There are two reasons we use copper slug rings over slug pellets, nematodes or other deadly methods: Firstly, we want something child and pet safe…. Slug pellets are very appealing to little fingers and mouths and very unpleasant if eaten! Secondly, we actually quite like snails. Slugs I am trying to learn to love but largely failing. Even the amazing leopard slug mating videos can’t persuade me of their inner beauty. They are quite amazing creatures though and form an essential part of the garden food chain. They feed hedgehogs and toads, slow worms and birds - thrushes in particular thrive on them. They also eat decomposing vegetation and even dog waste and garden carrion. The issue with killing off any element in a food chain is the knock on effect it will have.
Slug rings don't harm slugs or snails at all, just send them away to find another food source until tender plants are big enough to survive a gentle munching, while still appreciating all of the positive clean up work they do for us.
We are very fortunate to have a river at the end of our garden and an abundance of wildlife passing through. My 8 year old has a “pet” slow worm that lives at one end of our compost heap. We haven't been able to disturb it for 18 months now as she prowls around whenever we go down to collect compost and makes sure we keep our distance! We have also found otter prints on the riverbank, seen water voles as we swim in the river and caught images of badgers and foxes last lockdown on a wildlife nightcam we borrowed from a neighbour. The children proudly identify all the different poo around the garden with their spotters guides and make homes for the many toads, frogs and mice we come across in hidden corners. Summer evenings are spent watching bats on the riverbank and we even rescued a hedgehog from the boat one year! Above all of these amazing creatures though, we love the birds.
We have a pretty good selection of birds in the garden; some water birds, loads of tits, finches, jays, woodpeckers, and a fairly tame blackbird Max, who will hop pretty close when tempted with seed. The 2 year old who screams with excitement as soon as he gets within a few steps is probably the reason we haven't been able to entice him closer yet. We have signed up for this weekend's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and have our tick sheets at the ready! To try and make our garden as appealing as possible to visiting birds, the kids and I used some of our unused small copper slug rings to make attractive fat ball feeders. If you want to make your own see below for instructions.
Copper slug rings (old yogurt pot/teacup etc)
Tray to sit them on
String and scissors
Any combination of birdseed, oats, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, nuts, dried fruit
Firstly, take a bowl and mix all the dry ingredients together
Next, melt your block or lard in a saucepan
Pour the melted lard into the mixture and stir well
Take your copper slug rings and tie a loop of string through it to hang from tree
Lay your slug rings on a tray, we used baking paper to stop them sticking
Spoon your mixture into the slug rings and flatten down
Leave somewhere cool (away from birds/rats) for 12 hours to set
Hang around the garden and wait for the birds!
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