Counting chickens before they hatch for almost 80 years

holding chicksWhen I told Being808 photographer Fernando that we’d meet some cute chicks on our next assignment, he got really excited.

Then he realized we were going to a chicken hatchery.

He deflated a little, but was still happy to go. In fact, we were both looking forward to visiting a locally-owned business that promotes sustainability and living green – and has adorable, fuzzy baby chickens.

Asagi Hatchery didn’t disappoint.

The family-owned business, which has been around since 1935, is tucked among other small businesses on Kanakanui Street in Kalihi. I must have passed it thousands of times on Nimitz Highway, and I never would have guessed it was a chicken hatchery.

Getting to know Asagi Hatchery

When we arrived, we were welcomed by owner Maxie Asagi. We talked in a small reception area, filled with bags of chicken food, feeders, and books on raising chickens, as well as seed packets for your garden and a catalog of fruit trees you can order.

Maxie says keeping a small business afloat in Hawaii is hard, but she’s encouraged that more people are starting to learn about the benefits of raising their own chickens.

What’s more, the trend toward sustainability and green living has enabled the hatchery to diversify into offering garden seeds and young fruit trees. Maxie says they might even venture into carrying bee-keeping supplies and really evolve into a business that caters to whatever you’d have going on in your backyard.

The benefits of raising chickens

I love writing for being808 because I learn so much about so many different things, and interviewing Maxie was no exception.

I was surprised to learn that there are many benefits to owning chickens. They don’t just lay fresh eggs for you. These birds eat all your annoying and dangerous bugs (like roaches and centipedes), generate great plant fertilizer, and make wonderful pets.

To be honest, I wanted to do a story on the hatchery just so that I could carry and pet one of the fuzzy yellow peepers. But it really was a great visit. Maxie gave me a new appreciation for raising chickens, and thinking about how to live sustainably in an urban setting.

Are you interested in taking the plunge? Maxie and her staff are eager to help. You can reach Asagi on Twitter or Facebook. Of course, you can also just drop by their store to say hi and talk chicken.



Jamie Nakasone is a correspondence specialist at HMSA. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with her husband, reading and playing pool. She is taking her journey to better health with tiny steps, and although she describes herself as a “bungling” gardener, she hasn’t given up yet. Follow her on Twitter.

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