By Sierra Okazaki / Photo by Shane Matson
For several years, Kaiser has endured a chicken infestation on campus. The chickens escape from the farm behind the school and enter by digging holes underneath the school’s fences. Once inside, they establish territorial grounds and repopulate at a rapid rate. Many students argue that the chickens are a nuisance and should be removed from school grounds, claiming they wander around looking for food, produce waste, make distracting noises, and create a hazardous environment by digging holes in the ground. In response to these concerns, our school is now taking new measures to curb the chicken population at our school.
Recently, the chicken population has increased to such a level that the school community council and other authority figures have deemed the school unsafe. Reports of student and faculty injuries due to the chicken holes have increased in frequency over the past year. To combat the growing problem, Kaiser requested funding from the Hawaii Department of Education to re-contract Kilauea Pest Control Services. Several weeks ago, Kilauea installed two cage-like traps capable of holding multiple chickens at a time. A sliding door is triggered after a chicken enters, acting as a safety mechanism. Many opposed the traps, believing it was inhumane for the chickens to be captured in the sun without food or water. Kilauea responded by relocating the cages into shaded areas. Three times a week, “[an employee] comes by, and transports the chickens to the Humane Society in a truck,” said high school advisor Keli’i Lee at Kilauea Pest Control Services. However, the traps are no longer as effective as they were initially. Lee said, “The chickens realize it is a trap and do not go inside the cage.” Unfortunately, catching and releasing chickens is only a short term solution.
Faculty and staff met and discussed a long-term solution for regulating the chicken population. Teacher Jamie Psak will be partnering with the Humane Society Club and its advisor Shelly Pang to write a proposal for the removal of laid eggs to prevent hatching. This approach will directly attack one sector of the core problem — the chickens’ impressive reproduction rates. While this plan doesn’t address the issue of the chickens coming onto campus from the farm, it may be the most effective yet. Although technicalities are still being worked out, Vice Principal Dana Takahara-Dias has assured a way to control population growth. “We are proactively thinking of solutions all generated by faculty and students. We will have a plan for removing adult chickens and making sure that the chicks do not become mature enough to reproduce,” said Takahara-Dias.