Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RATS...and eggs

I had started to notice that we were going through about 50 lbs of chicken feed every week.  That's a lot of food and ultimately, a lot of $$ for 8 regular sized chickens and 2 pullets (Fannie and Barry.)  I knew we had a pest problem.  I knew this because every night, when I would open the coop door (from the inside of the barn) and walk in, the mass exodus of rats and field mice would jump from the 3 lbs hanging feeder to high tail it out of my sight.  One rat was so fat that when he/she tried escaping through the hole in the corner, he/she literally got stuck.  It had to back out, and try another avenue of escape.  I decided to wage war against the rats and mice.  So, I bought these great tomcat rat traps.  I chose these because only rats and mice can enter and exit.  My chickens, cats and dogs--and kids!-wouldn't have a chance to get a hold of the poison.  The rats enter, eat the poisoned blocks, and exit.  I added a bit of feed inside to really make it tempting.  Within a week, the rats and mice were exterminated and now my barn smells like death.  Oh, well.  Hammish cat does a great job mousing, but some of these mice are half his body length.  Nasty critters.

 These are the traps I used.  Wonderful design and VERY effective...see pic below...(and these are relatively SMALL compared to the others we found in later days...)

 This was the death count the first day Pyper and I went out looking for dead rats.  Pyper was fascinated by them, and when I lined them up, she neatly counted each of them.  Who said you can't teach kids on the farm???  These are the ones we could find.  There are still several more in the hay, behind the pile of wood, in their little nests, etc...I couldn't get to them, but we smell them.  It's pretty nasty, but it's better than feeding them. 

 After getting rid of the dead bodies, we let the girls and guy out.  Can you spot Fannie and Barry?  Their not so little anymore!  (My toe is pointing to Fannie and directly behind her is Barry.)  Pyper loves to count the chickens.  It's great since we have 10 and she's comfortable counting that high. 

As Pyper and I were looking through the barn for more rat carcasses, we found Foghorn Leghorn's little nest of eggs.  We know these are hers as she is our only white egg layer.  I love my barn.  I just wish I more time to spend in there...minus the stinky smell of decaying rats. 

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