Roosters face the chop

PROTEST: Bob MacIntyre holds his last surviving rooster. The bird was not crowing but protesting at being restrained.
PROTEST: Bob MacIntyre holds his last surviving rooster. The bird was not crowing but protesting at being restrained.

ONE young Rhode Island red rooster in Bob and Sydney McIntyre’s backyard now has his harem all to himself.

A new neighbour’s noise complaint sparked a massacre of Wallsend Street’s roosters.

The McIntyre brothers’ two other roosters were “sent to a nephew to feed the dogs”.

Eight bantam roosters, kept by another resident on the other side of the road, also met untimely deaths, Mr McIntyre said.

“They were sent to a farm and a fox got the lot of them,” he reported. (That property owner could not be contacted for comment.)

Mr McIntyre is angry that the complaining neighbour wrote to Collie Shire Council instead of approaching him and chook-owning neighbours — except via a threatening anonymous note stuffed in his letterbox.

“We have had roosters on this property since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, more than 60 years,” he said.

“Nobody has ever complained,

“Then this chap moves in, two doors up, and we have to get rid of them.”

He had tolerated other people’s roosters when he did shift work.

Tolerating each other’s noise — including his complaining neighbour’s doof-doof vehicle sound system and remote-controlled miniature car — was just part of life, he said.

That miniature car had screeched up and down the road between their two properties for 10 minutes on one evening last week. “I don’t know if he was trying to get me back,” Mr McIntyre remarked.

He applied for permission to keep his last young rooster so he could breed his own chickens instead of having to constantly buy in replacements.

Last week Collie shire councillors rejected a staff member’s recommendation that permission to keep his last remaining bird be refused.

Cr Gary Faries asked how many rooster complaints had been received by shire council officers.

Shire chief executive office Jason Whiteaker said the office had received complaints from just one resident.

That resident had complained again after Mr McIntyre removed all but one rooster.

Cr Mark Pianta suggested the council could not order people in one street to get rid of their roosters and not others.

Mr Whiteaker said staff would not actively police every district chook run but had to act on complaints.

Cr Fairies moved that Mr McIntyre be allowed to keep one rooster for 12 months and that staff develop a framework to allow the rooster and the complaining neighbour to live peacefully side by side.

Cr Ian Miffling asked if the owner could be forced to dispose of the bird if there were further complaints during the licensed period.

“Once you issue the licence for 12 months, it will apply for that period,” said Mr Whiteaker.

Council staff had tried to be peace-keepers by finding methods of keeping the roosters quiet.

The meeting was told that if roosters were put into a low box at night, they could not stretch their neck upwards so could not crow.

The agenda also noted: “Investigations have been undertaken by staff to determine if a rooster can have a surgical option to remove or disable its vocal cords. Research indicates that it is possible but the option is very expensive, in excess of $500, and the bird has a low chance of survival.”