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Organic Fruit Fly Control and Hatching Chicks

1 August 2010 4 Comments

We had a fantastic presentation today at the Jamberoo Community Growers meeting, by the people from Organic Crop Protectants. A big part of the talk was on organic fruit fly control, using their “eco-naturalure” male fruit fly trap and attractant/insecticide products. It looks like a great system to keep these frustrating pests down.

You simply bait the male fruit fly trap and install it in your garden, then wait for them to show up. Once you start to see males being captured, you know the fruit fly are active. You then start weekly spraying of the attractant/insecticide product. This lures the females in and poisons them. It’s all organic, and there is no “withholding period” before you can eat sprayed fruit. It won’t hurt the beneficial insects or animals, either.

In other news, one of our Brahma chickens has been sitting on a small clutch of eggs (about 6 or 7) for three weeks now. When we went to feed the chickens this morning, we discovered a freshly-hatched little chick under her. Very cute! Another one was just starting to break through its shell tonight, and hopefully a few more will hatch over the next day or so.

This is great news for our plans to raise more chickens for meat. The Brahmas are very large chickens, especially when they puff out their feathers on the nest. I reckon we could fit 2 dozen eggs under one! They seem to have an excellent mothering instinct, too. I’ll be watching her carefully to see how well she looks after the chicks over the next few weeks.

A second Brahma has just gone clucky this weekend, so we’re saving up eggs to put under her as well.

Once both of these girls have had the experience of raising a small batch of chicks, we’ll ramp them up to a dozen or so next time. If that goes well, we’ll try even more the following time until we determine the optimum number they can look after.

I’m hoping the hens will be able to raise the chicks happily in the main chicken run, and that the other chooks won’t interfere with the babies. If there are any problems we’ll have to move them into a chicken tractor, but I’d rather avoid that so they can free range and learn to forage properly.

If our plan works out, it’ll be a lot easier than mucking around with incubators, brooder boxes and heat lamps!

Build your own chicken coop in 3 days.

4 Comments »

  • Jason said:

    Hi Darren About the eco-naturalure, I have and use this product up here in QLD. We are almost never without the QLD Fruit Fly as our winters are not cold enough to kill them. The product does work well, but it CAN kill other insects if they some in contact with the spray before it dries (although I would also think that after it dries there could be some issues as well). Really it all depends on where it is sprayed. If you spray it onto some flowers which are being pollinated by insects, then they will be killed. The manual has the statement “Dangerous to bees”, thus my comment about flowers. The manual also makes reference to other non-target insects like parasitoid wasps potentially being killed by the spray. With respect to the “withholding period”, none exists if you do not spray it onto the fruit, otherwise the same withholding periods apply. It is still a toxin, its just that the fruit fly attractant makes it more targeted.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Jason: Good points. Those statements about being very targeted and having no withholding period only apply if it’s used as they recommend, spraying onto leaves towards the middle of the tree or onto boards hung in the tree. You’d need to be very careful about overspray getting onto flowers or fruit. Good to hear that you’ve found it effective!

  • Anna said:

    Congratulations! I’ll bet the mother hen will take good care of those chicks and not let any other chickens bother them. Our hen certainly did a good job of keeping 25 cockerels in check. 🙂

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Anna: The mother (named “Girlie” – not sure why I didn’t mention her name in the post!) has been very good so far. I’m going to try keeping them in the same pen with the other chickens, but they have an indoor enclosed area they can retreat to where the rooster can’t get to them (he’s too big to fit in the doorway!). I’ll be keeping a close eye out for trouble, but it’ll be a lot easier if we don’t have to move them to a separate pen.