Thursday, 1 August 2013

Shit happens....thank goodness!

  It seems bizarre now but for years I used to buy bag loads of “chook poo” from the “Poo Man” at our local organic market. With unconcealed delight, I would drag these heavy bags into the back yard and proceed to scatter their content across the length and breadth of the garden.  Oh what joy! What delight! The added bonus was that I was obeying the doctrine of countless radio horticulturists whose mantra was “chook poo or bust”. They swore by a proprietary brand called “Dynamic Lifter”.  Sadly it’s taken a few years to realise that most of the commercial garden “gurus” are total charlatans who are not averse to putting sponsorships (mostly from chemical companies) way in advance of common sense or planetary well-being. I hate to think how many beneficial and harmless insects have been killed as a result of their devotion to all things toxic. These days I grow only locally endemic native plants, I eschew "chook poo" (which was full of weed seeds) and I never ever use the pesticides, herbicides of fungicides that the “experts” stridently told me were necessary to prevent a form of gardening Armageddon. 
 My native bush garden now thrives beautifully and if there are any “pests” I let them be. I figure that it is far better to try and restore the ecological balance and encourage natural predators to do the job for me. In regards to fertilizer, I realised that nature was perfectly able to pitch in and handle the situation without me interfering.  In my garden there are possums a plenty (both Brushtail and Ringtail) they deliver sufficient packages of natural fertilizer to keep everything growing vigorously and they spread it with quiet alacrity. A possum scat is cylindrical and looks almost like a, chocolate covered, liquorice bullet (Brushtail scats are larger than the Ringtail ones). Because the “poos” are from, mostly herbivorous animals, they do not have an unpleasant smell. If you see a dropping with pointed ends...that is from a rat (but don’t jump to negative conclusions too readily because it could be from a native bush rat 

 Possums and other mammals will eat their own faeces for the vitamins and protein. In fact, healthy possum faeces is sometimes given to the babies to get them to start eating solid food and to help their digestive system. Koalas (if you’re fortunate enough to have them in your area) have a distinctive poo that is very hard on the outside, and has a slightly ridged and oval shape. The colour is mostly red-brown to brown but can be blue-green, grey-green or yellow-brown. Bandicoot poo is also bullet shaped and will often have insect casing visible.

 Other animals encountering a scat can check out the health, age and sexual maturity of the source...which can be useful info for members of the same species or predators.

Wombats perhaps have the strangest “calling card” of all Aussie mammals. They leave behind a pile of cube shaped pellets resembling a pile of “pungent dice”. Wombat scats are used as territorial signposts on rocky outposts..hence the “non rolling away” shape!  Anyway I’m digressing....I started off rabbiting on about “chook poo” and now I’m talking all kinds of shit!

What "scat" is that?