Wild roosters a nuisance
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By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer
By Suzanne Roig
Wild chickens have taken over the Hawai'i Kai Park and Ride and they're rousting residents across the marina morning, noon and night.
Sandy Nobunaga, who lives in the townhomes across the marina from the Keahole Street park and ride, has been trying to get relief — and a good night's sleep — since April. At least once a month, she's called or written letters to the city, or the Hawai'i Game Breeders Association, the Hawaiian Humane Society or her city councilman.
Finally she brought her issue to the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board, where she had hoped to find some relief.
"I'm awakened by crowing roosters at 2 a.m. and throughout the day," Nobunaga said. "I've gone full circle with trying to get help with eliminating the feral chickens."
Nobunaga and other residents want all the chickens removed from the area, saying they are a nuisance and a health hazard. Nobunaga also said that the cat colony caretakers who regularly feed the feral cats aren't helping the situation.
Mary Houghton, a member of the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board and regular feral cat caretaker at the park and ride, said she and the others who feed the cats feel that they have a responsibility to keep the animals healthy.
"I will quit feeding the cats as soon as people stop dumping them," Houghton said. "There are several families of caregivers who put food and fresh water our for the cats, and the chickens get to share. I'm very sorry if the chickens wake people up."
The short-term solution is to trap as many of the crowing roosters and hens as possible. The long-term solution is to ban the raising of chickens and roosters in residential areas, said area Councilman Charles Djou. That was tried four years ago, but was shot down, said Djou, adding that the measure never moved past the committee level. It is not illegal to have chickens in residential neighborhoods, under city zoning laws.
In the interim, the city will look at possible solutions, said Sid Quintal, city Enterprise Services Department director and the mayor's representative. Quintal expects to have a solution to discuss at the Feb. 27 Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board meeting (7 p.m. in the Haha'ione Elementary School cafeteria).
"I am saying, if you want chickens and roosters, sure, have them in agricultural areas," Djou said. "I'm not disputing that. I just say they are inappropriate in residential areas, just as cows and goats are in residential areas."
When the measure was before the City Council, Djou said, he obtained assurances from chicken breeders they would self-police.
The Hawai'i Game Breeders Association, which has a contract with the city to remove feral chickens and roosters, said it captured 26 hens in Hale'iwa.
Pat Royos, who is with the Game Breeders Association, said a trap could be brought out right away, but a resident needs to step forward and watch over the trap. Three days before it's set up, a chicken feeding area needs to be set up for 6:30 a.m. and then the trap is brought in, she said.
"We need someone to monitor the traps," Royos said. "Otherwise, someone could steal the traps. We are responsible for taking care of the chicken problem."
The city had hired the Hawaiian Humane Society to capture feral chickens, Djou said. But during the last contract talks, the Humane Society wanted an increase in its fees. When that wasn't forthcoming, it dropped chickens from its list of animals it will pick up, Djou said. The Game Breeders Association agreed to a much lower contract amount.
Last year, some roosters were trapped and removed, Nobunaga said, but not all the hens were removed. A hen can lay as many as 14 eggs at a time.
"I have been woke up every single night since April," said Peter Rudlowski, a marina-front resident who lives across from the park and ride facility. "Something needs to be done about the chickens."
Reach Suzanne Roig at firstname.lastname@example.org.