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Honolulu starts pilot program to reduce feral chicken population on Oahu


HONOLULU — Honolulu has hired a pest control company to reduce an explosion of feral chickens on the island.

The city recently gave an $80,000 contract to Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions as part of a pilot project called the Integrated Feral Chicken Management Program, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/1Mn5hbn).

The initiative is meant to address residents' health concerns and complaints about noisy roosters.

It is expected to last four to six months and will target the fowl at 70 city properties, including Waikiki Shell, Hanauma Bay, Kaiaka Bay Beach Park in Haleiwa, Kualoa Regional Park, the Board of Water Supply Manana base yard in Pearl City and multiple golf courses.

As of May, about 1,500 chickens had been counted at city properties. The company caught 25 chickens during the first two days of the pilot project.

The pest control contractors began setting up traps at city properties on Monday. The wire cages have a shade cloth, feed and water. Some have a motion sensor to let the company know when a wild chicken is caught.

Captured chickens will be euthanized in an immersion chamber with carbon dioxide and disposed of at the landfill. The method follows American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines, said Department of Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara.

"The CO2 will be applied in a gradual method so the chicken will go to sleep and not feel any fear or pain in the euthanizing process," she said.

But "no kill" animal advocate Frank DeGiacomo says that the city's approach is inhumane and recommends instead using bait called OvoControl, a bird contraceptive.

DeGiacomo is president of Animal Haven, a Kaneohe-based nonprofit that had the previous city chicken contract. That ended in September 2013

Kajiwara called the previous contract a "reactive approach," in which the nonprofit responded to individual chicken complaints but didn't focus on actively reducing the population.

It's not clear how the wild birds have spread across Oahu. Kajiwara thinks the animals may have been used in cockfights and released when no longer needed.

"This is a more targeted, systematic approach. It's proactive rather than reactive. We will seek out the chickens," she said.

But Kajiwara says private property owners are on their own when it comes to removing the birds.

"We are concentrating where chickens roost and where they propagate," she said.

Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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