Over 7,250 Feral Chickens Culled To Date

February 19, 2013

[Updated w/SPCA response] The Department of Conservation Services has culled over 7,250 feral chickens to date, they said today in response to comments from the SPCA about birds and cats being poisoned due to the chicken culling programme.

A statement from the Department said, “While difficult, the management of feral chickens is absolutely necessary. Feral chickens are causing significant damage to farmers’ crops and threatened habitats. They are also a constant source of nuisance to many home-owners and institutions, as well as a potential health risk for carrying viruses such as salmonella.

“To date the Department of Conservation Services has received 103 requests for assistance from residences, schools, charities, senior housing and public agencies.

A map, provided by the Department, showing the area that feral chickens have been culled is below:

Feral Chickens Culled feb 2013 (2)

“The Department strives to manage this problem as humanely as possible by targeting only feral chickens and when using a sedative bait [not poison as stated in the SPCA press release], as a last recourse, hand feeding under supervision. The sedative is used when trapping has proven unsuccessful or not feasible.

“The sedative [alpha-chloralose] is fast-acting, painless and any bird who consumes it has a high percentage change of recovery, dependent on the amount eaten. It is also bird-specific and not very effective on mammals. Bread is purposefully chosen as the bait as it is unlikely to be consumed by threatened species such as Blue Birds.

“The culling process is a two-step process. The sedative bait stupefies the birds so they may be easily caught and then they are euthanized using accepted humane methods. If a bird is unintentionally sedated it has a good chance of a full recovery if kept warm and in a well-ventilated dark box

“Every effort is made to remove all bait prior to leaving the site. Furthermore, contact is made with land owners prior to any baiting procedures.

“In developing Conservation Services’ management strategy consideration was given to using feral chickens as food but rejected due to the poor quality of the meat, unknown food sources and high processing cost compared to that of store bought chicken.

“Additionally, the idea of developing a chicken farm was also not found to be cost-effective and that the majority of feral birds would not be suitable for breeding or egg-laying.

“Furthermore, hens only have a relatively short laying life. This would leave a significant portion of feral chickens either unproductive or unsellable. Similarly, it is estimated there are a huge number of roosters (approx. 50% or 15,000) which would not have any use.

“Another idea was that of selling the feathers on the international market for use in plastics, in paper pulp or textiles. However, the export of feathers would most likely not be commercially viable given the high cost to clean, sort and bag the feathers – as well as high fuel costs to export. The export of eggs would face similar problems.

“To date the Department has culled over 7,250 feral chickens with a minimum impact on non-targeted bird species and mammals. The Department regrets this incident and will review its baiting procedures to minimize the possibility of future events.

“The government would like to continue to encourage the Public to keep domesticated chickens but wishes to restate that they must be responsibly kept in a coop as it is an offense under the Summary Offenses Act 1926 to allow poultry to wander off your property. To put in a pest bird control request please visit www.conservation.bm.”

Last summer Government estimated that there are over 30,000 feral chickens roaming the island, a number which they said was continuing to grow.

Update: A SPCA spokesperson said, ““Whilst I understand why Conservation Services would want to avoid the use of the word ‘poison’ by telling the general public that they are only sedating the birds this gives the impression that the SPCA are incorrect in our investigation.

“Alpha-Chloralose is a well -known pest control product in Europe where it is used for mouse and pigeon control. In small doses and in larger animals and birds there may be a chance of recovery but in high doses and in smaller birds ingestion is fatal. It is marketed as a pest control poison product not an animal sedative”.

They also provided links — such as this one from the Australian Government — which described alpha-chloralose as a “poison.”

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Comments (42)

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  1. smith says:

    After having stayed a weekend at Grotto Bay 2 years ago, I have never returned after having to listen to feral chickens waking us up at 5am. When paying $300 per night I expected more serene noises like the whistling frogs and lapping waves..not wild chickens. Glad action is being taken at Blue Hole/Grotto Bay.

    • Nuffin but de Truth! says:

      so I guess you didnt book any Alarm Calls with the Reception Desk!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Didn’t hear the JFK or MIA flights leaving?

  2. Will says:

    30,000 to go!

