Maui mayor wants Humane Society to combat feral chicken problem
WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The administration of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa has asked the Maui Humane Society to begin responding to a feral chicken problem that was responsible for a power outage at Kahului Airport last month.
People on Maui said the island's feral chicken population is increasing.
On YouTube, several people have posted video of a colony of feral cats and chickens that live together in a park off the Hana Highway, natural enemies living side-by-side in the wild.
On February 26, Maui Electric Company reported a feral chicken got into a transformer and caused a power outage at nearby Kahului airport, rent a car offices, an airport hotel and other businesses for about a half hour.
Tricia Canon, the office manager at Kula Hardware in upcountry Maui, said she's hearing from more and more customers about the chicken problem.
"We have been having a lot of inquiries about, you know, how to get rid of it. Especially because the roosters, they don't know the time, and they crow all times of the day and night now," Canon said.
Arakawa is proposing a nearly $200,000 increase in Maui Humane Society's budget and is asking the society to use some of that funding to develop a response to the island's feral chicken problem.
Humane Society officials said that increase merely brings its funding back to 2009 levels, but it will try to look for low-cost ways to address the wild chicken population on Maui, according to The Maui News newspaper.
Back at the hardware store, people are busy asking for advice on killing the critters.
"I have a lot of customers come in and ask if we have any kind of weapons that help like bb guns or slingshots, or so forth, that they can purchase. And we tell them that those things just stun them. It doesn't really do anything," Canon said.
Wild chickens aren't plump like the ones found in the grocery store so they're not good tasting to eat. As a result there's no motivation for people to kill them for a meal, according to Maui residents who've tasted them.
"It's better for chicken soup," said Gary Fuller, a retired general contractor who lives in Kihei.
Maui officials are concerned the chicken nuisance will grow into a more severe island wide problem experienced by Kauai. That island experienced an increase in its wild chicken population when many chickens in coops and cages escaped following destruction by Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
Beth Tokioka, a spokeswoman for Kauai County, said "there's no formal program of chicken eradication on Kauai."
The Kauai Humane Society and some private businesses help landowners such as resorts control wild chicken populations on their properties, Tokioka said.
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