It is no secret that I live on one of the tiniest farms around. Just a scant 1.25 acre, surrounded by lovely acres of pasture. I have filled it with everything I have thought I could manage. (at times even more!) When we came here 11 years ago, we brought with us 2 large St. Bernards, and a mother cat and her litter of kittens. It wasn't long before I added some chickens to the menagerie, then sheep and finally I replaced the sheep with little goats. ( which Dear One likes better!)
When you add grain eating animals to an environment you are going to add grain eating varmints as well. First I notices a mouse or two, which the chickens really loved to hunt when they got the chance, then I began to see evidence of a larger varmint, rats. The cats have come and gone throughout the last 11 years, and while they do their job around the house in keeping the varmints down, they just don't make it over to the barn. (It may have something to do with a crazy black dog that lives there!) But that was okay, because I had the next best thing. I had a black snake, (that I hardly ever saw) which managed the population nicely.
Last Summer my Black snake came to an untimely end, (I won't go into it here) ever since then, the varmints have been more noticeable, more tunnels, more droppings, and once or twice I have even seen a rat face to face, the little heathens! Most of my feed is stored so that they can't get to it, with the exception of the grain in the chickens feeder and the bag of dog food in the feed room. I could do nothing about the feeder and they didn't seem to be bothering the dog food at all, which I thought was strange. That is, until I came to the end of that particular bag a little quicker than normal and found an enormous hole in the bottom of it!
Finally, last night, I was feeding a little later than I normally do, and I could hear them squeaking! I was determined to face music and do something about it!!! The problem is, I wasn't sure what to do, I don't do poison, because I figure that if a dying rat goes into the coop, the chickens could eat it and die too, and while I have no problem with mouse traps, those rat traps look like they could take your hand off! Then all of a sudden I remembered something.
Way back, 10 years ago, during our first Christmas holidays here at the farm, we were all snuggled in the family room, watching something on TV. Suddenly, from out of the TV cabinet there lurched a mouse, we all of course were on top of the couches and chairs, shrieking, in nano seconds. However, as we watched this strange mouse, it staggered to the middle of the room and it collapsed, dead before our very eyes! We were stunned, but after talking about it, it was discovered that a mouse had gotten into the Christmas Stocking candy that the kids had taken upstairs, and eaten some of the chocolate! It might have been that one!
Dear One has a very soft heart, and he has been recently struck by the articles on the child slaves that are used to make the chocolate we Americans have access to. He went on a hunt for some untainted chocolate and came home with milk chocolate for him and dark chocolate for me. It was a very dark chocolate, like 75%! I did the best I could but I have to tell you it was pretty hard core, even for me! Half of the bar remained in my cabinet. I got a small container and I broke up that chocolate into 6 pieces, and I have lovingly ( they are going to love it!), placed it into the feed room and closed and locked the door so that nothing else will be able to get in there. Now I have my fingers crossed. Will it work, will I find scores of dead rodents in the barn, I don't know, but I do know one thing, now I won't have to finish that chocolate!
(Sorry for all the exclamation points, it is even more than I usually use!)
(I am not sorry for not posting pictures, and you shouldn't be either!)
I will keep you posted....