By Rowan Quinn of RNZ

Titirangi's rogue chickens could be on the chopping block.

At least 200 of the birds have made their home in the West Auckland village, dividing people those who live there about whether they are friend or rat-attracting foe.

A Waitakere Ranges local board report has recommended they be removed and the board will vote on whether it agrees on Thursday.

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The chickens are a health hazard and are attracting rats, the report says.

And to add to the problem, the food locals are leaving out is so tasty, the rats are turning their noses up at the bait in the rat traps so fewer are getting caught, it says.

Today there were chickens everywhere near their favourite haunt - the library and its surrounds.

Some big roosters patrolled the carpark, while little chicks scuttled in and out of cars. Others roosted in trees, rustled around the rubbish bids or cruised the stairway between the carpark and the road.

Chickens colonise a public stairway in Titirangi. Photo / RNZ, Rowan Quinn
Chickens colonise a public stairway in Titirangi. Photo / RNZ, Rowan Quinn

Katie was there were some delighted children who thought the chickens were "so cute" and "precious creatures."

But local man John, was not so enamoured.

"They make a mess all over the paths, bring the rats because the people who feed them scatter food indiscriminantly, yeah, they're a health hazard really," he says.

Titirangi hit world wide headlines for its apparent cat size rats which had a population boom this year.

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But another resident, Caroline, said the chickens are not to blame. Besides, they're delightful, she says.

"There are lots of things that attract rats. If we're going to use that as the main standard, we're going to have to change suburbia a bit," she says.

The report to the board is recommending the total removal of the chickens.

It could consider rehoming as a first option, and then culling if that was unsuccessful, it said.

The independent company that investigated the chicken problem for the council, Wildlands, also said it could consider leaving a small population of chickens.

But the council staff are recommending the board votes for a total removal.

Board chair Greg Presland said keeping a small population has not worked before and he thinks the chickens should go.

"They're cute but there are just too many of them," he said.

They were unhygenic and were undermining the local ecology, he said.

"I've witnessed a real change in the bird population. It used to be we had kereru and tui and now it seems we have chickens and ducks and pigeons," he said.

- RNZ