SPCA Expresses Concern Over Bird Poisonings

February 18, 2013

[Updated with video] The SPCA said they are urging Conservation Services to “review their procedures after the third incident since November 2012 where members of the public have come across significant numbers of dead and dying birds of all species following an operation to poison feral chickens.”

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

The SPCA said, “In the first incident near the Grotto Bay Hotel the SPCA were called out as a result of a cat being poisoned and found 3 collapsed feral chickens in the vicinity.

“The second incident the following day concerned mainly sparrows and doves which were found littering the grass near the Blue Hole Car Park. An unconscious chicken was also recovered.

“Today members of the public out walking in Lagoon Park found a similar sight when they came across Starlings, a Kiskadee and some ground doves that had eaten poisoned bait. A starling and the Doves were still alive when found by the public.

SPCA Inspector Roberts said “Whilst an argument can be made for controlling the feral chicken population this should be done in a humane and responsible manner. I had a meeting with Mr. Pettit from Conservation Services when they initially started the program and was given a copy of the Governments Feral Chicken Management Plan.

“It seems clear to me that when we get large scale poisoning of non-target species then they cannot be following their own guidelines. There have been incidents of cats being poisoned in addition to wild birds. I have spoken with Mr. Pettit and again had assurances that they will look closely at how they undertake these operations.

“I would urge anyone finding significant numbers of dead birds or even birds that look as if they have been poisoned to contact the SPCA on the 24 hour emergency number 737-11Q8. Even though feral chickens are considered by many to be a pest that does not mean that they can be treated inhumanely or cruelly.

“Only Conservation Services staff using approved methods can lay poisoned bait for feral chickens, anyone else is committing an offence under The care and Protection of Animals Act 1975″.

“The SPCA is interested in any reports of cats or dogs being poisoned so please ask your veterinary surgeon to contact the SPCA Inspectorate Department who will investigate”, Inspector Roberts concluded.

Some of the affected birds are shown below, click to enlarge:

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  1. Over 7,250 Feral Chickens Culled To Date | Bernews.com | February 19, 2013
  1. Limey says:

    Grotto bay putting dead birds in a trash compactor by the kitchen. Ewwwww

  2. Lets hope says:

    Are you kidding me? What brain child thought of this. Why don’t they hire David Burrows to trap the chickens like he used to.

    • OMG says:

      Because he is too expensive and hardly catches anything. This was only his part time job as his full time is as a fireman so I doubt he could keep up with the huge job of getting rid of the feral birds.

    • Judy Corday says:

      I totally agree with you. Mr. Burrows did a good job, but he needs help. OR….. with all the people out of work, let them build traps for the chickens and then collect them alive.
      Give a reward for each chicken brought in.
      I also think every bottle or soda can should have a reward. Let’s clean up not only the chicken epidemic, but the trash too.

      signed: Just Me

  3. Pilot001 says:


  4. Stop Complaining for 1 Sec says:

    Hey at least they put them in the trash, in some countries they would have been put on the menu

  5. blessings says:

    These fools don’t realize that all birds swoop on the poison bait set for the wild chickens and would be dying off in particular kiskadees, pigeons and sparrows. They should be prosecuted.

  6. CommonSense says:

    They won’t do anything until a white bird gets poisoned. jk, seriously though poison is not the answer there must be a better solution.

    • Um Um Like says:

      Tell me why none of the white birds ever get poisoned!?! It must be related to the term limit abolishment.

      As for a better solution, how about food for the hungry?

  7. Observant says:

    Why use poison at all???? It’s not as though feral chickens or pet cats or dogs can tell that it’s only intended for feral chickens…

    Use something else, for crying out loud! If I found that “Conservation” Services was using poison in my area to control feral chickens, I’d have a bunch of seriously PO-d cats and dogs at home, because I wouldn’t let them out for fear of any of them ingesting this stuff.

    I really think the use of poisons of any sort is irresponsible and cruel.

    • AD says:

      What “something else” would you suggest? Traps don’t work, paying someone to shoot them is inefficient, so any other ideas.

      We had a chicken problem in our area, Conservation took care of it using this chemical – great job guys.

      Seems to me we have a couple of isolated incidents where the use of the chemical that puts the feral chickens to sleep was not propertly supervised. It should be properly supervised in the future, end of story.

