Feral chickens plague New Zealand village amid coronavirus lockdown

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While New Zealand has seemingly won its battle against coronavirus, in one village an old nemesis has raised its clucking head – the feral chicken.

Whereas the fewer than 4,000 residents of Titirangi were in lockdown, the village’s feral chickens appear to have spent the time multiplying, The Guardian reported on Wednesday, leaving the village divided and at war with the chickens.


The village’s council have been working to capture and rehome the chickens since their numbers peaked last year to as many as 250.

“It’s reignited old divisions in the village,” Greg Presland, the chair of the Waitākere Ranges community board told The Guardian.

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While some of the village’s residents think the chickens to be a charming face of Titirangi, others have described the situation as “like something out of a Stephen King movie,” The Guardian reported.

The chickens, which cluck loudly throughout the night and morning depriving residents of sleep, has led many to “really hate them,” Presland added, noting that they had also damaged the roots of endangered New Zealand kauri trees in the village.

The council had been relatively successful in its methods to remove the chickens without harming them, with contactors setting up large nets in different parts of the village.

Before the coronavirus came, there were only two chickens left at large in the village.

After lockdown ended however, residents found that the chickens had multiplied.

One resident of Titirangi has been feeding the chickens, Presland told The Guardian, and the village has also been the site of “at least two dumping episodes, where someone’s got their chickens and just dumped them in the village,” he added.

While efforts will continue to eradicate the chickens from the village, the continued feeding of them by one resident will likely allow the feathered menace to continue.

“I know who it is and I can’t make her stop,” Presland said, The Guardian reported. “I’ve tried.”

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