Friday, October 31, 2008

More on Chicken n Frogs by Walker Sanders

Coqui Control by Walker Sanders
Coqui infestations are relatively easy to have. It just takes some plant material or construction supplies that carry coqui. Coqui will also hitch a ride on cars and trucks and jump off when the vehicle comes to rest.
The government approved method of control is to spray hydrated lime or citric acid on the affected area. Citric acid is a powerful contact defoliant and leaves a very low soil ph layer.
Both chemical control measures affect the plants they are sprayed on and both are expensive. Neither chemical measure kills all the frogs or eggs so the little critters usually come back within a few months. Many times the farmer or home owner does not want to kill their plants and so decline’s to spray at all, or does so ineffectively. This is particularly true in plant nurseries, where plant damage will wipe out sales.
A much more successful way to control coqui is with game chickens. By setting up some nest boxes and feeding a small amount of scratch once a day, game hens will stay put, lay eggs, hatch out clutches of chicks and spend all day hunting down bugs and frogs in every direction. The nests should be a few feet off the ground and covered from the sun, rain and wind. The first few eggs in the nest box can be identified with a magic marker and most subsequent eggs can be removed to eat. The eggs are white and as large as store bought. When a hen wants to set the clutch, let her set no more than about six eggs. She can set and hatch fifteen or more but six is about all she can raise and protect from mongoose. Hens that are raised in the same area where they were hatched are much more stable, secure and successful with their own brood.
You will initially have high chick mortality due to mongoose predation. Mongoose are relentless chick killers and it is prudent to reduce mongoose population.
The hens need only one rooster to ten or more hens to accomplish this work and the extra young roosters are good eating. One rooster and hen harem can cover an acre of orchard or more. The chickens will spend a considerable amount of time up in and around trees and will roost there every night. Although frogs predominately chirp at night, they also chirp in the morning and before dusk. Males will generally stay put and chirp in an attempt to lure females. It is this female migration that is exploited by the hens. Chickens don’t perform magic, they work hard.
Chickens are virtually cost free, self sustaining and non toxic to our crops and nursery plants. They will dig, scratch and ruin beds of leafy greens so keep them out of the garden. Chickens do not do well if chased by loose dogs.
As you identify where frogs are, throw scratch there, the hens will work the area. Complete coqui eradication is possible after a year or more with a high population of chickens.
At this point you should notice the return of crickets. Perhaps their population is decreased or perhaps they simply cannot be heard over the frogs, but after a year or so, they will be singing loud. Crickets somehow seem to thrive in spite of the onslaught of chickens. You will find that chickens eating frogs, bugs and scratch will have good health, tasty eggs and high flavor. Bon appetite!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chickens and frogs

Recently visited a gentleman that has successfully ended his neighborhood's infestation of coqui's using chickens. It took him several years to accomplish and keeping upbeat as he was called "crazy" by those same people come knocking asking for some chickens to clean their area. It was so peaceful in his front yard with a dog bark in the distance, crickets here and there
kids laughing....and no loud chirping of the coqui.
Others have reported success to me but they really hadn't done the "chicken wrangling" that was done by Mr. W. His method is to take a small handful of feed and attract the chickens to the area he's heard the frog calling, his flock then stays there until they are moved to the next area; are completely free ranging and roost in the trees. He's seen them scratch up a bunch of immature frogs and eat them all which stops the 8 month bloom that happens normally.
I haven't confirmed the exact breed of chickens but was told it's the common "hawaiian" chicken,with only 1 rooster to keep the flock replenished and the crowing down.
The other benefit is the fresh eggs he gets every morning from his 15 or so hens....hats off to you Mr. W and hope more of you readers will give this a try.
You may want to look at this site which describes Exotic Newcastle's Disease.
Mahalo, Kokee

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kevin Zippel Director of the Amphibian Ark Project

I'd like to thank Jeff for sending this link...have a look, it's on youtube.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Open Request for Help....

To Whom It May Concern, This is an open email about the coqui frogs to all who live in Hawaii especially the elected public officials. The public officials should be doing more about this problem, yes "MORE" about this it has been changed from ERADICATE to CONTROL the funding is quickly drying up. With the recent article about the Picture Wing Fly soon to be added to the Endangered Species list (see attached link) a form of the insect that is only found here and has no defense against the coqui frog, it's past time to act on ERADICATING this frog from the islands. This is possible, the information that is being given to the public is lacking, the coqui's are getting larger, more aggressive in it's feeding habits and quickly adapting to all climatic areas/conditions. Australia has a similar situation with the Cane Toad (link from news.mongobay) and they got them from us!
The Senators/Representatives only need to come up to the Big Island and see for me and I'll personally conduct the tour and give them a complete demonstration of how to get rid of/ERADICATE this pest that threatens our fragile and unique ecosystem. The EXPERTS have given up .... don't you think it's worth the trip up here to see if what I'm saying is true?

ps. here's a link to the official EPA blog in favor of the coqui...