Ruffling feathers: Bill aims to mitigate noise at rooster farms

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Roosters perch atop their shelters at a farm on Railroad Avenue in Panaewa.

A Hawaii County Council member wants to rein in rooster farms.

Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara is introducing a bill that would require anyone owning more than four roosters to keep them at least 75 feet from property lines. She said the intent is to make them less of a nuisance for neighbors after complaints she received from residents uncomfortable with all the crowing.

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Some told her they have trouble sleeping because there are too many roosters next door or that they are concerned the farms will make it hard to sell their property. O’Hara said she saw upward of 100 roosters on one lot alone.

“It’s not a ban,” she said. “If you’re not getting neighbor complaints, you are probably OK.”

It wasn’t clear in a draft of the bill who would enforce the restriction or what penalties might be. But it’s already ruffling feathers.

Critics say it infringes on rural lifestyles and that people shouldn’t move to places zoned for agriculture and not expect to live near noisy animals, even activity that’s associated with illegal cockfighting.

“It’s an us versus them kind of thing,” said Ruth Mizuba, a Hawaiian Paradise Park association board member, who says she’s neutral on the bill. She said these types of conflicts are increasing as more people move to the sprawling subdivision.

While some see the farms as a nuisance, others see it as a family tradition, and one that can be lucrative, Mizuba said.

“There are fighting chickens and they make a lot of money,” she said. Still, Mizuba said not everyone raising roosters is involved in something illegal.

“For some, it’s an absolutely legal business,” she said. “For others, they’re a PTSD comfort bird. It covers the gamut.”

Keanen Miyasato, who lives in HPP, said raising roosters is his right since the area is zoned for ag and he doesn’t think that should be limited. He thinks the bill could lead to other restrictions on raising livestock if people complain.

“I love to raise chickens,” he said. “Not only chickens. We have dogs and we had goats and things like that.”

Miyasato objects to the bill stating that all rooster farms exist for the purpose of cockfighting, though he acknowledged that side of rooster raising isn’t a secret either.

“Some sell for that purpose,” he said.

Under the bill, properties in places such as HPP could be limited to four roosters since the lots are 135 feet wide and might not be large enough to accommodate the buffer zone if surrounded by neighbors.

The restriction, which doesn’t apply to hens or baby chicks, would be countywide.

O’Hara noted that many areas in her district are zoned for agriculture even if the primary use is residential, which creates these kinds of conflicts, and that this is a polarizing issue.

“I’m not blaming anybody,” she said. “I’m not going after cockfighting. What I’m trying to do with this bill is look after private property rights that are being infringed upon.”

Mizuba said she sees anywhere from five to 100 roosters on single lots in her subdivision. There are no association rules prohibiting them in the approximately 8,800-lot subdivision, which is about two-thirds built out, she said.

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O’Hara said she expects the bill to be on the March 13 Planning Committee agenda.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

  1. Steve Dearing March 4, 2018 7:34 am Reply

    Puna is mired in poverty and all dim wit Ohara can do is ban food containers, roosters and tax residents out of existence. The fools that elected this hag deserve to be taxed to death, those that do not support this pile of demo rat feces do not. Ohara is far worse than a bunch of noisey rosters.


    1. kalopaboy March 5, 2018 8:40 am Reply

      Hag? Was it a beauty contest?


  2. Steve Marino March 4, 2018 8:36 am Reply

    Uh, a crowing rooster can wake people up even if it’s located lots, lots further than 75 feet away. Ask anyone who has a rooster in their neighborhood.


    1. Steve Dearing March 4, 2018 11:04 am Reply

      I agree that crowing roosters deserve to be shot but any farm on ag land have the right to have farm animals. This dim wit is catering to those that purchased ag lots for residential use. That is their mistake, now this dim wit beauracrat wants to hurt the farmers, exterminate over tax and over regulate demo rats not farmers.


      1. Poi March 4, 2018 5:23 pm Reply

        Hawaii’s only Xyklon B distributor has spoken.


        1. kalopaboy March 5, 2018 8:47 am Reply

          P, interesting that SD’s love gas was developed by a Jewish chemist. Maybe one of Steve’s relatives.


