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The Hunting of the Taupe


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Not by me. I'd given up. Although I have

a feeling that they make serious inroads into the earthworm population

of my little patch, I had given up trying to:

  • catch them;
  • smoke them out;
  • poison them with unconvincing toxic fake worms;
  • write them polite notes in several

    languages asking them to sod off (my daughters' idea - and no less

    jelly-brained than what I was trying);
  • drown them;
  • shoot them;
  • jump up and down on the "lawn" in the hope of giving them headaches;

  • scare them with windmills;
  • deter them with strange-smelling flowers;
  • blow them into tiny pieces with those mini landmine things that just should not be legal.

After all, I reasoned, are

they not part of Nature's rich tapestry? A garden full of unsightly,

ankle-twisting ruts that is lible to cave in at any moment due the

forty kilometers of unsupported wide-bore tunnel drilled underneath it

is hardly a reason to become obsessive, is it? So instead I had decided

to be serene about the whole business and simply

accept that there is a species in the world that hates me, exists

solely to play skittles with my fragile sanity, and is inconveniently

indestructable.

Had given up.

Late this afternoon, on my way to commune with the compost heap (the

added nitrogen and warmth are always welcomed at this time of year,

though one must always be alert to the danger of frostbite), I was

drawn up slack-jawed and dumbfounded by the sight of a CHICKEN

scrabbling frantically at a molehill with her beak and emerging with a

struggling mole. The unfortunate creature (Oh I tried to feel something, but my heart is black and my blood is cold with respect to members of the species talpa europaea)

was quickly dispatched to the next world and devoured by enthusistic

members of the flock. Now, I've seen free ranging chickens (as these

are) take the odd mouse before, but chickens hunting moles....?

I've noted down the ring number of the bird in question and shall be

selectively breeding from her in the New Year. In the unlikely event

that I am successful in breeding a strain of hunter / killer chickens,

would anyone like one? Free to anyone who can provide me with evidence

of a mole "twitch" and a doctors note.

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I'm very suprised at this - I thought that moles tasted disgusting - certainly my cat caught loads of them but never ate them, although he ate everything else he caught! We have discovered an excellent mole deterrent - it's a device that you set in a hole which has an explosive device on it. It doesn't only blow up the mole who sets it off, it seems to send enough shock waves around the garden to deter others from coming near. Available from all DIY/gardening shops. We have been mole free ever since discovering it 3 years ago. The only thing is, it is dangerous - my OH set it once and it accidentally went off, nearly taking his head with it.

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I'm really surprised at this too. I've hand-reared several owls and they wouldn't touch moles. I always assumed it was the texture of the fur - they wouldn't touch shrews either.

I think if you could patent this breed of chickens you would make a fortune. Just look at the amount of forum space that's been devoted to their destruction.

Hoddy
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I

myself have yet to taste one. I won't say naver. I try to taste

everything offered to me: stewed bear kidneys, smoked breast of

guillemot and the still-beating heart of a cobra have all passed my

lips, though I can safely say I would recommend none of them. A pâté

made from coypu is a delicacy around here, but I have yet to see mole

on the menu.

I notice today that some of the group that tore yesterday's catch

asunder were paying close attention to the remaining molehills. Maybe

it is the texture of the fur - I think that owls regurgitate this?

Chickens don'
t - perhaps it irritates on the way back up?

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[quote user="jond"]I

myself have yet to taste one. I won't say naver. I try to taste

everything offered to me: stewed bear kidneys, smoked breast of

guillemot and the still-beating heart of a cobra have all passed my

lips, though I can safely say I would recommend none of them. A pâté

made from coypu is a delicacy around here, but I have yet to see mole

on the menu.

I notice today that some of the group that tore yesterday's catch

asunder were paying close attention to the remaining molehills. Maybe

it is the texture of the fur - I think that owls regurgitate this?

Chickens don'
t - perhaps it irritates on the way back up?

[/quote]

The *** was b-r-e-a-s-t by the way. Not anything more sinister...

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I have yet to taste this famous Vendée ragondin pâté - where do you buy it?

Generally moles don't surface that often, normally it's young that are being chased out to find their own territory or if the ground becomes waterlogged, which makes them fairly immune to most predation. Both Barn Owls and Tawny Owls will eat moles but it seems to make up a very small part of their diet, I guess this could be because they are not easily available. Size may be a factor, both prefer smaller creatures, easier to carry.

Be interesting to see how your chickens make out, may just have been opportunistic, chickens seem to have a go at anything given half the chance.

Chris.

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LeClerc in Fontenay-le-Comte sometimes have it on the charcuterie

counter, but the buchery in the Spar in Nalliers is the most reliable

source I know of. The "production centre" is at Coulon.. Agian, as with

so many of these curios, the product is nothing special I'm afraid.

This is something of a pity because there are MILLIONS of ragondin on

the marais that could be an excellent source of free-range protein.

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