(I’ve been waiting to use that post heading for ages. Those under the age of 40 who are not aficionados of 70s glam rock may not find it as amusing as I do. To the rest of you, you’re welcome.)
As Pam so adroitly pointed out, poison pellets can be carried; indeed, mice and rats are known to stash their booty against a rainy day. Yes, my rats have ensconced themselves in a non-chicken area of the barn, but they have access to all areas, including the coop. How can I protect my girls from a rat stash?
It had seemed to me that the only answer was snap traps. You know, killing them the good, old-fashioned way. I went to Agway to consult the Oracle, but Chicken Debbie questioned my plan. Snap traps, as she so elegantly phrased it “don’t always kill”. And then you have a rat with its eyes bulging and its spleen hanging out of its mouth, and it’s your job as a “higher” life form to put it out of its misery.
She recommended a bait block, which is poison, in block form, with holes drilled through it, so it can be firmly affixed to a wall or floor, preventing its transportation. You want it? No take away. You gotta eat it in the restaurant.
It looks like this, in the package:
It’s a solid block of poisoned bait, about 5″ x 7″, with four holes drilled through the block, vertically.
So, yesterday afternoon found me snipping the curvy bits from a wire hanger and threading its two ends though the center holes of the block. I handled it carefully, needless to say. I hung the block right in the center of the southernmost pony stall, where the bag of grass seed had been, and where the majority of poops are to be found. This is reasonably handy for me, but well out of the way of the chickens.
Frankly, I didn’t hold out much hope. I haven’t seen a rat in the coop for some days (removing access to feed is working there), and, more tellingly, I haven’t heard one in about a week. No scuttering sounds in the morning, or even when I go at sunset to boost Tallulah. Could they be gone? With our weather being so warm and external food supplies much more plentiful than is seasonally normal, might they have found greener pastures?
It was with not much expectation, then, that I looked into the pony stall to take a look at the block first thing this morning. The thought in my head as I did so was, “Come on…just one bite…”
Imagine my shock then when I saw…half the block, hanging from the same place, so much of it gone that it was about to fall off the hanger. When I looked again at noon, I actually saw it swinging. Someone had just been there.
The label says it takes four or five days for the poison to kill them, which is a gruesome prospect, to say the least. At least the weather is cold enough that the decomposition of well-hidden rats should be minimally revolting, smell-wise. And when we go to clear out the barn this spring as we plan to…there should be some corpses to discover.
It seems the rats are taken care of. Now, I’m just going to keep everything crossed that the poison doesn’t have any unintended victims…