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12 years 5 months ago #21748 by missab
eyes now wide open! was created by missab
hi everyone, we being myself a vet nurse, hubby a mechcanic and miss 9 recently ventured into renting a lovely house on 18 acres .... thinking it would be sooo much easier than leasing some paddocks for my horses (2mares and a filly)
WOW WAS I WRONG!!!!:o
since moving we havent stopped working!, although we are learning alot along the way!esp thanks to the neighbouring farmer who informed us after 2 days of pulling ragwort and thistle that there is a bug in the flowers that eats them[:I]typical townies im sure he was thinking!
i breed flemish giant rabbits and long haired guinea pigs(meant to be living the freerange life till a ferret attacked them and i had to grab it off a guinea pig with my bare hands![:0]),have a cat and chihuahua along with 2 frogs (great fly eaters) and multitudes of tropical fish.
since moving we have aquired 3 kids to eat the thistle (starting to wonder if they are worth the hassle but they are oh so cute when they greet you) a BR hen and roo, 3 BR chicks with 6 more coming, 10 cobb chicks on their way and am organising delivery of 2 ostrich chicks(just to make life interesting) not to mention the wild rabbits, possums,turkeys and wallabes running around the farm, yikes what have we got ourselves into??????:confused:

3 equines (brendon,bellissimo and mariah), 6 wiltshire ewes + 4 ram lambs, 1 mini goat (pinky),1 berkshire sow (penelope), 20 odd chickens,6 sebastopol goslings, 3 flemish giant rabbits(bones,bounce,moon), longhaired guinea pig(splish)1 mastif (auto), 2 chihuahuas (mia,seeka),1 maincoon cat...

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12 years 5 months ago #314658 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic eyes now wide open!
Welcome missab, just think of all those gym subs you can save on your very own LSB to work out on! [;)]

Did the neighbour say if it was the thistle or the ragwort with the bugs on them? There have been several released the last few decades that are doing a good job (on ragwort especially), but it is a natural cycle where when the plant numbers decrease the bugs decrease, then when the plant numbers come up again a bit, the bug numbers increase too. Always good to help along with some control of your own if the bugs aren't keeping up!

http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/weeds/projects.asp

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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12 years 5 months ago #314663 by missab
Replied by missab on topic eyes now wide open!
hi tigger, yes he showed us the maggots in the nodding thistle and the catepillars on the ragwort, but is there anything eating the scotch thistle? or is that another area for the goats?

3 equines (brendon,bellissimo and mariah), 6 wiltshire ewes + 4 ram lambs, 1 mini goat (pinky),1 berkshire sow (penelope), 20 odd chickens,6 sebastopol goslings, 3 flemish giant rabbits(bones,bounce,moon), longhaired guinea pig(splish)1 mastif (auto), 2 chihuahuas (mia,seeka),1 maincoon cat...

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12 years 5 months ago #314664 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic eyes now wide open!
The ragwort will be cinnibar moth larvae, were they stripey?

Most of the agents were found to combat nodding thistle, so not sure if Scotch gets hit as well. I can find out for you...? I have contacts in the programme [;)]

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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12 years 5 months ago #314666 by missab
Replied by missab on topic eyes now wide open!
yes the catepillars are orange and black stripes and seemed to be doing quite well for now. that would be great!

3 equines (brendon,bellissimo and mariah), 6 wiltshire ewes + 4 ram lambs, 1 mini goat (pinky),1 berkshire sow (penelope), 20 odd chickens,6 sebastopol goslings, 3 flemish giant rabbits(bones,bounce,moon), longhaired guinea pig(splish)1 mastif (auto), 2 chihuahuas (mia,seeka),1 maincoon cat...

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12 years 5 months ago #314667 by Isla
Replied by Isla on topic eyes now wide open!
We have those caterpillars, but far too few to make any real impression. We shake them off as we cut the flowers and pull the plants. If they're there and get sprayed, too bad.

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12 years 5 months ago #314669 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic eyes now wide open!
The cinnabar moths will strip the foliage off the plants and stop them seeding, which stops new plants, BUT they won't usually kill the plant they are living on, the plants recover and become multicrowned perennials. So, your population doesn't get any bigger BUT it doesn't really get any smaller either! Any assistance you can give by pulling existing plants will help if your ultimate goal is to be ragwort free [;)]

There is also a wee beetle that may or may not be in your area called a ragwort flea beetle. That causes the 'shot gun' like holes in the leaves, and the beetles usually live under the leaves and jump (like fleas) when disturbed. They don't do the real damage, their larvae which attack the crowns of the plants do, and yes, they do kill the whole plant.

I spent many hours collecting and redistributing these little critters when the agents were first established, to help their natural spread. In the early days, we used makeshift 'pooters' that required individual beetles to be collected one at a time by means of one small flexible plastic pipe being held above the beetle, connected to a pottle, from which came another wee plastic tube that you abruptly 'sucked up' on (or 'pooted' on, cos that is what the sharp intake of breath sounded like :D ) to suction the beetle into the pottle. The smell of the ragwort would be in your mouth/on your tastebuds for days [xx(][}:)] long, tiring, boring and frustrating work to get, if you were lucky, 100 beetles in a day.

