Friday, 6 February 2009

Ferals

This is not an early posting about the upcoming National Folk Festival. Rather it is the opening entry in a saga about feral animals and plants.

The most obvious ones recently have been the wabbits, which featured to some extent in the Rodent wars page. They have got completely out of order - the snakes and foxes are obviously falling down on their job - so I have been supplementing their feed with some commercial petfood. That was very popular and I am now trying them out on a different flavour: Oats avec Pindone! In 10 days time there should start being a few less of the little mongrels around the place annoying the dog!

In fact that seems to be happening. By 21 February we have dropped from up to 6 bunnies on the lawn in the evenings to just two or none.

Of more consequence is the appearance of some feral pigs. We had a small patch of grubbed up grass after heavy rain in December and then in early February I spotted 4 full sized grunters emerging from the large station behind us and running around on our neighbour's place from where I chased them. An email was duly despatched to a few folk in the 'hood whose email addresses I had and then seemed to get copied everywhere! We have now contacted the Pest Animal folk to see what can be done to improve these little charmers.

The guy from the Pest Animals had a bit of a prowl around Taliesin (the big property) and couldn't find anything significant. His conclusion was that the pigs I spotted were just young folk out exploring. However, the caretaker for Taliesin is a pig hunter in his spare time and will give his dogs some exercise.

The worst feral plants on offer are Serrated Tussock. This is always talked about in hushed tones as it is quite difficult to spot (until one gets one's eye in) and a bugger to remove. We had some friends with good botanical skills walk our place and they found quite a lot. So we acquired some spray that specifically targets this species and have thus far spent about 4 hours spot spraying. All we need now is 30mm of rain to get the stuff into the soil and being taken up by the roots of the tussocks.

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