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Debra Sprague

How do you find a slug when you need one?

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Peggy and Fabienne took to the their new home like ducks to water, or like chickens to an Eglu, quickly establishing a pecking order (Peggy first) most curious to behold a and engaging in the bizarre habit of dust bathing: this a manoeuvre involving shuffling one’s feathery bottom in the dirt then flapping dry soil into your armpits (wing-pits?). Not a bath that would, to the onlooker, seem to make a chicken feel fresh as a daisy but clearly nonetheless refreshing to our Pegs and Fabby.


We are advised, by the Very Nice Man Roy from Eglu, that chickens like to eat slugs and snails. Husband Iain has a humanitarian (slugitarian) approach to slug control, previously trying the upturned grapefruit method, the death-by-intoxication-beer-in-a-saucer method and his very own picking-them-up-one-by-one-and-moving-them-to-the-rose-patch technique – all of which have less than moderate success compare to the chemical warfare (thick layer of blue pellets) approach previously (in pre-chicken days) favoured by myself.


In an attempt to make the chickens feel welcome, we set off on a slug hunt around the garden. On any given day prior to the arrival of our chickens we might have seen a dozen 4”-6” juicy slugs sliming their way across the patio. Not to mention the hoard of them lurking under the hostas and behind the shed. But the arrival of our hens must have been broadcast widely across the local slug community, causing them to flee their usual habitat, for, despite an extensive and probing search, neither slug nor snail was to be found anywhere in a 500-yard radius of chez-nous.


Unable to secure a sluggy snack for our hens, we resort to a can of sweetcorn, upon which our chooks gorge greedily before depositing a grateful blob of guano on our undernourished lawn.

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