An aggressive rogue rooster and his plucky girlfriend have turned a popular Auckland playground into a ghost town.
For several months the large black and tan rooster has pecked, clawed, stalked and run at people trying to use Pohutukawa Park in Auckland’s Whitford.
Local mum Amy Stewart hasn’t braved the park in months after the rooster attacked her toddler.
She said at first she and her two pre-school age children thought it was sweet the rooster was following them around, but then it “went” for her two-year-old son.
“It got his neck four times and his chin and under his eye. [It was] flapping in his face,” she said.
“At first he thought it was hugging him, he was laughing, then it bit his face really hard and [he] started screaming and crying and pushing it off him. But it kept launching back at his face.”
Locals responding to a post on Facebook said the rooster often greeted people in the carpark before chasing them down the path to the playground.
Other run-ins include a four-year-old being pecked in the leg, a three-year-old being pecked in the back, a 17-month-old chased down the path, and several other children “attacked” and left with puncture holes and scratches.
Resident Casey Newman had a close call, and ended up throwing a bag of chips at it so she could make a getaway.
She was at the park with her young children when the rooster started showing signs of aggression.
“But as we were leaving it was following us, and quite closely. It did try to peck us, so we started to run and it would run with us,” she said.
“Trying to buckle my kids in the car, it was trying to peck at me and get into the car”.
She threw a few crumbs at it, which brought her some time.
“It then tried to enter my car again, flapping its wings and all. I luckily had a bag of chips the kids had not eaten, opened it, and threw in into the middle of the carpark keeping the wrapper in my hand. I quickly finished buckling my kids in and took off.”
She said she wouldn’t go back as long as the rooster was in residence.
The rooster’s violent antics have been reported to the local park ranger.
SPCA Auckland chief executive Andrea Midgen said roosters can show signs of aggression if they are trying to protect their hens, their territory, or if they have been mistreated by people.
“Unfortunately we see far too many roosters that are abandoned and dumped on Auckland’s streets and parks or are simply unwanted by their owners.
“Sadly many of these roosters are from suburban homes with backyard coops. These families often don’t think about the 50/50 chance that their chicks will turn out to be roosters, which aren’t allowed in urban areas.
“When their owners are unable or unwilling to find them a suitable home, they have nowhere else to go and end up dumped on the streets or brought to us at SPCA Auckland.”
Council bylaws stipulate how many chickens people can have if the live in an urban area. If they want to keep more than this, or have a rooster, they have to apply for a licence.
Midgen said the Auckland SPCA currently has six roosters to rehome, some of who’ve been waiting a “really long time” to find homes.
And despite the Whitford rooster’s apparent problem with children, Midgen said most roosters were friendly and made really good pets for a rural home.
“So if you live in a rural area and can open your heart and home to a rooster, please consider adopting one of these handsome guys. They are all really friendly blokes and would make a great addition to any rural home.”