          1. Poi March 5, 2018 7:31 pm

            Did not know that, yet it wouldn’t be surprising. Seriously, his postings remind me most of an early ’30s Third Reich monograph ostensibly on rat extermination that I once saw and leafed through, with a full-page ad by the manufacturers of Xyklon B, the rat figures all drawn with stereotypical Jewish facial features. Steve’s proposed Final Solution only lacks the antisemitism, but I’d be willing to bet that he often says charming things like “Hitler had some good ideas”.


          2. kalopaboy March 5, 2018 7:48 pm

            Perhaps SD should do a 23 and me check….no telling what demon would surface….or a scalp check for those 6’s.


      2. Megalodon March 4, 2018 8:31 pm Reply

        Problem with Hawaii is that they have subdivisions with small lots on Ag land where semi-literates go wild with the a-frames.. cockfighting is archaic behavior..retarded really.


        1. Steve Dearing March 5, 2018 7:17 am Reply

          Cock fighting is illegal, cruel and stupid but the lucertative money that comes from gambling on cock fights is the driving force. Enforce existing laws instead of making more stupid demo rat failures. Fighting cocks should be seized along with their assets, gamblers should be arrested that promote gambling on fighting cocks arrested and their assets seized. Law enforcement and the courts have not enforced the laws thus the proliferation of roosters to support this criminal activity. More laws is just another demo rat failure, enforce the existing laws.


      3. Kevbar March 5, 2018 3:48 am Reply

        I don’t like roosters. But I really like cows. So if you live next to me, I assume you have no problem when I raise 50 or 60 cows on my one acre “agricultural” lot. They don’t make as much noise as roosters, and after all, who doesn’t love the smell of cow manure in paradise?!

        Don’t like it? Then just move.


        1. Steve Dearing March 5, 2018 7:21 am Reply

          Knock yourself out pal, I could care less and if you do not like it then take a flying leap off the deep end.


    2. Grumpier March 4, 2018 12:01 pm Reply

      Uh, when you have 75 of them living WITHIN 75 feet of your boundary line, you aren’t sleeping with the windows open and a lot of white noise to cover it up. Some of us WISH it was one or two..


      1. Thecrazydragqueenfromhell March 4, 2018 6:10 pm Reply

        I feel you the ones in pepeekeo start st 3 am I don’t know what sleep is


        1. Grumpier March 4, 2018 6:14 pm Reply

          They start at the same time here and go all day long. The bird dander is as bad as the noise too.


      2. 上村勇千 March 4, 2018 6:22 pm Reply

        Then dont live in an agriculture zoned area.


        1. Grumpier March 4, 2018 6:32 pm Reply

          It’s Ag/residential not straight ag, that is the other side of the highway.


          1. Steve Dearing March 5, 2018 7:29 am

            It is ag that is being used as residential. Don’t like ag life then do not live on ag land.


  3. Kacie K. March 5, 2018 1:36 pm Reply

    FINALLY this issue is being brought to the table. Shameful that in 2018, fighting roosters are still being raised when it is widely known that the end goal is for the illegal activity of gambling. Cock fighting further draws other undesirable activities such as drug use, fights, theft, and so many more things that we would dread having near our residences.

    It’s no surprise that the same people who raise chickens in deplorable conditions are also the same who engage in gambling and who have no concern for the auditory nuisance that their “hobby” imposes to peace of others. it’s clear that these characters lack respect for life and that their motivation is to make dirty money, likely to fuel drug addictions. Time to start hauling those who engage in cock fighting to jail. Ultimately the system has a solid infrastructure but there is a bottleneck somewhere and the bottleneck is enforcement. If cock fighting was sought out and people were arrested, guaranteed that there would be fewer farms.

    Tackling this issue will not be easy so it is important that we support and back our politicians on this matter. Glad to see our elected officials taking a stand on changing the archaic ways that the law turns a blind eye to.


    1. leilani March 5, 2018 3:04 pm Reply

      Support the elected official who wants to change the Ag Law after “the people bought the Ag Land?” Really? How messed up is that for people who want to raise chickens on their Ag land? It’s stupid to think nobody will move in next door and NOT bring chickens.. you never know when you live on AG LAND.