      • Seriously??? says:

        You’re so uninformed! Do you know anything about this poison? Would you be so complimentary if one of your pets ingested it? It’s simply outrageous! And really a lazy, poorly thought out solution to an ongoing problem. “Department of Conservation Services”???
        You have got to be kidding!

        • AD says:

          As I am so uninformed, would you care to enlighten me?

          As you are so knowledgeable perhaps you could suggest an alternate solution to this one which in my experience has been successful.

          As I said it seems to be a case of needing to more properly supervise the use of the chemical, to prevent accidental ingestion by pets.

        • AD says:

          The chemical used is known as alpha-chloralose, and its a sedative not a poison, but what do I know I’m apparently uninformed.

  8. wo. says:

    so.. this is why i found a dead bird on bermuda college’s campus with its eyes open..i found it strange but had no idea this was happening! it was a stupid idea from the start; any person with a pet or who likes animals will know not just chickens will go for that poisoned bait.. i worry for any birds that have been blown here from the winds the past few weeks.. for all we know we would have a rare species on our island and could have killed it..sad.

  9. Michael Simmons says:

    Holy crumbs!!! Seems so crazy to me that there is a policy to kill these feral chickens in a time when people are losing jobs, their homes, and going HUNGRY… amazing!!! Bermuda needs to wake up. Why not take a portion of one of these empty golf courses and create chicken farms and more agricultural crops so that we can feed the country!! Lets get self sufficient and stop relying solely on foreign companies coming in here. we have solutions staring us right in the face..but we choose to ignore. Why is that? Free range chicken much better to consume anyway…much better and healthier than the steroid-infused Tyson and Purdue junk being sold at the supermarkets!

    And perhaps another crazy idea..but a local chicken production might just create jobs. Maybe some of the islands disfranchised youth..the ones running around in gangs… could be employed. I would love to see us try something different.

    • street wise says:

      I’m told wild chickens are a bit stringy with very little meat on their bones. Must try one sometime. NOT.

      • Michael Simmons says:

        true they are less meaty…but the ‘fat’ that you seem to like from the grocery store bought chickens are a result of the feed given to them…which is filled with steroids and is ultimately harmful to you.

        but just expand your thoughts a bit…these feral chickens are producing baby chicks at quite a fast rate…so rounding them up and farming them would lead to perhaps better quality offspring..and better for consumption.

    • K.T.B. says:

      Finally,somebody with some sense! I was thinking the exact same thing.

  10. custom services says:

    I have, can ,and will catch any feral chickens that are being a pest to anyone, anywhere, using my traps or at night by hand. All it takes is a little cooperation from you, and the appropriate fee and I will rid your yard of them, humanely. 505 4628.

  11. Andrew A. says:

    I have caught a few in my day and people have eaten them. So why are they being poisoned? They should be eaten, just like the lionfish! Eat them to beat them!(if they are such a pest, which they are, especially if you have fields)

  12. Christine Franklin says:

    Please … remove the poison now, this is not an alternative method to reduce the chicken population. If other species are able to get into the poison, what will be next – a dog, a child ….

  13. Just us says:

    Now this is what I call a lack of education! Is there a possibility that this poison can wash into our ocean and do the same to the fish?

  14. idiots are stupid says:

    godd@mn brainless people in charge of this operation!

    if you had any brain cells you would realize that it affects THE WHOLE FOOD CHAIN! this poison goes from one animal to another, and poisons the whole ecosystem!

    you people are so godd@mn stupid it is a crime!

    International studied recently proved that ant poison ends up in frogs which ends up in birds, which ends up in other animals – and so forth!

    you are killing off innocent animals, and in turn frogs, insects, everything will be poisoned. including ground and water etc.

    JEEEEEEEEZ!!!! only in Bermuda!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    the fact they are poisoning the animals is barbaric, as poison gives a slow painful torturous death.

    also why kill the birds at all? dont you morons realize in a global crisis, that those freakin chickens WILL BE OUR ONLY MAIN FOOD SOURCE!!!!!!!!!

    leave it up to Bermudians to chop down all the frikkin trees, and to kill off all the food. WOW WE ARE SOOOO SMART!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • AD says:

      Easy there, let’s calm down a bit.

      As I understand it the chemical is used to put the chickens to sleep, the chickens are then collected and killed (while asleep) and disposed off. Any remaining chemical is then collected so it doesn’t remain in the environment.

