Panting turkeys are trying to cool down
DEAR JOHANNA: I live on a hill. Turkeys nest at the bottom of the hill and hang around the neighborhood during the day, which can be a real nuisance at times, especially when toms are around.
Now there are only six chickens left, one of which has a bad limp. I feel sorry for them in the heat we had and see them “panting” in the shade they can find. I put a bucket of water in the foliage up on the hill.
Is this a mistake? Is it comparable to feeding wild animals?
Maria, Bay Area
DEAR MARIA: The provision of food or water for wild animals falls under the universal no-no of feeding wild animals. You might give the turkeys something to drink, but you also attract other animals to your slope and you may not be so lucky to have them around.
Each water source becomes a place for wildlife to congregate, including large predators that could unplug the bucket and wait for their prey to come by.
The turkeys may not even need the water. Wheezing is a method they use, much like dogs, to draw heat away from their bodies. Although they drink from standing water, they often get enough moisture for themselves with succulent beetles and succulents.
Another reason you might want to dispose of the bucket is because of the risk of mosquitos. The biting insects lay their eggs in stagnant water and it doesn’t take long for the larvae to develop into adults.
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DEAR JOHANNA: I wanted to be sure that people who let go of their animals in and around the Dana Hills subdivision in Clayton know that large amounts of poisoned grain have been placed in various open spaces within the subdivision.
The City of Clayton has confirmed they did not place the poisoned grain and I am waiting to hear from the Home Owners Association if they are responsible. In the meantime, anyone in the area who leaves their cats outside or their dogs on a leash must be aware that their pets can be indirectly poisoned if they catch a rodent that has eaten the poisoned grain.
This includes residents of other subdivisions as we and our pets all use the affected open spaces. The poison could also hit the wild predators in the region. Annoying as gophers, rats and mice are, I think this type of large-scale poisoning is unwise and I hope it will be reconsidered.
Janet Evan, Clayton
LOVE JANET: Keep me informed of the situation. In the meantime, people in the area should be careful.
DEAR JOHANNA: I read the letter on using strawberry baskets to protect grapes from rodents. You can keep the rats outside, but not the squirrels.
I have a little peach tree, and it had about a dozen peaches. After seeing squirrels in the tree, I picked about half the fruit when they were still green and let them ripen inside. The squirrels got the rest, but a very nice one that I laid around with strawberry boxes.
It didn’t stop the squirrels. They chewed the branch off the tree and when it was on the ground they tore the strawberry boxes into pieces and got the peach. I guess they were hungry.
Rich Fleer, Cupertino
LOVE RICH: LOVE: Never underestimate a squirrel’s determination to find a juicy peach. Or plum. Or tomato.
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