HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 16, CMC – The Government of Bermuda has launched a programme to eradicate an estimated 30,000 feral or wild chickens .
Calling them “a real nuisance” Public Works Minister Michael Weeks said as well as being a nuisance the wild birds could spread diseases such as bird flu.
At the launch of a new pest management plan on Wednesday, Weeks said the new drive aims to get rid of the pests within three years.
“The problem of feral chickens may seem trivial to some ,however, to the many residents who are affected they are a very real nuisance.
Concerns range from crowing roosters causing sleepless nights and the spreading of trash, to significant economic crop and garden damage, attacks on park users and hotel guests, destruction of threatened habitats in our nature reserves — as well as potential disease vectors for salmonella and bird flu that could impact public health,” Weeks said.
He said the spread of feral chickens had been made worse by inconsiderate owners dumping unwanted birds
Weeks said new legislation would introduce strict penalties to outlaw feeding of feral chickens and the release of birds into the wild.
Proposals to farm wild chickens for meat or eggs or selling feathers on the international market have been ruled out as not being cost-effective, he said.
A fine of close to US$3,000 could be imposed on people who let birds stray off their property.
Feral chickens are derived from domestic chickens that have returned to the wild.