Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The devil of it is...

Decimated! That's what I told Trev, and for once he didn't make some smart remark about whatever I was talking about being divided into 10 parts. The chicken pretty much was. There was a leg here, a leg there, no head, but guts and feathers galore or is that gore. To make things just that bit more odious the surviving chooks were tucking in with carnivorous cannabilistic pleasure that did not bode well for my breakfast.

What had done it?
Trev diverted himself from the house site to make the chook pen quoll proof, because we guessed that was the most likely culprit. He even painted, 'No quolls' on the new door, but Australian animals have the lowest IQ of any animals something to do with the harsh climate and the need to devote only the smallest of resources to the biggest user of energy. I doubt the animal can read.

We borrowed a trap from a neighbour. We set it.
5am the next morning we caught it. Trev went out to check and came back with the news that we'd snagged ourselves a Tasmanian Devil. They have made up for having a very small brain by growing very large teeth. And though he was only a young animal, about the size of a cat, when he opened his mouth you had to flinch. More um, factual information about Tassie Devils can be found here

No problems. Tasmanian Devils are becoming rare through a number of human related causes, but also through disease, a facial tumour that kills. 95% of the Tassie devils are wiped out in the northern parts of Tasmania - and they've never been as prevalent in the south. So it was good to see he was healthy. Not so happy about his chook eating proclivities though. What to do, what to do? We rung Parks and Wildlife to see if they had any studies that required healthy critters, it seemed like a win win situation if they did. No, but they were happy to take details of his whereabouts and state of health. It all goes into a database recording the move of the disease and the numbers of animals remaining.



Trev went to work (he's packing cherries and driving trucks) and I was left with my new toothy (and very smelly) carrion eating friend. I released him. Only he wouldn't go. I banged something hard on the 44 gallon drum, it must have been audio hell inside there. But he wouldn't budge. So I tipped the drum upside down, but he found something to hold onto and didn't come out. Ok, I poked him with a stick. I wasn't about to stick my arm in. Nope. So I lugged the whole thing onto a wheelbarrow and pushed him over an electric fence and parked him right in front of a pile of fallen tree debris, lots of lovely dark cover. Nope. I figured he'd get out when it got too hot, so we left him. We came home three or four hours later, and he was still in there and the drum was hot to the touch. I doused the drum in cold water, the wee guy was looking heat stressed. But he wasn't leaving. It was obvious he was waiting till dark so we kept the drum cool and by this morning he'd vacated. Hopefully the experience was so negative he doesn't feel like a return trip.

Lesson learnt ... Lock up your daughters! AND your hens.

11 comments:

Denise said...

Just when you think you have everything in place to deal with every sort of critter something else comes along to keep you on your toes! The lady next door here at Dodges Ferry has had her chooks decimated by a quoll and we are being inundated with snakes, coppherheads and tiger snakes (well we have seen at least six) and one seems to have taken up residence somewhere in the pinebark in front of the house so we have to watch the dog and cat and kids. On the plus side though five black cockatoos sat in a tree about a metre above my head as I was trying to water the orchard from the dam last weekend. Who said life in the country is boring? Are you getting many snakes?

Linda Cockburn said...

We have a snake living 50 metres away. Trev regularly sites him. I saw my neighbour walking Caleb home a while back. I was down in the garden (where I live) and walked down to the fence and spoke to them. Caleb had been freaked out by a snake on the road. I sense movement in front of me and there's a big tiger right at my feet. I am typical kiwi, scared pooless of legless things (that does include very drunk people). I took off up the hill at a mighty quick pace. And it was a different snake. So Trev, of course has to go see how close he can stand to the darn thing. I keep the grass very low down there now.

It even freaked Trevor to hear on the radio recently that 15,000 dogs are killed in Aussie each year from snake bite.

Shell said...

We were given 2 little chicks from an incubator project at my daughters school. As we suspected that 1 was a rooster and being in suburbia we can't keep a roster we went to a chicken farm and bought 3 more chicks(hens) the same age (2 weeks old). The kids love them and have name them all (psycho, foghorn, henny penny, squeek & super chook) they are now 14 weeks old and the one that I thought was a rooster now looks like a hen!!!! OOPS!!! I read you blog often and it helps me to keep the faith that even though we are not on alot of land that even in my modest backyard I can be a little self sufficient. We have planted tomatoes and caspicums and plan to plant some more vegies. We have the compost going and the chooks. The grey water from the washing is recycled onto the garden and grass. Ever little bit helps. Thanks for being such an inspiration. Kindest thought and regards, Michelle.

nfmgirl said...

I wondered what a "quoll" was and looked it up. Interesting! I can't imagine having such fascinating creatures running around in my "backyard"! Although we do have our own "copperheads" here, too. One of several poisonous snakes in this area. They are just rarely seen. (And I also don't believe that I am legally permitted to raise chickens here, which I would LOVE to do.)

Greetings from Florida, USA!

Heather

Michelle Saleeba said...

We had our first experience of a tiger snake in the chook pen this year, they are usually around but we rarely see them close to the house but we'd been wondering where all the eggs were going and it seems snake had set up in poll position to polish them off as soon as the chooks were finished laying...weird thing was the chooks were completely unphased! The kids, however are resolutely refusing to enter the pen!

Didn't know so many dogs die from snake bites...eeek!

labanan said...

jeesh! My chooks seem good but that is because they can't get out into the ice world that we have going here now. They are VERY bored but I make them nice steamy hot porridge with vegie scrapings and bacon fat if there is some! yum yum! And they make me eggs. What a deal! Sad to lose one but I must say - I kind of admire the tenacity of that little devil. My entire experience of Tasmanian devils is from Bugs Bunny. wow - what a weird world...

Sharon said...

Our property is in Kuranda North Qld, we've been going through a spate of rogue pythons eating chooks and ducks, wallabies and what not, but the most disturbing was a 16ft monster that devoured a pet dog right in front of the family!! Its interesting to hear about the various uninvited 'guests' in different areas around the world that we all have to deal with!

Sero said...

Are there going to be any new posts? I have really enjoyed reading this blog--it's my favorite one!

labanan said...

whatcha up to girl?

Linda Cockburn said...

I've been feeling guilty about my non-blogging phase. Not that things aren't happening. I think it had a lot to do with the moth that got caught in Caleb's computer and meant he was using my laptop over the last 6 weeks. He has a terrible sense of timing ... but then, what kid doesn't. Finally the moth is removed and the computer is free again, no more excuses!

labanan said...

no worries! just happy to see you back at it. I went down with a terrible flu and had people who knew I was sick because my blog wasn't there! Yikes....