      As for using the feral chicken population as a food source in this “global crisis” – which I presume is the upcoming zombie apocalypse, I think I’ll go for tuna instead, do you know how difficult it is to catch a chicken? :)

  15. WTF is wrong with people?? says:

    All I want to know is, if my cat eats this poison (I live close to the college) and dies, who do I sue? Because a law-suit WILL happen!!

    • The facts says:

      I recommended keeping your cat indoors or if you must let him out be sure to keep a eye on him/her when they return. Poison is not as fast moving in a larger mammal so the effects will take much longer. It’s not the poison that you should fear the cat is ingesting its a dead/dying poisoned bird, the poisons effects will take much longer to affect your cat as it has already passed through another animal and it will be eating the tainted meat not the poison itself. At any sign your animal is suffering from a “cross over” poisoning (the cat will begin to pace rapidly, or any other very odd or peculiar behavior) call your vet immediately and they will be able to administer a vitamin supplement to counteract the effects of the poison.

  16. me says:

    Soon there will be more chicken’s then the population of Bermudians!

    • tinee says:

      we clearly have a chicken problem get rid of the chickens
      the have destroyed gardens we dont want to look like jamaica

  17. The facts says:

    There are no other options, sadly other birds and wildlife will come into contact with the poison that are not the intended target. Now in saying that the feral chicken population has sky rocketed and we’ve seen a decrease in both native and endemic species from introduced pests such as the house sparrows and European starlings, but none as destructive as feral chickens, both to public and private land but also important endemic and native species feeding and breeding grounds. All other methods have been proven unsuccessful only dismantling small “flocks” of the ferals. The chemical if used correctly cuts back large numbers of the ferals. As I have caught numerous in my time and eaten quite a few I can say from the “farming aspect” it proves invaluable these are not meat chickens they have returned to a wild bird state and the extra meat weight would cause them to become slow and be unable to avoid predators. The birds have created a massive problem for our island if a few other birds must suffer for the big picture of removing the feral chickens on our island then the pros outway the cons. I commend conservation services for their work and I’ve personally seen a major decline in the areas where the populations had become far too large.

  18. Truth is killin' me... says:

    I wondered why I saw a dead longtail on the beach at Elbow. I should have taken a picture. What’s wrong with these idiots putting down poison!!!

    • AD says:

      Ummm – Longtails eat fish…in the ocean. I’m pretty sure the Conservation department has not been going around lacing fish with chicken poison. I mean…wow.

  19. Annette says:

    You come in my Vincinty and kill my animals feel sorry for you remember they are someone’s pet leave them
    The he– a lone .b—–ds.

  20. @WTF Not to worry, if your cat dies I got a couple of breeder running wild around my way. I will drop you off a few.

  21. $hits&Giggles says:

    The “poison” that they are using is actually meant to make the chickens sleepy so that they can actually catch them. Have you ever tried to chase a chicken? Yeah, its close to impossible.

  22. Soldier says:

    For Pete’s sake call Burrows cut him a deal and have lets get rid of the chickens before someone’s child or pet gets poisioned. If he can get me 2 pretty roosters I will take them Ag Show is coming up :)

  23. Family Man says:

    Have you seen how much Supermart charges for free range chickens?

    And government says we have 30,000 of them free for the taking. Conservation services should be giving lessons on how to pluck and clean chickens!


    i wish someone would get rid of all the damn pigeons that are around.

  25. free says:

    When you go fishing and catch a fish its ok you eat it and it is dead are you complaining about the dead fish thats in your belly no im sure conservation services is doing a great job when tourist come to the island they wonder if its a zoo they just dont poison cats either so get educated you that just wants to run your hands on the computer.

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

    I pity the fool exposing homself to this poison daily.
    I also pity the fools who think Feral chickens are a big deal…get some fencing and a dog – chicken problem over.

  27. farmers friend says:

    I doubt if any of the above comments come from people ( such as farmers, dairy-man) who rely on their crops growing to produce food for Bermuda and maintain a livelihood for their families and employees. The Dept Of Conservations Svcs should be commended for doing a favor to all of Bermuda. Not only are the chickens a problem, but kiskadee’s, starlings, crows and pigeon’s destroy crops, citrus,hedges and much more. This method of culling is humane and must continue so that we are not overtaken by these 2 legged pests !!

  28. loquat tree says:

    Recc. Ovocontrol. A type of contraceptive ( distributed via feeding stations) for birds. Can be used in conjunction with trapping.
    Takes longer, but v. effective and no birds or animals are killed.