Sometimes I store an extra bale of straw on top of the hen-house to keep the straw dry. When I’ve popped the strings off and it’s opened, I wrap an old sheet around it to hold it together so the straw doesn’t get loose and blow all over the place. I pulled the corner of the sheet to get a bit more straw to put in the hen-house when a rat dropped on my flip-flopped foot. I squealed and the girls ran over to see if they could catch the rascal for me. In the brouhaha the rat ran across my foot two more times. I was squawking and dancing worse than the chickens.
Eventually the rat darted under the hen-house and we all quieted down. I took all the stored straw, spread it in the chicken yard and threw the sheet away. I’m going to have to find a better place to store straw.
The rat is still living in with the chickens. He has done what I thought was the impossible and tunneled under all that wire I so carefully buried in the ground to make him or herself an escape route right into my blueberry patch. I’ve tried blocking the tunnel with a brick, to see that, in a few days, the tunnel has widened, rat-sized around the brick. I then set up the have-a-heart trap in the blueberries by the tunnel-don’t want the chickens getting trapped. Apparently I haven’t found the right bait for rats. I think I heard somewhere those marshmallow-y candy circus peanuts I ate as a child work? Or was that for squirrels? Really, a squirrel is a rat with a bushy tail so maybe it’ll work for either.
My next tactic will be to ball up some chicken wire to stuff in the tunnel, with wire spread out over the entrance, weighed down with a cinder block. I’ll attempt this late at night when the rat is hopefully carousing outside somewhere else. I’ll keep you posted.