VERY light sleeper.  While the sound of roosters is nothing but music to my ears, I understand that others may not share my affection.  Well, Outrigger must have a chicken-hunter on staff or something, because we only saw two chickens on the property the entire week.

Lots of flowers at the Outrigger Kiahuna, but no chickens.
Down the road a mile on Poipu Beach, it was another story.  Chickens everywhere!

A lovely dark hen and her chicks.  Poipu Beach, July 2012.
The funny thing is I gave my fledgling chicken breed the "Aloha" name because I thought their spotted coats in a rainbow of colors would (hopefully) look like the wildly colorful Aloha shirts worn in our lovely tropical state.

And yes, I had seen wild chickens, both on the Big Island and in Maui.  Here's a shot of some Maui beggars when I visited in 2011.   But none of these chickens were spotted or colorful, they were just the typical "wild" brown.  So it was chickens like these ones I'd seen before, that I thought of:

A proud mama hen in Maui, May 2011. 

Begging for treats at a Maui car rental outfit.

So imagine my surprise when I get to Kauai, and discover REAL Aloha chickens!  There was a variety of colors, and while most were solid, about one in ten was mottled.  Leg color varied, and was slate, pink/white, or yellow, often within the same flock.

Mottling on this hen is great camouflage.
This hen was in a nearby Botanical Garden.
Up in a tree in Poipu Beach - not the same hen.
My favorite hen was very bashful but you can really see the resemblance between her and my Ginger girls.  I would have snagged this little hen for my Aloha flock if I could!  Sorry for the poor photos, she wouldn't let me get too close.  But her color and level of mottling were just gorgeous:

Chosen by nature, these hardy chickens were tough, small, with upright fantails and excellent fliers.  Shockingly, they looked very much like the small Alohas running around my back yard!

A great vacation, and as a bonus, I ended up with lots of "chicken swag" because Kauai is very proud of their chickens.  I bought a chicken mug, chicken stickers for my car, and my boyfriend got a rooster t-shirt.  I also carried a bag of bread with me everywhere I went to feed the chickens.  (I especially loved the hens with tiny chicks in tow.)

So, unlike the mythical Chupacabra or Sasquatch, I now have proof that Aloha chickens are real.  There are colorful spotted chickens who live on a beautiful beach in Hawaii, where they frolic and play all day long. Who would have thought?

"KONA" - Foundation Aloha Hen, 2009.

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