Monday, November 28, 2011

Blood Thirsty Hens and Killer Pumpkins

I'm so sorry for the lag in posts, dear readers. The past couple months have been rough. I never fully recovered from that virus and then got another one on top of that. Basically, I've been feeling like crap for the past eight weeks and haven't felt motivated to write as the farm has gone to pot while I've been struggling to just get by. It happens.

This has been a shit time to get taken out of commission too, since it is the start of the rainy season, or what I like to refer to as "vermin season". In search of a dry place to nest, our most tenacious nemesis this year has been not the rat, but the mouse. Those little fuckers have infested our basement and backyard, leaving droppings and shredding any scrap of paper or fabric in their path. But the great thing about mice is that they are stupid, unlike rats who tend to outwit every evil plan I have come up with for their demise.

So far, these jaw traps have been the shiznit. They practically have a no-fail rate compared to the standard snap traps. Unfortunately, the mice seem to be reproducing faster than I can trap them. It's time to bring out the big guns.

One of the best methods that I have used for killing vermin is this pumpkin trap thing that I came up with. I take a leftover from Halloween, cut open the top like a jack-o-lantern lid, fill the bottom with a mixture of animal feed and plaster of Paris, cut a small hole a little larger than a quarter in the side, and replace the top. The rodents come in through the hole, as they are attracted to squash seeds and eat the feed and plaster mixture. Then the next time they drink water, the plaster hardens in their stomachs and kills them. Not the nicest way to go, but a vast improvement over poison as it is of no danger to rodent predators. The brilliance of this method is that no other animal can unwittingly access the plaster-laden feed.

Inadvertently, I found that chickens can be a big help in pest control. The other day I was out de-lousing the goats (another issue during the rainy season) when I heard something that sounded like a dog playing with his favorite squeaky toy. I thought to myself "I've never heard a chicken make THAT noise before." Then I saw what Cleo, the Ameraucana, had in her beak. She was pummeling that poor thing to the ground, a wheezy squeak emanating from the tiny creature with each voracious peck. The mousey didn't stand a chance. Those chickens will literally eat anything. If I ever faint in the animal pen, I can guarantee that I'll be a goner. The girls peck at me every time I'm in there like I'm something real tasty. Don't they know that I'm the one who feeds them?

Cleo paraded that mouse around like it was the biggest, juiciest worm she had ever found. The other ladies were so jealous, chasing her around the yard in a futile attempt to snatch the critter. What a cluckin' kerfuffle! Remember kids, chickens aren't benign, docile creatures. They are killers. Possessive, blood-lusty killers. Approach with caution.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Oh, I hope you can get healthy again soon, Heidi, sounds like you've had a bad run, which sucks!

    Great pumpkin trap idea... very clever. Another one I've heard of people using is aspirin, as they ingest it and then bleed to death internally (aspirin has blood thinning properties) but thing would be they'd go off (back to their nest probably) and die maybe somewhere you can't get to their decaying bodies. Poor rodents, they are only doing what nature intended, but if only they'd do it somewhere else!!

  2. I love your pumpkin trap idea! We have some good snap traps but our chickens have actually killed more rats, yes, rats, than the traps have, which is saying something. The water bucket has also killed a rat.

  3. That pumpkin idea is so cool! And... add me to the list of chicken herders in possession of blood-thirsty cluckers. During recess one afternoon, I caught Hazel pecking the daylights out of a rat. I removed the dead thing, thanked her for her services, and that was that. (ICK!!!!! But it is nice to know I don't have to worry about vermin in their feed. They eat their body weights in cockroaches when the little bastards are dumb enough to scamper into their run, too.)

    Heidi, I am so sorry to hear that a stinkin' virus has you down again. Thank heavens for that dish robot.

  4. Heidi, get better and post more :)
    If I can add a piece of advice - you know it's easy, just writing - cat is the best mouse trap. They get well with chickens if they are used to them...
    Waiting for your next posts while I am reading the old ones.
    Greetings from Poland!