The Department of Agriculture’s (DOA) animal shelter quarantine continues. Its effects are being felt outside the department’s doors. The DOA’s efforts to control stray dogs and feral chickens have been put on hold. One business owner said it’s causing headaches. Coconut Joe’s manager Deon Chow said it seems the feral chicken population is too much for the DOA to handle.
“They (Department of Agriculture) have been very supportive of us, we have worked with them before trying to get a few chickens away, but seeing that it’s so many chickens on the island, and how they multiply so quickly, it’s a bit uncontrollable,” said Mr. Chow.
Tourist Brooke Schow considers feral chickens a pleasant feature in Cayman. She said she doesn’t mind them. “Honestly, it’s kind of interesting to see. Where I’m from you don’t see a lot of it unless it’s on the farm but I’m surprised that it is so many around, with traffic and all the other predators out there,” said Ms. Schow. While Mr. Chow agrees it is an appeal for tourists the animals are also a health hazard.
“It becomes a little bit of a nuisance sometimes, because recently they’re coming on the tables and jumping all around, and getting the floor really dirty,” said Mr. Chow. In a recent interview, DOA’s deputy director Brain Crichlow said those wild chickens keep his staff busy.
“We all know that there’s a feral chicken challenge on the island, a feral chicken problem. The department because we’re responsible for animal control, we get a lot of people contacting the department to assist with removal of feral chickens. Unfortunately, at the moment, we’ve had to suspend going out and delivering or picking up cages from people to deal with the chickens, we are looking at other alternatives,” said Mr. Crichlow.
There is no word from the DOA on when they will resume capturing the feral chickens.