Road­side roost

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - CARLY GOOCH

Chick­ens and roost­ers are be­ing dumped on road­sides around New Zealand by poul­try own­ers too gut­less to kill birds that no longer lay or they can’t keep.

The dump­ing of the birds has an­gered an­i­mal lovers who say it is cruel and places the birds at risk.

Nel­son Poul­try As­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber Karen Smith said poul­try dump­ing was cow­ardly.

‘‘If you start a life you should be able to end it as well,’’ she said. ‘‘Why didn’t the own­ers just bop them off? Why didn’t they at least cull them or of­fer them to some­body?’’

The chick­ens left to fend for them­selves in the wild would be ‘‘fairly well pre­dated on’’ by hawks, fer­rets, stoats, rats and wild cats.

Rather than dump­ing them there were ‘‘oo­dles’’ of peo­ple who could find homes for the birds, in­clud­ing poul­try groups, she said.

‘‘There’s usu­ally some­where you can find a home for them.’’

Chick­ens no longer pro­duc­ing eggs and un­wanted roost­ers were be­ing dumped all over the coun­try, Smith said.

‘‘On the poul­try Face­book pages, you quite of­ten get com­ments around that.’’

It is an of­fence un­der the an­i­mal wel­fare act to re­lease an an­i­mal with­out mak­ing sure it can fend for it­self.

The ter­ri­to­rial birds stay where they are left, form­ing colonies.

Some of the hotspots for chicken dump­ing in the re­gion in­clude the Whang­amoa Sad­dle, the Takaka Hill and in the Up­per Moutere area.

Smith said they tended to ‘‘stick within an area once they had found some­where hos­pitable’’.

The good news for the aban­doned poul­try is that plenty of lo­cals en­joyed pick­ing up the strays.

‘‘Peo­ple of­ten stop if they’ve got a chance and grab them if they can.’’

Smith said she had bought chick­ens off a woman who ‘‘did ex­actly that on Up­per Moutere Hill’’.

She knew one gen­tle­man who was ‘‘rapt’’ with the two he had re­cently plucked off the Whang­amoa Sad­dle.

He bought more chick­ens to go with the strays to make them a group and was go­ing to see if he could catch the rest off the sad­dle, she said. Catch­ing the birds was not dif­fi­cult. Chick­ens can’t see in the dark, so scoop­ing them up in the evening while they were perch­ing would be a cinch.

Many un­wanted chick­ens and roost­ers are taken to the SPCA.

Nel­son SPCA em­ployee Ni­cola Blas­dale said it of­ten had roost­ers dropped of which were ‘‘almost cer­tainly dumped’’.

Na­tion­ally, roost­ers are strictly per­mit­ted in ru­ral ar­eas only.

‘‘We quite of­ten have them brought in here as strays by con­cerned mem­bers of the pub­lic. We do strug­gle to find homes for them be­cause there’s only a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple out there that want a rooster.’’

Hast­ings Poul­try and Pi­geon As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Judi McNeur said peo­ple needed to be ed­u­cated about the re­spon­si­bil­ity of chick­ens.

‘‘Chooks will not lay for ever and ever.

‘‘Know that you make a com­mit­ment on an an­i­mal and don’t treat them as dis­pos­able.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.