Roost­ers dumped road­side

North Waikato News - - OUT & ABOUT - TE AHUA MAIT­LAND

It’s a tough life for an un­wanted rooster.

You’re ban­ished from the city and your own­ers wish you were a hen. They can’t bear to kill you and the kids have be­come at­tached.

Hun­dreds of roost­ers end up on ru­ral roads, high­ways, re­serves and parks around New Zealand. There are cock­fights, lack of food and wa­ter, run-ins with dogs and the risk of get­ting hit by a car.

And it’s not just the roost­ers that pay the price. Don’t for­get the crow­ing: all day and night some­times.

Waikato Poul­try and Pi­geon Club pres­i­dent Fiona Tay­lor said roost­ers are get­ting a bad name. ’’It makes poul­try peo­ple look bad and chick­ens look bad as well. And it’s the own­ers who signed up to look af­ter them and didn’t fin­ish the job.’’

In the poul­try world, hens rule the roost. Peo­ple want hens be­cause they pro­duce eggs.

Tay­lor said the prob­lem is there is no way to tell the sex of a new­born chick early on. ’’It can take around five to six months be­fore it starts crow­ing for you to fig­ure out it’s a boy,’’ she said. ‘‘But by that time, you’ve be­come at­tached to it. You can’t find a new home and you don’t feel com­fort­able to kill them.’’

Tay­lor said dump­ing roost­ers is ir­re­spon­si­ble and not in the best in­ter­est of the an­i­mal.

‘‘That rooster has been cared for as a do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mal, so once it is set free, it is noth­ing short of cruel. It hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily got the sur­vival in­stincts for food to pre­vent him from go­ing hun­gry.

‘‘So it just gives the bird a bad rep­u­ta­tion. They’re seen as a nui­sance, as a pest.’’

Tay­lor said roost­ers should be treated like cats and dogs.

‘‘If you could imag­ine the out­cry of peo­ple for tak­ing a dog and dump­ing it or tak­ing a cat and dump­ing it, and it goes from get­ting daily food and wa­ter to be­ing dumped in the wild - it should be no dif­fer­ent.’’

NZTA Waikato/ BOP high­ways man­ager, Ni­clas Jo­hans­son said roost­ers are oc­ca­sion­ally spot­ted around the Waikato.

Some ar­eas where roost­ers and other poul­try in­clud­ing ducks are spot­ted in­clude on the side of SH1 around Hy­dro Road in Huntly.

‘‘While it is up­set­ting that these un­wanted an­i­mals are dumped off at these sites, we do not con­sider them to be a ma­jor safety con­cern to road users in the re­gion.’’ Waikato District Al­liance, a joint ven­ture be­tween Downer New Zealand and Waikato District Coun­cil, has won a best prac­tice award for its work on the Ro­to­waro cul­vert re­place­ment.

The Al­liance were pre­sented joint win­ners in the small site cat­e­gory for the team’s proac­tive ap­proach to ero­sion and sed­i­ment con­trol on ‘‘dif­fi­cult and rapidly chang­ing sites dur­ing the con­struc­tion of cul­vert struc­tures’’.

The re­gional coun­cil also con­grat­u­lated the Al­liance on their proac­tive ap­proach and great com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them dur­ing the con­struc­tion. They were also thanked for keep­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the work to a min­i­mum.

Waikato District Al­liance Man­ager Doug Car­rasco said it was pleas­ing to see such a col­lab­o­ra­tive project get the recog­ni­tion it de­served.

The project was pulled to­gether very quickly in April due to the key work needed on the cul­vert. The tricky en­vi­ron­ment and the fact Ro­to­waro Rd was a ru­ral road meant the com­mu­nity was af­fected by a lengthy de­tour. ’’In ac­cept­ing this award we want to thank ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially the com­mu­nity, for their ef­forts and un­der­stand­ing while we com­pleted this work,’’ Car­rasco said.

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil say the num­ber of en­tries and nom­i­na­tions in this year’s awards re­flected the wide range of dif­fer­ent projects be­ing un­der­taken across the re­gion from small scale per­mit­ted ac­tiv­i­ties to large scale road­ing projects.

Peo­ple dump their un­wanted roost­ers at a spot known as ‘The Divi’, near Raglan.

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