  3. We See Behind The Curtain Fahy... says:

    I bet the OBA wishes they could do this to “bermudians” (we know what that term realy means)who are not stupified by their genius economic rehabilitation measures…

    Just kidding all…that was a pretty lame comment. But you know someone out there is thinking it – that is the sad part.

    • Seriously? says:

      You really are an idiot. We will disregard your comment as we all know someone of your type.

    • Ganja Bus says:

      Ya you were thinking it….now f**k off

  4. Chris P Bacon says:

    And people pay good money at KFC for the same thing!

  5. Bianca Devereaux says:

    This is mind boggling to me. Considering that we are in a recession / depression, and assuming that it’s safe, wouldn’t those chickens have provided a great source of food from the chicken meat and eggs, in addition to creating jobs for those out of work?

    Or at the very least, offer the chickens to family to keep coops for eggs if they wanted.

    7,000 + chickens and eggs could feed alot of stuggling people…

    • AD says:

      Just curious. Is it free computer day up at MAWI or something?

      Read the statement:

      “In developing Conservation Services’ management strategy consideration was given to using feral chickens as food but rejected due to the poor quality of the meat, unknown food sources and high processing cost compared to that of store bought chicken.”

      • Bianca Devereaux says:

        Was that comment called for? Comments such as yours shows the root of what’s wrong with this island: a lack of respect for each other.

        Excuse me for trying to think outside the box.

        • um... says:

          Surely it isn’t “thinking outside the box” if your thought has already been addressed by the department…

          • Mr. Happy says:

            Amazing HOW MANY PEOPLE ONLY READ THE HEADLINE then fall all over themselves scrolling down to make a clever comment.

            The worst offenders are those commenting on work permits and term limits.

      • Come Correct says:

        Plus the growth hormones from store bought chicken gives it a unique flavor. Who wants to eat chickens that feed off of natural bugs and plant seeds? Oh and those high processing costs, because cleaving heads and pulling feathers sounds like neuroscience. I think this entire statement is code for we f@cked up but look we’re doing you a favor, really we are. If those were all hens, that’s roughly 21,000 eggs a day no longer being produced. Why is it that humans have an undying desire to destroy everything natural? Oh right, because when people have the ability to do for themselves the big companies and their distributors lose profit. But hey its a sedative not a poison so if you do decide to eat them you’ll probably just get a good night sleep. Please do not drive or operate heavy machinery while eating feral chickens until you know how it affects you, problems associate with eating sedated chickens are known to be and not limited to random growth of feathers, heavy breathing sometimes resulting in clucking and the urge to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to crow. If problems persist contact your vet immediately.

        • Anbu says:

          Ya and those chickens only eat bugs and seeds……. Sure mate keep dreaming. Sorry but I’m not about to eat any chicken that eats garbage. LMFAO some people…….

    • Out of flight says:

      Then go and catch them .Kill and clean and feed. Or shut up. what a waste of time if you can’t do something.

  6. Eastern says:

    And next…….the feral cats…..the biggest threat to our blue bird population.

    • Micro says:

      Ikr. Something how there’s feed boxes for these cats as well.

    • street wise says:

      As a volunteer for a few years, I thought that BFAB (Bermuda Feline Assistance Board) had the feral cat problem mostly under controll with their feeding stations and spaying programme.

  7. Sorry Sir says:

    Who the hell makes a graph like that?
    Y’all couldn’t have color coded it?

    • AD says:

      Ummm…that’s a map, not a graph. But if you want some colours I’ve got some crayons I could lend you.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Hey, some civil servant most likely spent a week creating that graphic & imagine how many meetings it took to decide to do it. Wonder how much it cost to dispose of each of those chickens? $10? $20?

      If we were allowed to own BB guns the problem would be solved.

  8. Common Sense says:

    It is regrettable if any other creatures are affected by this programme to cull feral chickens, but this is a major environmental problem in Bermuda. I have passed 4 fields this morning that have been planted with new crops just this last week, and in every one there were chickens and roosters digging up or damaging the new plants. In my neighbourhood we are infested with roosters that have no conception of time! The start crowing as early as 2am and will go on for hours. They also attack my garden.

