This morning when I was emptying the compost there was a mouse sitting right on top. And I yelped and dropped the compost. Then I went to see if the chooks had left me any eggy pressies. There was one. I went to pick it up and again I yelped and jumped. But fortunately didn't drop the egg. Instead I did a little frantic-brushing-shaky dance. Mites crawling on the egg. Yuckidy, yuckidy, yuck.
Poor girls. Seems there's still a rather nasty mite infestation in their coop. So I've been doing a lot more googling and of course it's made me despondent and anxious. That's the type of person I am.
Thanks to Mrs Bok for her mite drop and diamataceous earth recommendations from here. I've ordered both. And I'll be donning my face mask and re-dusting them and their pen again later this arvo with pestene. But really I think I'll need to do something drastic soon.
So in the meantime I've been thinking about planting some stuff around the coop to help deter the creepy crawlies and to help with general chook health. And here's what I came up with.
I've been attempting to grow comfrey from seed. Which I've found to be rather tricky. It seems to take a long time to germinate and I only managed to successfully grow one wee plant which I have planted up the back under the fig tree. And it hasn't done too well at all. Apparently comfrey needs quite a bit of water - and it hasn't been getting much there. And it's had to tolerate Wokee the Puppy who has been tromping all over it because it's in the perfect place for her to sit and
This herb is recommended all over the place. Apparently it will help with internal and external parasites. So I've planted a little bush behind the coop against the fence. But my little gourmet chooks have completely ignored it so far. Which I guess is a good thing given that the plant isn't yet established.
As for the wormwood it's apparently a medicinal aid. And I happen to have some growing in my herb garden already which I will be re-locating to the chook run.
Great in the veggie patch and good for chooks too. Who knew? Good for their health and repels insects. I'll be planting some in the old laundry troughs in front of my chook coop. I'm imagining a mass of lovely flowers trailing all over the place. In reality I'm predicting a teeny clump of flowers that'll never do much good when they're pecked by chooks and subjected to my sporadic watering in that planter box. But it's nice to dream.
I've been crushing a few bulbs of garlic in my girls' water every so often in the hope that it'll act as a wormer. Apparently garlic chives will do the trick too. So I'm going to attempt to grow some nearby and give them a feed every so often. Apparently pumpkin seeds will eliminate worms from a chook gut too. My chooks are crazy for them so even if that doesn't work I feel better about giving them a little treat.
The aromatic oils have insecticidal properties. I'll be planting some lavender nearby too.
But Wait! There's More...
Now I did find a load of other recommended plants for chooks too. Some I've never even heard of: mugwort, southernwood, rue, nettle, dandelion, tansy, fennel, rosemary, chickweed...
I'm feeling dizzy at the possibilities. I may as well set up a herb garden around the entire coop.
|Not a happy chook. Look feathers gone around her neck - and I don't think that's from moulting.|