Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose
Photo: Journey Worker Productions, CC SA 3.0 (C)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Our Weapon Against the Dalek Snails

Photo: Journey Worker Productions CC-SA 3.0 (C)
In our fight to defeat the Dalek Snails that have vowed to exterminate our seedlings, we have a mighty weapon. Actually, we have two of them. They are Dolly on the right and Loretta on the left (I did not name them folks; but, I do listen to their music); two ISA (Institute de Selection Animale) Brown hens.

ISA Browns are hybrid chickens that run on petrol and electricity. Just seeing if you were awake. They were originally produced by crossing Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites (you can see it in their plummage). As with dogs, cross-breeds tend to have fewer of the problems associated them.

Our pigeon fancying friend and his family very graciously built our chicken coop in the backyard (thank you and blessings on your heads!). Then he found us the ISA Browns...I think a nephew was involved at this point. It is simply amazing how much good will there is in the world around the act of growing food in your backyard! So far, the ISAs have been great layers.

They should be; they are living in deluxe accommodation and get fed very well. We are learning though. They put in an order for expensive feed which we acceded to as new farmers. We've been told more recently to use the low cost feed in the hopper and scatter the better seed for a treat or a bribe when they are reluctant to return to the hen house.

They do like to be out. Loretta will make a lot of noise, literally, if she feels she does not get enough time in the exercise yard. We've got a high fence around the coop; but, Dolly has managed to fly over it several times. We've clipped some of her flight feathers; but, that hasn't helped much. She is one very strong bird.

When Dolly goes AWOL, she heads over to where the Dalek Snakes congregate near the succulent plants. Loretta puts up a squawk, as she really does not like being left behind. So, I have to grab Dolly and put her back over the fence. Soon we will be a proper run for them to be protected from the local foxes. That way they can be out longer without us having to be on the look out for them flying the coop. It is also useful to have a Corgi like our Rooster. If I tie his lead up to one of the fence posts, he stands guard and the ISAs mind their Ps & Qs.

Back to the Dalek Snails. We have a pretty good system. It works at two levels. We put some home brewed beer into a tub and leave that out for the dipsomaniac Dalek Snails. We have to chase down the ones with less of a thirst. When they are found hiding in the bushes, under various objects or high tailing it across the lawn, they are escorted to the local tub.

Every so often we filter out the Daleks and reset the tubs. The DSs are then presented to the ISA Browns who begin the dinner proceedings. In this way, we close that big circle of life. The snails eat the succulents (without our permission), the hens eat the snails and we eat the eggs. The hens get the added bonus of a little buzz from the home brew.

Loretta does not squawk as much under these arrangements.

Isa Browns at Wikipedia:

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