During COVID-19, it wasn’t just toilet paper that was in short supply. Supermarket shelves also emptied of many staple food products – including eggs.

Jan Davis, CEO of RSPCA Tasmania, said “Over recent months, many people have looked at how they can become more self-sufficient and they like the idea of having a few chooks to provide a regular supply of fresh eggs. However, when some of their eggs hatch, lots of them are males and people don’t know what to do with them.”

As a result, there has been a surge in roosters being dumped by roadsides across the state.

But it is not just the roosters crowing that are ruffling feathers.

RSPCA Tasmania regularly responds to dozens of calls from community members concerned that hens and roosters are at large and in danger. The birds can face starvation. Cats, dogs and native animals like quolls and devils will hunt and eat them. Importantly, there’s a big issue with potential car accidents with people swerving to miss poultry on roads.
“Sadly, we don’t have the resources to respond to every request for assistance – and there is generally not much we can do about roaming poultry,” Davis said.

However, this is clearly a growing issue – and it is distressing for all involved.

RSPCA Tasmania is working with poultry breeders, local councils and the state government to find ways to put an end to poultry dumping, and they are keen to enlist community members in this process.

There are two parts to this problem.
The first is to stop roosters being dumped. This will avert potential animal harm as well as lessen the risk of drivers swerving to avoid them.
The second part is what to do about the birds currently at large along our roadsides.

Poultry clubs have in the past held amnesties, with people sometimes travelling from long distances to surrender their unwanted roosters.
RSPCA Tasmania is keen to understand the scope of the problem, and to hear whether there would be interest in rolling out an amnesty program across the state.

“If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know at rspca@rspcatas.com.au,” Davis said.

Media Contact:
Jan Davis – RSPCA CEO – 0409 004 228
26th June 2020