      1. Megalodon March 6, 2018 9:09 am Reply

        Agriculture on 1/4 acre lots? LOL yeah right so regulations between Residental/AG and ‘true’ AG land need to be readdressed.. Try living Pahala


        1. leilani March 19, 2018 10:43 pm Reply

          Excuse me, but when everybody bought their land in this 1 acre AG LOTS they knew people might have a roosters. Ag lots means that these “residents” can have chickens/roosters, sheep, goats or a cow on their “1 acre” if they choose to. It’s called living off your own piece of land as much as you can. Maybe you haven’t accepted that concept of doing it, being sustainable and producing as much of your own food but some of us do that without having to move out to Pahala. Maybe you need to move to a place that’s NOT ZONED AG.


      2. Randy Horne March 7, 2018 12:06 pm Reply

        Leilani – The key words here are chickens and roosters. Chickens (hens) only make noise when laying an egg, the group is noisy for maybe 2 hours total and is not a constant thing. Roosters serve no purpose raised in large quantities, or even small quantities, hens lay just fine with no roosters around. No one opposes chickens/hens who make great, fun pets and give us eggs. Roosters give us noise, and, when used for fighting brings in all the criminal elements Kacie above mentioned, and that is the issue. nothing to do with hens. Much Aloha!!


        1. leilani March 19, 2018 11:17 pm Reply

          I understand some people have an issue about the roosters making noise and don’t like it.
          If you raise chickens to sell, you would know that you do need roosters to fertilize those eggs to make chicks. You don’t need roosters if all you want are eggs. And a Filipino delicacy is balut an egg that is 21 days in gestation. I know these are just 1 acre ag lots so these are mostly families growing and producing their own foods mostly, that’s why they live out there on AG LAND.
          I’m being polite in trying to explain how we live here on this island for so long with different races, because we respect our different ethnic cultures and beliefs. We don’t have to follow them, but we get along by respecting one another and there are rules. These are AG LANDS, plain and simple and now after all these years people want to complain? Who are these people? Where are these people coming from? From the looks of the crowd in the newspaper looks like all the “local people” were there to back up those who have the right to have Roosters on AG LAND.

          What kind of precedence do you think this would have made if all of Puna lost their rights on their AG LAND? Most of our farmers market vegetables come from small farmers. If we put limitations on back yard farmers then all we’ll have left eventually will be toxic GMO’s. First get rid of roosters next would be to get rid of whatever the politicians please. That can’t happen either. If you don’t like roosters “don’t buy Ag Land.”


  4. JusticeForAll March 6, 2018 5:54 am Reply

    I lived next door to a known criminal convict who went immediately back to the rooster “business” – translation: raise to fight, sell, and repeat! This complete cad and animal abuser shot my dog – then proceeded to place 10 rows of ten = 100 in his front yard alone – and doubled the number in back, Due to a police matter with his criminal element friends and a nasty ho-bag girlfriend, who acted like an animal herself, we HAD to involve the police because our home was robbed. This criminal convict proceeded to line up side by side MORE roosters, as close to our garage as possible – to drive us out – and make lives were miserable with 24/7 noise like you would not believe!! Our horrible landlord was so afraid of this criminal, he allowed it to continue rather than take a stand. We had NO remedy. He;s still there, gets raided, gets in trouble – and is right back at it – fighting them with crowds including children. THIS is not agricultural purposes !! This is animal cruelty – mostly continued by unsavory criminal element. This Bill is long overdue and is very mild if you ask me!


  5. Megalodon March 6, 2018 9:25 am Reply

    Even being AG lots this should be illegal period. To say they are being raised as “show birds” this ends the AG argument, you cannot have it both ways. No one eats roosters, and there is no legitimate commercial FOOD use for them in agricultural, which is why many States have limited them to ONE.


    1. Poi March 7, 2018 1:40 pm Reply

      and even one is too many at 3 a.m.!


  6. Judy Pritchard Stenger March 9, 2018 7:03 am Reply

    Regarding rooster farms: 1) police don’t enforce the current laws. Why not?? 2) regulate the noise factor by limiting the number of roosters according to the size of the ag lot. 3) Enforce the current law!
    4) I live on 12,000 square feet, 80′ x 120′ and I hear roosters crowing from 8 or 10 lots away from me. day and night! 5) Let the size of the lot dictate the size of the rooster farm. This problem/industry is not going to go away; it is going to get bigger if nothing is done about it.


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