Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Birds and onions

I love my chickens and I love the wonderful native birds that we share our patch with, I really do!

Myrtle and Mavis eyeing off the baby spring onions
Except when they eat my oniony things! For instance, on Monday morning I emerged from the house to find this.

All my shallots dug up and flung around their little oniony bed. Hmm, a busy tribe of choughs! Thank goodness they had only just started to put down a few roots and no shoots. And there were other casualties in that bed as well.  The shallots were sharing their bed with some onion seedlings  and a row of snow peas that had started to sprout. Gone, all gone.

The shallots have been put into another bed and the soil has been covered with wire to stop the choughs scratchy feet and flicky beaks. Hopefully!

What are choughs (pronounced - chuffs)? Well they are fabulous black and white birds with lovely curved wings and beaks and quite mad red eyes. They hang out in groups and spend a lot of time turning over leaves and other forest litter and they chat to one another as they do. Trevor's Birding has a nice picture of them hanging out together.  They have the most amazing big mud nests. This website has great pictures of them and their nests.

As for my chooky girls, well they like chives,

garlic chives,

and spring onions.

I am guessing that their eggs are going to have a nice oniony taste? Better not make a cake! And better find a solution to their onion tribe snacking.

What irresistible birdie treats do you have in your patch?


  1. Your chickens are so pretty! Are they pretty docile?

    Your birds really do seem to enjoy the onion family. It's sad when the start pecking at everything.

    The birds don't seem to eat anything in my garden but they love to snap the main stems on the seedlings. Little dead plants everywhere and they don't eat a morsel, maybe they think the stems are worms.

    1. They are pretty docile, and pretty friendly - they follow me everywhere! Aren't yours naughty! Fancy snapping things off like that. Mine decided to peck two cauliflowers to shreds today thru what I thought a secure fence... argghhh!

  2. oh dear! I have to say I am enjoying reading about the adventures of new chooks from you and Liz at Suburban tomato (having been through all of this myself). Weirdly but thankfully- those are the only plants my girls don't eat. Thankfully because the girls can stick their heads through the fencing for my vegie patch - so I have a border of garlic/ leek and onion to keep other more tasty plants out of reach.

    1. They seem to be very individual don't they? Unique little habits! I will have to find something they don't like for the boarders.

  3. I feel your pain. My two girls are seek-and-destroy machines. Who would have thought that such benign looking creatures could wreak such havoc? I love them but will think very carefully about replacing them once they are no more.

    When I got them as cute little thingys, I was warned that they loved rocket and to keep it out of their reach. Nup, they don't touch it but they DO go for absolutely everything else. My veggie patches aren't too attractive these days, draped in bird netting ALL the time. I like to grow some things in pots too but the girls love jumping in the pots and having a good old scratch so everything is destroyed. Sigh. With their little pea-sized brains, they don't understand that they can scratch anywhere they want to but - please - not around the veggies.

    1. Very naughty creatures! Mine like rocket! Their feet are so big and destructive. I will have to think carefully about how I give them the liberty I want them to have but how to preserve the garden too.

  4. Yes them chooks will get into any edible vegetation if it is not fenced in. With all that fine dining they have been doing you wont need to season them lol.

  5. At least they will eat up any snails or grubs that really do damage to your plants

  6. They seem to have a thing for slaters. I can't see them dealing with my aphid problem on my savoys though without doing a lot of damage!



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