Then we discovered that we could use modifed leaf blowers to suck them up in their hundreds per hour - by reversing the airflow, and putting a net over the end of the intake to catch the beetles before they were sucked up into the leafblower engine.

The nets were bloody hard to keep on the intake pipes though, and were often sucked into the machine instead, causing all sorts of grief - until one of us females (and there were very few of us in this work in those days) thought of using knee-high pantyhose as the net instead. Perfect, as the elastic top held it firmly onto the pipe, and the stocking 'collapsed' when the airflow was turned off, trapping the beetles.

Our male colleagues were a bit shy about using these at first, as they weren't keen on going into shops to buy them (or having to explain their expenses claims to their accounts people!), but very soon discovered a plentiful supply by raiding their wives dresser drawers instead [}:)]

This method continues to be used to this day with great success [;)] the collection, that is, not the sock drawer raids (I hope!)

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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12 years 5 months ago #314751 by missab
Replied by missab on topic eyes now wide open!
lol, i havent seen any on the plants only the catepillars... might have a closer look today... if not how do i go about getting some??? is it even possible? are these sendable in the post????

3 equines (brendon,bellissimo and mariah), 6 wiltshire ewes + 4 ram lambs, 1 mini goat (pinky),1 berkshire sow (penelope), 20 odd chickens,6 sebastopol goslings, 3 flemish giant rabbits(bones,bounce,moon), longhaired guinea pig(splish)1 mastif (auto), 2 chihuahuas (mia,seeka),1 maincoon cat...

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12 years 5 months ago #314752 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic eyes now wide open!
Goats will eat the flowers of Scotch thistles, and actually prefer them to other thistle flowers. But they won't touch the leaves ...significantly ....unless that is the only food left.
Ostriches can jump very high, especially when startled, which is why they were farmed behind deer netting. Expect to go ostrich hunting after a thunder clap. Remember that they have a kick (sideways, I think) that can disembowel a person or other animal, so don't startle them when you are close.
Are the guinea pigs and/or rabbits for eating? If so there are all sorts of laws about selling meat, and animals for meat, that you have to follow.

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12 years 5 months ago #314806 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic eyes now wide open!

tigger;299662 wrote:
I spent many hours collecting and redistributing these little critters when the agents were first established, to help their natural spread.


How long ago was that? Dad worked for MAF Rurakura since the 70's and they were using leafblowers on suck and other kit like multiple modified tellus heads fitted to half a 44 gallon drum since before I can remember, definitely since the mid 80's.

I got my pocket money as a kids collecting slugs, 1c per slug back when we had 1c coins, and my sibs and I and the other researchers kids all kept the entomology department supplied with creepy crawlies for them to come up with ever more inventive ways to kill off pests :D

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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12 years 5 months ago #315015 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic eyes now wide open!
We must have been slow learners, Kiwi, as this was in the early 90s. There was quite a bit of research to ensure that the sucking process didn't damage the beetles or their ability to reproduce :D

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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12 years 4 months ago #315059 by bayrose1
Replied by bayrose1 on topic eyes now wide open!
Hi and welcome missab.
Yep always plenty to do on your own place. I just love being able to look out the window and see my own patch of dirt (14 acres, started with 4) and seeing your own stock running around. It's a really good feeling when everything you dish up on your plate is grown form your own hands. Tell me please where is Pongakawa it sounds so pretty

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12 years 4 months ago #316264 by nzButterfly.info
Hi Missab,

For the Ragwort, you could always move the bugs to a few plants to keep their population up while reducing the number of plants in total as the odd flower always manages to seed a few.

Also, if you have Gorse or Broome, then the Long-tailed Blue (Butterfly) caterpillars borrow into the seed pods & eat them from inside. However they are presently not found south of Tasman/Marlbrough regions if your on the Mainland.

Robert.

Edit - If you have Nettles, then the Yellow & Red Admirals caterpillars both eat these bare. If you have any & are thinking of removing or controling them, then contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & either I can probably put you in contact with someone that will relocate the caterpillars or can advise of methods to reduce Nettles & help the caterpillars survive.


Robert Arter-Williamson - Web designer of

Email

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12 years 4 months ago #316336 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic eyes now wide open!
From the horse's mouth, as it were:




Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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12 years 4 months ago #316401 by Pumpkingirl
Replied by Pumpkingirl on topic eyes now wide open!
Welcome :)

Well done on throwing yourself in, boots and all. In regards to Scotch thistle, I wait for mine to form flower heads (but not open), then chop them off at ground level (or pull them out, they come out surprisingly easily), leave them for a day to wilt, then give them to my goats. If the foliage is green, they will eat the lot and they love it.

Yours being babies might need to figure it out... I cleared out a whole lot on Tuesday and by this morning it was all gone.

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