A bit of a reminder for next year on flooding and rats.
So, on Monday this week (8th) it rained alot, having been fair weather all weekend. On Tuesday morning we went out to do the maminals as usual before work, a bit earlier than usual because Z needed to get into work early. Good job we did for a couple of reasons.
The first being that the water table of the plot, and the very high river following all the rain had created a couple of fairly sizable ponds on the bottom part of the field that the chickens, ducks and bunnies are currently in. We thought we had left the hose on in error, but no, just a bit of unexpected flooding. Luckily the bunnies were fine, but we decided that we needed to shift them up the hill a bit to be on the safe side. The ducks needless to say were having the BEST time ever, especially when we moved some of the electric netting up and around one of the ponds which gave them an even bigger play pen.
So, that was the first issue to note, one day of very heavy rain in the autumn can create some issues, we may need to do another shift around at the weekend.
And secondly, we moved the baby bunnies no problem, all happy with new grass to munch on. Then we came to Mac’s run and hutch. We lifted up the hutch to find a family of rats. We shrieked like girls a bit and them watched them all disappear down into holes in the vicinity. It seemed to be a mum (who scarpered first, clearly not bothered about the fate that awaited her clan) then the babies (who weren’t that small) ran off one by one (probably 5 or 6 in total). Not sure how long they had been there but it is unlikely to be more than a week as we move the bunnies regularly. Clearly a week too long but Mac seems no worse off for it. We think it is possible that the rising river had pushed them from the bank to inside the netted area. Having moved Flo too it was apparent that they had been in her run too. Once all bunnies were moved safely we then put an ark we aren’t using over the worst holey area and set a trap (that we had borrowed and not used when we saw a rat in the compost heap months ago that we haven’t seen since). When I got home last night one of the baby rats was in it. I always thought they would be too clever for a trap. Hmm a trap, I won’t go near that. One down.
I had been looking on the internet for ‘humane’ ways to dispatch rats as didn’t fancy putting whaferin down in an area with other (silly) birds and found a recipe for homemade rat poison using baking powder. So I’ve put some of that down, which may or may not work and actually still isn’t very nice as basically the Bicarb causes them to explode internally as rats can’t pass wind. Who knew? Neither of us mind rats at all (and these looked like very nice healthy river rats) but we can’t really have them sharing with our livestock for all the obvious reasons.
Also, when I was little I opened the door to my rabbit and guinea pig hutch at night and found a rat in there. I don’t particularly want to repeat this experience either.
I’m hoping they will just move along the river bed a bit but it seems that we are likley to have this as a recurring issue. With plentiful food for them it seems unlikely that they will leave of their own accord…
Oh, and after all the kerfuffle, Z didn’t get to work early…and if I hadn’t been busy working out what to do with these issues I would have taken photo’s of the ducks, the were happy as larry with their new enlarged pond 🙂