There’s lots of munching and chewing going on around here ~ and it’s driving us crazy. The grasshoppers are terrible right now, eating their way through many of our tender new plantings just a few hours after we lovingly tuck the baby plants into their freshly tilled beds. The free-ranging chickens kept them under control until a couple of weeks ago, then the hoppers seemed to multiply over night and the hens just can’t keep up.
One of the highlights of my day is to walk through the garden and grab grasshoppers until both gloved hands are full of the little beasts. Then I march over to the hens, call them up, and dole out the snacks one at a time. I love to see them gobble them up. But, since I have a few other things to do around here, this doesn’t seem like much of a long-term solution.
Looks like it’s time to get some more guinea fowl here at Pecan Bluff. Guineas are wonderful at grasshopper control, but they bring with them some other issues that have to be managed. When we had guineas in the past they loved to hang out on our front porch when they weren’t hunting hoppers. And poultry on the porch is not a good thing. I am hoping Hank the yard dog will keep them out of the yard and in the pastures this time around. Guineas are also noisy. They are quirky. They occasionally help themselves to a juicy tomato hanging within reach in the garden. They don’t train well, like hens do, so guineas pretty much go where they want and do what they like. In fact, after investing in guineas and getting them settled into the farm, it’s not uncommon for them to decide they like it better at the neighbor’s place and just move there. But, I think we’ll put up with the quirks and the risks and get some more hopper-eating machines. Because growing all-you-can-eat salad bars for grasshoppers is getting old fast.