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Farming
Indigenous plants
Introduced plants
Domesticated animals
Growing seasons and weather knowledge
Farming methods and implements
Water
Taro
Makahiki
Farming Sources



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Domesticated animals

Along with their plant stocks, the first settlers brought three domesticated animals: dogs, chickens and pigs. All three were food sources for Polynesians, even the dogs that lived close to humans but were not generally kept as companions or watchdogs. The Hawaiian Islands supported no indigenous land mammals (except a type of bat). Protein in the Hawaiian diet generally came from fish and other seafood and domesticated animals.

The moa, or chicken, was raised principally as food, though Hawaiians also trained cocks for fighting. Hawaiians ate chicken meat, eggs and the eggs of other non-domesticated fowl such as owls. The chicken's black tail feathers were used to make kahili (feather standards).

Hawaiians bred their pua`a or pigs in large numbers for food and religious offerings. Pig leg bone shafts were shaped into fishhooks; curved tusks were pierced and strung into kupe`e or wristlets. Maka`ainana (commoners) ate pork on occasion and also gave pigs as taxes to overlords and chiefs. The animals were generally free to roam the village and surrounding area. Wild pigs ate kukui nuts, mountain apple and fern roots; domestic pigs were fed and fattened on cooked taro and sweet potato, bananas and breadfruit. Adult pigs grew to 250 or 300 pounds. They were killed by strangling and usually cooked in an underground oven, or imu.

`Ilio, or dog, meat was judged tastier by Hawaiians than pork. Large numbers of dogs were raised for eating and baked dogs served as the principal meat at certain feasts. Unlike the pua`a, there was no food for dogs in the wild. Hawaiians fed them poi, cooked sweet potato and fish or pork broth. Puppies were occasionally kept as pets but fattened puppies were also considered a delicacy. In addition to being eaten, dogs' hair and teeth were formed into piercing instruments, fishhooks and decorative ornaments.

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