Hi there everyone! I'm wrapping up Geoff Lawton's online PDC course (it's been amazing) and I have a practical question-
Both Bill Mollison and Geoff refer to utilizing wildlife such as pack rats and squirrels to collect food by creating a good habitat for them (involving pvc pipes, boxes, etc) to collect in, then using 85% of the seeds they collect, ensuring the animal has enough to feed itself for the winter.
Pack rats seem like a brilliant way to harvest wild rice for human consumption, as wild rice harvest can be very difficult for people.
and squirrels, too, as Geoff says the nuts and seeds they collect are high quality and can be sprouted to use as animal fodder.
So practical points here- /
Has anyone done this? What are your real world experiences with this? How do you attract the right type of rat to your habitat? How much grain/seed/nuts might a rat or squirrel collect and store? Would this work near a valuable nut tree to have a squirrel collect the good nuts for you?
Also, what about predators? Most of us have LGD's and cats to help prevent critters like this getting access to our crops... how would you keep them from killing your fuzzy little workers?
When you choose to co-exist with wildlife that includes eliminating human introduced factors that limit their ability to thrive.
Cats would have to be indoor only, or be contained with some kind of fencing or electric netting.
Harmful practices such as chemicals or destruction of habitat required for the wildlife to thrive would need to end.
Nature will balance herself IF us humans will allow it; and yes, that includes predators.
We need to learn how to safely contain our livestock WITHOUT compromising or going to war with those who naturally reside with us.
As to using squirrels etc as suppliers of forage for humans, yes, I have heard of this, but I suspect this is more often "chance" than a "reliable" practice. At the very least you would need rodents who use single caches as opposed to scatter caching (Eastern Gray (and black) squirrels). Red squirrels (aka Pine or - can't remember the other names) in North America are one that tends to stash loads of nuts and/or mushrooms in "larders" or en mass in collections that one could pilfer from, judiciously.
Lorinne Anderson: Specializing in sick, injured, orphaned and problem wildlife for over 20 years.
I lived and taught in a native american community in Alaska for 2 years. The locals would collect "mousefood" which was actually the food cache of a local vole. They used the roots to make soups.
Interesting idea, but I feel like encouraging rodents to collect food, rather than harvesting what they don on their own, might prove problematic in the long run... it seems they will be more successful robbing your larder than you robbing theirs, and I can only imagine it won't take them long to figure it out.
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But how did the elephant get like that? What did you do? I think all we can do now is read this tiny ad:
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