Residents of west Auckland suburb, Titirangi have emerged from isolation to see their feral chicken population has scratched back from the brink and are flapping back to their old tricks.
Titirangi’s chicken woes began when a resident set a clucky couple free to stretch their feathers and roam wild in 2008. Since then, the numbers pecked – sorry, peaked - at 250 in 2019.
After deeming the chickens to be more pesky than plucky, council contractors worked away to humanely capture and re-home the chickens. An issue that was divisive among Titirangi residents; some enjoyed watching the chickens scratch about while others found them a frustrating pest with complaints ranging from blocking traffic to roosters waking people at up dawn.
Plus, the chickens were attracting rats which in turn affected native bird populations.
So with a gentle hit out on them, the feral chicken population was down to two before the Covid-19 lockdown suspended the search.
However, as Greg Presland, Chair of the Waitākere Ranges community board explained, “There’s a very kind-hearted local who feeds them and has kept feeding them so the numbers have started to spike up again. And we’re convinced that there’s been at least two dumping episodes, where someone’s got their chickens and just dumped them in the village.”
Those chickens must be feeling pretty cocky right now. Our only nugget of advice: stay abreast of the situation, lest your chickens come home to roost.