It works! The grasshopper net has made its inaugural catch.
As luck would have it, I was the first successful net operator, and was able to capture the details. Here is the solution to the grasshopper problem: chook protein. I could go on about the balletic grace with which I leaped about in the shade house…. but I’d be lying. There was a lot of crashing about and salty language. But I got her, and she was a big’un, at nearly 3 inches long.
In some haste (because she has sharp claws on those long legs, and strong jaws) I marched over to the chook yard and shook out the net. Instantly, 5 pairs of beady eyes focussed on the stunned and briefly still insect. And then it was on! Blanche* was the quickest off the mark.
First one, then another of the birds would grab it and run hectically around with the thing dangling from its beak. Another bird would catch up and steal it. And again. And again. I swear, I stood there for a solid 20 minutes watching. Thing is, the grasshopper was too large for any of them to deal with all in one go. The legs are just too long and spiky. I mean, chickens can and do hunt and eat mice, but insects tend to be smaller and more manageable. The poor girls just needed a quiet moment to dismember it, but no such luck. Eventually it disintegrated from being pulled from one beak to another…
So I’d rate the whole thing a roaring success. Because 1) I got rid of a pest; 2) The chooks got extra protein and honed their hunting instincts; and 3) Lots of entertainment!!
I must see what they can do with a worm. I have plenty of those!
*The Girls have been renamed. All the Egg’ names were very clever and all that, but not really user-friendly. So we have: Elizabeth, because she’s Queen of the flock; Ruth, because she’s the darkest, with a white ‘lace’ collar and is named after RBG, my heroine; Blanche, because she’s the lightest and has white undies; Peachy, because she has peach undies; and Lacey, because she has laced feathers on her back – she’s also the smallest and naughtiest, so her nickname is Madam Houdini.