The problem is the solution

We don’t have a grasshopper problem.

We have a chook protein solution!

Well, ok, it is a slight problem. Valanga irregularis is Australia’s largest grasshopper at a documented average of 75mm long (but has been known to go up to 90mm). For those who don’t speak metric, that’s about 3 – 3½ inches long. I know I’ve seen them bigger than that, though… They’re endemic to tropical and sub-tropical Australia, and we have them in the back yard. The little devils are hard to catch though, because they’re fast. Also, being so large they’re very destructive. They have a place in the ecosystem, but I wish there were fewer of them, now that the back yard is going to become more productive.

Anyway, the previous owners of the house had left behind a few very dilapidated garden tools and pieces of equipment. Amongst them was a rather tragic home made ‘butterfly’ type-net. The handle and frame were cleverly made from plastic-coated heavy-duty wire, but the home-made net part was totally rotten and full of holes. No self-respecting grasshopper would be held for long by something as inadequate as this.

We wanted a decent net to catch the grasshoppers. They’re a pest and they’re protein. The Girls would be gaining both nutrition and enjoyment from clearing them up for us, whilst at the same time doing sterling pest-reduction service. (They’re already playing merry hell with the green ant population – go, Girls!). So I dug out my roll of leftover mosquito netting, cut off a chunk, serged it into a sort of bag and stitched it around the frame. Item: one grasshopper catcher.

I look forward to feeding the resulting catch to the Girls. It’s almost as entertaining as bacon rinds…

42 thoughts on “The problem is the solution

  1. That’s brilliant. I guess the girls can’t catch their own?

    • katechiconi says:

      If a grasshopper happened to venture into the chook yard or was foolish enough to hang around in the chook tractor, then they’d certainly be on its case. The bugs tend to hang around in trees, shrubs and taller vegetation where the chooks either don’t see them or can’t reach them. I predict the Husband is going to become a mighty bug-hunter!

      • I’m chuckling to myself here because when we had the box elder bugs all over the back of my manufactured home during their season, my son would be out there garbed in protective netting and vacuuming them off the house into a shop vacuum. The man next door did the same spending hours vacuuming them up by the hundreds. I can just see your husband hunting those grasshoppers now.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’d have been first in line over there, asking for the contents of the shop vac! Mostly, the grasshoppers in the Husband’s sights will be in my shade-house, soon to become my seedling and tender plant raising shed.

      • Even the chickens nor birds will eat those bugs. Nothing does. They are that vile.

  2. cedar51 says:

    as long as they’ve well and truly dead before feed to the “girls” otherwise I’m sure they will just “g.hopper” away …

  3. nanacathy2 says:

    I agree with cedar51, action video would be good! Nothing like turning a problem to advantage. This would be a great scrap happy post!

  4. when we had our chickens, MrG would collect all the woodlice from the allotment and bring them home for the girls. They adored them (and him). when that was too onerous, he built a woodlouse farm in his shed, using a large plastic box, some compost a ccouple of rotting logs and a handful of woodlice.Enjoy the #smugfactor of clearing a problematic pest and food for free – plus the great entertainment it will give both the chooks and you!

    • katechiconi says:

      Love that! No woodlice here, but plenty of other exotic fauna! We’ve discovered the girls adore maggots (plenty of flies in this area from the cattle) and especially the aggressive and bitey green ants. So I think the grasshoppers will be greeted with squawks of joy.

  5. Going Batty in Wales says:

    That is a brilliant solution! Does yoiur husband know about his new task?

  6. kymlucas says:

    Good job turning a negative into a positive!

  7. You could try the Finnish St Urho’s Day incantation: Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen…

  8. Dayphoto says:

    You are always so super creative!

  9. magpiesue says:

    Your net looks for all the world like a giant version of the one used to trap goldfish for transportation from the pet store to a new home. I love that you’ve got a built-in pest control system now!

  10. Marty K says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen. 😉 Glad the chooks are getting a treat and Hubby has a new hobby. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll see what I can do. The Girls are currently enjoying grass-fed beef fat trimmings, cauliflower leaves, squishy grapes and carrot ends. I notice the dummy eggs in the nesting boxes have been moved about, so maybe, just maybe they’re getting ready to contribute!

  11. Go girls …. Thanks mum for the reinvention so the chookies can prosper 😍

  12. What a great idea… I collect snails to feed to the chooks… they are more my pace!

    • katechiconi says:

      We don’t have a snail problem up here, or I’d be doing the same. Do you have those gigantic grey Leopard slugs where you are? I used to have heaps of them after my lettuce in Dorrigo, and the chooks would go mad for them. Also lawn grubs – anything that wriggled, basically.

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