Okay folks, I have to confess – I am chicken. I haven’t talked directly with the chicken lady about the roosters because I hate confrontation. I called Jeremiah to see if she had called him back about removing just the roosters. (See Fire Dancing Rooster Catchers.) No, and he’s not interested in coming back. Rats.
I’ve been dreading this, but I can’t stand the crowing noise anymore, and neither can my husband. While Kim and Thomas were painting my bedroom, I had been sleeping out in the living room in the front of the house. There I was startled out of sleep at 3 in the morning every day. But the real noise happens at 5 am when the seven roosters start calling back and forth to each other. It is non-stop. I actually counted the seconds between calls and the highest I got to was five seconds. That’s at best, 12 crows per minute, 720 in an hour, and they crow on and on for 2 hours.
They start up again in late morning and early afternoon. Same deal, calling to each other and trying to impress the ladies. Even the less mature roosters have their little harems. So even when they are in their own yard, they are driving us crazy. It is clearly time for action. Of course I said that when I put my ad on Craigslist for rooster catchers.
First issue to settle – are the the rooster owners zoned for agriculture? If so, I don’t have a leg to stand on. I drove to Kona to visit with the County Planning Department in person. We looked up the address and checked out the property on their color coded computer maps. Nope, it is not zoned agricultural as she had told Jeremiah and Bruce. Yippee! The Mamane Street lot is zoned commercial, and the lot across the street from us (same owner) is zoned residential. I picked up a bunch of complaint forms, got the plot number and address of the property, the name of the property owners and left feeling armed to handle the situation.
Then I went to talk with my neighbors. They hate the roosters too. They were happy to take the complaint form and fill it out, even pass it on to other neighbors. But the form asks if we have tried to settle the matter with the offender in person. I asked if anyone would go with me to talk with her. They all declined. They are either “friendly” with her and don’t want to jeopardize their relationship, or they are afraid of her. Gulp. That leaves me to do it myself (said the little red hen).
So I dragged my husband out of his lair and made him accompany me. We were cordial in our discussions – even shook hands in greeting. But she said that she was a victim of the chickens too – they aren’t her chickens. “But you call them, you feed them, they roost under your house.” She admitted to feeding them a little rice every now and then, but only to keep them from wandering into her place and pooping all over.
She asked when we moved here. “We’ve been here 15 months.”
“Oh, new-comers. I’ve been here 28 years and the chickens have been here at least half that amount of time. This is Honoka’a. The land is zoned ag.” Nope – I told her that I went to the Planning Department and checked. It is not zoned for agriculture.
Then she told us that she captured and took about 40 chickens to the Humane Society about four years ago. Holy Cow – no wonder the woman who lived here before me moved to Las Vegas – even LV has to be quieter. Anyway, they are overrunning the neighborhood again. She said she doesn’t see them in the day, even though we could hear them crowing right below us in the yard. “That’s because they are in my yard!”
She countered with, “But I’ll bet you don’t have coquis. The coquis are worse than the chickens.” I pointed out that you don’t need roosters to catch coquis, that the hens could do it. Ah, but they aren’t her roosters.
It was clear that she was not going to cooperate. So we told her that we would be contacting the County to remove the problem. She said that would be good, that it would help her out too. Right.
Several points of her story don’t jive with what Jeremiah and Bruce told me. She refused to let them take the roosters. If they weren’t her roosters and they are a problem for her, why did she tell them they couldn’t have them? She said that the building owner bought the feed, and she fed them. That doesn’t sound like a bit of leftover rice. Based on what my fire dancing rooster catchers told me, both she and the building owner are keeping the chickens, regardless of the fact that they claim they don’t own them.
So I moved to Phase 2: marshal the neighbors to fill out the forms and deliver them to the county. It’s too bad. If only she had been willing to let the guys take the roosters, she’d at least have hens for eggs and coqui removal. But since having chickens of any kind is not legal on residential and commercial land, she’ll have to get rid of all of them.
Last Thursday I drove to Hilo and delivered five complaint forms to the Planning Department there. I feel so much better.
It seems I have to learn this lesson regularly about being such a chicken. If I just owned up to my fears sooner and faced them square on, I’d feel better sooner. I could have gathered the data I needed more quickly if I had laid out all the questions I needed answering up front: Was it agriculture land or not, where do I go for that information, is it even legal to keep roosters, how do my neighbors feel about them? I could have shortened this process by months.
But I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’m going to enjoy feeling better. Watch out roosters – your days in this neighborhood are numbered.
For more chicken stories, see:
Chicken no more, and for a story that includes the cats, see
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