Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lost a Chick

God damn rats.

There, I said it.  I don't swear, as a rule, but I am angry.  It was irritating when the rats ate the fruit in my orchard, and maddening when they took up residence under my tomato plants and took every single tomato.  Now they've gone too far.

Yesterday, when Brett went to the chicken pen to collect eggs, there was only one chick.  He couldn't find any sign of the other one anywhere.  I looked when I got home, as well.  This morning I found the chick's feathers scattered around the mouth of the hole the rats dive down when I catch them in my tomatoes.

We have shown the rat hole to Passage.  She is unimpressed and promptly slips through the garden fence and returns to the barn.

Brett is buying traps today.  I hope the remaining chick survives while we work on eliminating the rats.  I don't know how successful we will be; rats are notoriously difficult to eradicate.  I really thought that with two roosters and an attentive hen, those little chicks were safe.  

18 comments:

  1. So sorry! Believe me I know your emotion well. I have had lots of predator problems but never rats.
    My cat recently killed my bunny and I am heartbroken. It's awful when a pet kills a pet.

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    1. Yes, it is awful when a pet kills a pet. We had a dog kill a kitten many years ago. It was awful.

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  2. Boo. You need a good mouser to eradicate those pests. We lost all our chicks and chicken to raccoons who ripped the chicken shed open at night.

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    1. Passage is an excellent mouser -- catches squirrels too -- but she isn't interested in hunting in the garden for some reason. She prefers the barn and the open areas near the pastures. Raccoons are awful; we had a neighbor lose chickens to a raccoon.

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  3. An American in TokyoAugust 9, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that one of the chicks is gone. =(
    You need to plug up that hole!!!

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    1. I've plugged up that hole more times than I can count. I ordered some traps and Brett is going to try flooding the hole tomorrow.

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  4. I'm so sorry. It's horrible. Sounds like it's time for a Faraday cage for Mama and her chick.

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    1. The chick has been surrounded by the roosters all day today. And they are locked up tight at night in the hen house.

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  5. You need to bring home a good rat terrier.

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    1. You know it! I was all set to rescue a rat terrier cross but got shot down by my better half. 😔

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  6. You need to find a safe little pen for the hen and chick at night, even put the pen inside until the chick gets a little older. The rat will be back and start going for the eggs next.

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  7. The rat took the chick in the middle of the afternoon. The hen house is secure so I think they are safe at night. I worry about the rat(s) going for the eggs, too.

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  8. I second the terrier idea- it will take care of the problem quite quickly. it really can't be anymore work then the creatures you already have. Maybe Brett wouldn't notice. :)

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  9. Do you have any friends with Jack Russell terriers? I've never seen anything more effective against rats.

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  10. Oh, I'm so sorry! I'd be mad as hell too, and would definitely wage war on the rats. We had them chewing holes in our walls near the floor in the laundry room a few year back. They were just coming in and going wherever they pleased, so had to be killed. We blocked all access to under our house, then put fairly massive amount of poison through the holes in the walls, then repaired the holes with metal before refinishing the walls. That worked! Hope you can get rid of them before they do more damage. So sorry...

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  11. You need a couple of owls. Some local wildlife rehab places will release barn owls on your property if you call and check and have a barn for them to nest. Would still need to protect your chickens but in would be worth it to have rodents gone. Also they can suggest better way to get rid of rodents instead of traps that could harm other wildlife.

    Sophia

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  12. So sorry about your chick. I don't have a solution but I'm sure you'll think of one. We have traps right now but so far we have only caught mice. I want those rats!

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  13. Sorry to hear about this. We have been lucky in avoiding the rat problems so many other chicken farmers report. A word to the wise: go with the standard old-time rat trap. So much of the newfangled stuff doesn't work. The other thing that might help is to get some powdered big cat urine. That will scare anything away.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.