Titirangi residents are up in arms after witnessing "apocalyptic" scenes in the town centre of chickens having violent seizures and dying after eating wheat thought to have been laced with poison.
Roosters and hens are often seen freely roaming and crossing the West Auckland suburb's main road, causing headaches for some who consider them pests.
Resident Victoria Jack told the Herald she had popped into the post office about 9am on Saturday and could not believe her eyes when she walked out.
A number of chickens, as well as a few roosters, suddenly started rolling off the hillside and having violent seizures and spasms.
"It was like they were really drunk ... they could barely walk or stand."
Jack said it was traumatising to watch. "If I could've, I would've tried to put them out of their misery, but I couldn't."
Clearly somebody had gotten fed up with them and decided to lay poison where they usually loitered by the post office, she said.
Jack found "three or four dead chickens" which she put over by the rubbish bin.
She then tried to calm the other seven or eight before calling the SPCA.
An SPCA spokeswoman confirmed some chickens were brought in from Titirangi at the weekend.
She was unable to comment on whether the birds had been poisoned.
Another resident who didn't want to be named, said she found "strategically placed" wheat by the Thai restaurant and Post Office.
She removed it all, fearing other animals could also eat it. The resident suspected it was either an individual or a hired pest control company that may be behind the attack.
Jack said another resident told her the wheat may have been laid out yesterday as a duck, rooster and a kereru had also been found dead.
Residents on a local Facebook page discussed whether 1080 poison could have used by whoever was responsible, or alphachloralose - a substances commonly used to control sparrows, pigeons, blackbirds, mynahs and magpies.
"Dreadful! I love the titters chooks," one person wrote.
"It was awful," another wrote. The chickens were spasming [sic] and suffering terribly. The SPCA now have them. Poisoning is so inhumane and it was horrid to sit there watching them be in so much pain and only being able to do very little to help them.
"I just hope someone realises how truly disgusting it is to treat animals like that."
The Herald has sought comment from Auckland Council.