    Please continue this much needed eradication programme.

  9. reader says:

    What does “to date” mean? 1 year? 5 years? Twenty?

  10. 80's Role Model says:


  11. ella says:


  12. Watching On says:

    I just need to know where I can find the eggs. Yummy

  13. Loquatz says:

    According to the map, chickens love de Railway Trail. Maybe they should add a feral chicken event to the End-to-End!

  14. Jolly Rancher says:

    About time something is being done about these chickens!
    I wake up every morning to find my trash is being poked into and then tossed all around the yard its ridiculous! plus my sleepness nights and early wake ups ,Having an alarm clock is so useless now

    • Autumn Fire says:

      You may need our neighbour’s dog – he’s more quiet than those flying rats, but this time, the dog had enough of those pesky chickens and roosters acting like they own the neighborhood. So, when the dog was obviously fed up of being tormented by their presence, he decided to take matters into his own mouth and wrung one of their necks! Seriously, no joke!

      Now, the neighborhood is much quieter, and the few remaining intruders hop by quietly while watching the dog carefully, bUt the dog really couldn’t care less, he the just wants his peace and quiet while laying out in the sun. Well, those noisy vermin have learnt their lesson, and they know they won’t be doing that again!

  15. Bye Bermuda says:

    I am fed up of the sleep deprivation. If conservation services can’t get this under control I will certainly be starting my own culling. Unfortuantly I don’t have access to the same humane methods.

  16. Micro says:

    Idk, our chickens are a great part of our tourism product.

    Of all our tourist attractions the chickens are the only ones that I’ve seen that entirely capture the mind of spirit of visitors young and old alike. It’s quite amazing how much time they spend ogling over and taking pictures of them.

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    Feral chickens! So, that is why the alligators at the Aquarium are looking so fat!

  18. free says:

    Conservation services please continue excellent job this is bermuda not a farm Island

  19. J says:


    There has been an exponential increase in the spider and insect population!!

  20. street wise says:

    Apparently you can eat feral chickens if you have the stomach for them. Once you catch a few, you restrain them, fatten them up for a couple weeks with a proper diet which should eventually eliminate the bugs and nastiness they eat out of their digestive systems… And voila, chicken stew! I wonder if the Philippinos and East Indians eat them? Of course you still have the roosters to deal with. But what do I know? The American processed chicken is loaded with hormones and who knows what….

  21. Marthoga says:

    This is my opinion on the chicken situation.

    1. Government can start a program to have the prisoners build chicken coops.
    2. They can collect the chicks and sell them for $1.00 each or whatever the going cost of chick is. (They can profit from this)
    3. Have a plan whereby if you buy a certain quantity of chicks you get a discount on a chicken coop.
    4. Eggs are expensive and I am sure some people could benefit from having chickens. It would be nice to have fresh eggs everyday.
    5. After all, chickens would be good as a food source. You have fresh eggs to eat, once they stop laying eggs, you have their meat to eat and their manure for your vegetable gardens.

    What is the big problem. Could somebody please explain to me why this cannot be done.

    Also, does anybody know where I can get a chicken coop from and what is the cost of one, because I am seriouly thinking of having a chicken coop in my yard.

  22. Triangle Drifter says:

    Anywhere else they would be called Free Range Chicken & command a premium price in the organic foods department.

  23. Future says:

    Amazing how when one uses the word humane to describe a killing it is all good. (And no I don’t disagree with killing them, just saying).

    I question where is any evidence of poor quality meat etc. from these wild animals. Did someone test it or is it the unfortunate Bermudian “it ain’t from de phackin store therefore it can’t be good bye” nonesense. you people are walking past food to go buy food and crying broke at the same time. wake up.

    As for them eaing from unknown sources, you must be kidding. Anybody who knows anything about the animal slaughter industry knows that the food sources for the meat being bought at your friendly supermarket are often carcasses of other dead animals (processed first of course). And have you seen footage of the conditions mass slaughter animals are kept it? Blindfolded people, wake the heck up. If you don’t look up, the falling brick WILL still hit you.

    PS If you know what is good for you, you wouldn’t be eating any animals at all. Just the facts…