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Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Laie offers $1
bounty in roundup
of feral chickens

The Laie Boy Scout troop that
captures the most will win
camping equipment

By Leila Fujimori


OK, feral chickens, put your wings up; your days are few. Laie has put a bounty on your heads of $1 each.

And Boy Scouts will be rounding you up.

The Laie Community Association has enlisted the Laie Boy Scouts, who will go out on the roundup for two Saturdays, May 20 and 27. The troop with the most chickens will receive new camping equipment.

How does one round up a chicken?

Gerry Nihipali, the Laie Community Association board member in charge of the roundup, has received suggestions ranging from using throw nets to a rooster strutting tied to a string to attract hens. Some suggested catching them while they sleep at night.

The Hawaiian Humane Society will loan humane traps for chickens at no cost, but recommends calling for availability.

The Scouts will use their method of choice to snare the birds and collect the $1-a-chicken fee.

Barbara Jean Kahawaii says many neighborhood youngsters are experienced in catching chickens. The birds will be boxed, one rooster or two hens per box.

The problem, however, is not unique to Laie.

"I think the problem (of feral chickens) is fairly widespread," said Eve Holt, the Hawaiian Humane Society's spokeswoman. "A lot of people call wanting to borrow traps."

Nihipali said she has received calls from Kahului to Hawaii Kai with similar problems.

What has Laie up in arms about feral chickens?

"They're on your street, in the trees, in the bushes, in the gardens -- all over," Nihipali said.

Kahawaii said there are so many wild chickens running around her Laie neighborhood, she counted 40 in three neighbors' yards one morning.

"One man said he hasn't had a good night's rest in months," Nihipali said. "The roosters on his street crow all night."

For his Eagle Scout project, Robert Kahawaii is gathering and preparing 600 boxes, punching air holes in them, to transport the birds to Wildlife Connection, a nonprofit animal protection group.

There, Cindy Georges will give each chicken a free checkup for disease, broken bones and emaciation, and treat them for internal and external parasites. She will then try to place them in new homes.

Georges says the parasites do not usually transfer to humans, and any diseased chickens will be quarantined.

"It's a fantastic community effort," Georges said. "With enough effort, willpower and teamwork, animal problems can be solved.

Georges is still seeking homes for all the chickens she expects the community will bring in.

Nihipali said they are seeking volunteers with vans or trucks to transport the chickens. Anyone who wants to help round up the birds is welcome, but the $1 incentive is only being extended to the Laie Boy Scouts.

For more information, call Nihipali at 293-9988.

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