A rat closeby

Feeding whole corn to chickensI’d been meaning to post a followup about the whole corn our neighbor gave us to supplement our flock’s winter feed.  The kernels were pretty big, and despite reports that chickens can eat some corn whole and grind it up in their gizzards, I wasn’t entirely sure whether our birds could get these big hunks down their throats.

But the feeder kept
getting lower and lower, which seemed to be a good sign…until I saw
the rat.  To be honest, I’ve known there was someone living under
our chicken coop ever since the fall, when mounds of earth began to turn
up here and there around the structure, but I wasn’t sure who had taken
up residence.  The intruder had clearly been attracted to the
kitchen scraps I dump in the coop every morning, and having a feeder
full of corn made it even more bold.  I’d assumed from the amount
of dirt involved that this was a big
Rat trapcritter like a groundhog, but it seems that one medium-sized rat is quite capable of moving around gallons and gallons of earth.

Rats are bad news,
so I immediately set out to trap it.  We bought a rat trap, I
baited it with half a slice of raw bacon, and the next day…the entire
trap was gone.

Did the rat find a way to
trip the trap and then lug the whole thing back to its den to gnaw the
food loose at its leisure?  Or did our dog break into the pasture
and steal the trap, hopefully not hurting her nose in the process? 
I’m not sure, but I do know that we’re going to have to move on to a
plan B for rat control.  Having a rat on the farm at the same time
chicks are hatching is very bad news, so we’ve got two months tops to
delete the coop intruder.  I’m scared of the idea of poison, but
maybe some rat poison down the holes would do the trick?

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