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Stuff wallabies like

Posted by Chris McLeod over 3 years ago

Living with the wildlife here can sometimes be like co-existing with a band of marauding barbarians! The defences for the various plants are constantly tested for vulnerabilities. Any weaknesses in those plant defences are ruthlessly exploited by the wildlife. And the wallabies are the most ruthless of all of the wildlife here. Honestly, the average wallaby could teach Alaric I (who is famous for sacking Rome in 410 AD) a trick or two about breaching defences!

Wallabies are like a slightly smaller kangaroo but with darker fur and a more stout build. They also differ from kangaroos in that they are generally lone creatures, whereas kangaroos hang around in groups (called mobs). Most nights there are a couple of wallabies bouncing through the orchard and garden enjoying safe access to feed and water.

A wallaby at the farm

The rains and cooler weather have returned after the seemingly never ending hot and dry summer. In a few weeks there should be green growth everywhere. Autumn is similar to spring but usually much shorter and cooler. However until the green growth returns in abundance, the garden and orchard are the primary source of feed for the wildlife living here. Sometimes however, it can be a bit difficult for me to reconcile the cute, and mostly harmless wallabies with the sheer amount of damage they can achieve in the garden and orchard in only a single evening! Every day this week, I’ve discovered new and ever more ingenious outrages that the wallabies have committed in their quest for access to the best feed!

Over the years, many people have advised me that hoop houses are a great idea. A hoop house according to Wikipedia is “is a tunnel made of polyethylene, usually semi-circular, square or elongated in shape” that contains garden beds. They certainly sound like a good idea, and down under the hoops that hold the roof vertical in a semi-circular state, are generally made from very strong polyethylene piping.

I did have a hoop house over the strawberry bed but instead of the plastic covering, I used very heavy duty black bird proof netting to keep out the pesky parrots and other creatures from stealing the strawberries. It is worth mentioning that over the years I have discovered to my horror that everyone (including visitors) and everything else loves strawberries, even the dogs, whom are technically meant to be on my side, but if given the opportunity, will steal the strawberries from that garden bed.

This week however, the wallabies finally breached the outer defences of the strawberry bed and completely ransacked the strawberries! Alaric I would have been proud of the wallabies ransacking efforts!

The wallabies totally ransacked the strawberry bed

The wallabies cunning plan for ransacking the strawberry fruit and plants involved jumping onto (remember they can bounce exactly like a kangaroo) and squashing the polyethylene pipes flat to the ground. Once the pipes were on the ground, the wallabies then proceeded to rip holes through the supposedly heavy duty bird netting so that they could consume the autumn strawberry fruit as well as most of the plants. The strawberry enclosure fell to the marauding invaders this week much as Rome fell to Alaric I and his band of marauding wallabies – sorry, I meant Visigoths – way back in 410!

I like strawberries but clearly if I’d like to grow and consume that fruit, something needs to change. So, over the next few months, a brand new, all steel galvanised strawberry enclosure will be constructed. Until then, I will take you, the reader, on a virtual tour of the devastation caused by wallabies at the farm this week…

Marsupial animals whether they be kangaroos, wombats, or wallabies all enjoy the plant French Sorrel. French Sorrel is among the more reliable summer greens and the plant shrugs off the worst of the hot and dry conditions which are a normal part of the summer weather here. Unfortunately, the various marsupials enjoy that plant so much – wherever it is grown on the farm – that I rarely get to consume any of the leaves.

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