Blacktip resident Piers ‘Doc’ Planck has modified a beach-cleanup vacuum device to remove nuisance, feral chickens from the around the Caribbean island’s resorts. (photo courtesy of ‘Doc’ Planck)
A Blacktip Island entrepreneur launched a controversial plan Wednesday to control the Caribbean island’s burgeoning feral chicken population by vacuuming them up with a tractor-mounted suction device.
“Island roosters used to be quaint, crowing down by the air strip, but now they’ve spread down to the whole west coast,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “They’re a major pain in the butt, crowing non stop all night at the resorts.
“They’re keeping tourists awake and crapping on everything,” Cobia said. “Guests’re telling their friends and Blacktip’s visitor numbers are dropping. Doc’s solution’s a bit extreme, but these damn chickens created an extreme problem.”
Island resident Piers ‘Doc’ Planck said the device siphons up the birds, reduces them to a fine meal and deposits them in barrels towed behind the device.
“We tried nets, traps, slingshots, you name it. Nothing worked,” he said. “We’re using a modified version of the gizmo that sucks seaweed off the beach, with a nozzle adjusted for medium to large jungle fowl. I’m calling it the Chicken Shucker.
“I wanted something that’d wring their necks and pluck them so we could sell the meat to restaurants,” Planck said. “Then the plucker attachment malfunctioned and ground them up instead, and I thought, ‘well, that still solves the problem.’ Death’s instant and humane, and we sell the meal as fertilizer and fish bait.”
Animal rights activists decried the device.
“This monstrosity is neither kind nor humane,” island People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “Doc’s chasing chickens through the brush with a giant vacuum, then running them through a wood chipper. Their last moments are sheer terror.
“We have a fenced-in sanctuary at the south end of the island to house nuisance chickens, and we have humane, live-capture traps set up around all the resorts to capture them,” Pickett said. “Grinding up chickens is not the answer. And what about all the land crabs and iguanas sucked up as by-catch?”
Planck brushed aside those concerns.
“Occasionally we do end up sucking in non-chicken wildlife, be it a crab or songbird or what have you,” he said. “We train our staff extensively on how to avoid that kind of thing, to keep it to a minimum. But with a project this big, you have to expect some ancillary losses.
“That’s a small price to pay compared to what a boost the Chicken Shucker is to the island economy. You have to focus on the big picture,” Planck said. “Also, truth be told, after the first few chickens, you start to kind of enjoy it.”