Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I have an aviary. It holds four ancient but happy Cockatiels who consume quite a bit of bird seed each week.

The aviary has wire around 2/3rds of it, made up of 1cm square holes.

Over the last 12years I have spent a gazillion dollars buying that expanding foam stuff and have plugged up every other hole to stop the mice getting in. I also used to have a good mouser, Gretel, but she passed away earlier this year. I can't let the other two, now ancient, dogs into the aviary as they don't have Gretel's training not to kill the Cockatiels also.

For a long time there it looked like I had won the battle with the mice getting in...until recently when I realised they had finally bred themselves down to a size where they could wiggle in and out of the 1cm wire. Good grief.  The mice had won.

Occasionally I go in there at night time using a torch and catch some of these dear pretty little mice by the tail and offer them up to the ancient dogs. The dogs want them badly, but it's kind've a relief that their eyesight isn't what it used to be, especially in the dark, and the mice all get away. I sort of hope that the mice have "learned their lesson and won't come back" but I know I'm just trying to fool myself.

This morning I went in to change the birds water and seed and movement caught my eye. Down low there was a poor little trapped pregnant female mouse, half in and half out of the aviary and unable to get her belly through the 1cm square. What the heck do you do? If the dogs could get at her they would kill her quickly but on the other side of the wire is the neighbours fence so that's not happening.

I got down and massaged her belly and hind quarters and gave her my finger to push against with her little feet. Poor wee thing thought I meant to kill her....which of course I should have done. After 10 minutes of this it was apparent we weren't going to get her through. I had a choice of leaving her there to die slowly through the day or getting her out. I found I couldn't abandon a pregnant female.

So I went and got some snippers :/

And now she's free to birth those little baby mice that I will eventually be chasing around the aviary at night with a torch and offering up to the old dogs.

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Comment by Lissa on October 19, 2014 at 7:56

Found a hole in the tougher shade cloth on the snail farm this morning.

Looks like I will have to buy some kind of metal netting. God knows how I'm going to get it on as the farm is snugged into the garden. I may have to try and remove all the snails.....100's of tiny beasties with a few bigger ones....and lift the whole thing out to do the job. Struth. I don't have time for this.

Comment by Rob Walter on October 19, 2014 at 7:14

Isn't nature extraordinary - you create an abundance and it will be exploited.

Comment by Lissa on October 19, 2014 at 5:35

I now have what must be a rat breaking into the Snail farm and most likely eating the snails (not much evidence of that - perhaps he carries them off).

New hole in the walls every night. I plug them but it just creates a new one. Must make a trip to Bunnings to buy something more substantial for these two ends of the farm that it is getting in. Different variety of shade cloth from the front and back.

Comment by Lissa on October 14, 2014 at 3:49

Man is basically a hunter. It's how we progressed in the evolutionary chain. Modern man has lost touch with the basic skill of killing but I'm pretty sure if the arse fell out of the world we would manage to find that skill again pretty quickly. The alternative is to die off.

Comment by Rob Walter on October 13, 2014 at 20:34

Depends on the species of fish. Commercially caught Spanish mackerel, for instance, get a clobber over the head and die pretty painlessly. Mullet flop about on the beach until they suffocate, which is pretty awful. I try to kill all fish I catch humanely.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on October 13, 2014 at 20:26

Why I am suddenly so glad I care for my own fish?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 13, 2014 at 20:25

Commercial catches of fish suffocate. Not a nice way to go. Love calamari though … never reconciled the taste with the harrowing way the animals die.

Comment by Rob Walter on October 13, 2014 at 19:51

Andrew, as a fisherman, I don't find it at all hard to kill fish. You should see the terrible things they do to each other! Sometimes while chasing a school of tuna you see the injured or half eaten bait fish they leave behind. It's a pretty brutal world out there.

There are a few exceptions that I find a bit harder to kill - for some reason I find flathead hard to kill, maybe because they're so perfectly David Attenborough in their adaptations but I have subverted that by relying on their hunting instincts. Also, octopus and squid are very difficult because of their beautiful, big, pleading eyes and the way they, particularly octopus, try to run away. I recently found out they're very intelligent, which makes it even harder.

Comment by Tracy Arnold on October 13, 2014 at 7:12
The trap is one of those metal ones where they can get in but not out again (from bunnings). The key to success I think is peanut butter as the bait. The mice were re-homed amongst the rocks at the pier with the hundreds of other mice that live there.
Comment by Lissa on October 13, 2014 at 4:30

Yes Tracy, what's the name and source of your oh so successful trap. I've tried many different types and never had that level of success. The rodents seem to twig pretty quickly to the fact that they should avoid whatever trap I'm trying out.

The water trap worked fairly well with rats in the greater garden. But this is mice in the aviary, a bit different.

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