Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mystery Solved

There are days when "tales" take place in a moment
 and I am lucky enough to have my camera ready to capture the moment.


And then there are tales that unfold over a number of months.
Today's tale is one that began last summer.


It is a tale that involves our henhouses.
We have three henhouses.
Numbers one and two share an enclosed yard between them.
(although the door to this yard stays open daily for free ranging)


Across the lane and behind the Nigerian Dwarf goats is another house and another enclosed yard.


This particular house is where my some of my oldest chickens live.


My fancy top-hat chickens are 6 years old, while the black and white Marans are about 4.
There are also a few younger chickens in this group.


Last summer I had noticed that egg production in this house had dropped to an all-time-low.
It was not unusual to only get 2 to 4 eggs (total) daily from these gals.
I assumed it was due to the fact that they were older hens and didn't give it too much thought...


that is, until I spied a rat scampering into a hole underneath the henhouse.


Last summer was the first summer on the farm that I actually saw a few rats.
I never took their pictures because...
1.)  the rats were dead...on the floor of the barn...a prize brought home by my barn cats.
or
2.) the rat ran so quickly that I had no time to snap his picture.

Now I am not a lover of rats, but I realize that mice and rats are a common pest on farms...
so, I didn't get too excited about seeing a couple.
What I didn't conclude, however, was that those rats were stealing eggs.


Over the past few weeks, our egg production in this particular house bounced back.
We were back to collecting a dozen or more eggs daily.
What changed?


This past weekend I spoke to Hubbs about the change in egg production and mentioned
that maybe the summer's decrease had been due to the rats...
and that maybe now that there had been so much cold weather,
that maybe the rats had been staying in their homes... hibernating?

And then Hubbs spilled the beans.
He had put some rat bait down inside the hole under the henhouse.
(That would explain the stench I noticed in the henhouse a few weeks back...
that caused me to completely strip out the house and clean it!)


And so... the rats are gone...the hens are laying (still) and our egg customers are happy!
I only wish I had been able to see those wiley ole' rats stealing my eggs.
Now that would have been a great photo!

Yesterday was a soggy day on the farm... morning ice was followed by afternoon rain.


And so I spent the bulk of the day indoors...
dividing my time between laundry, vacuuming, cooking, ironing, knitting,
and working on wedding decorations...
 large tissue paper flowers in pink, cream and light brown.


So much to do....thank goodness we still have lots of time!

9 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what a good resolution! your eggs look beautiful. if i lived nearby, i would be an egg customer! we still have ice here!

Missy George said...

I can't tell you how many times I have said to myself "I wish I had my camera". I know you'll get everything done somehow. The flowers are adorable

Junebug said...

ICK, rats! I know they are a part of a farm but I'm so with Hubbs on this subject. I can handle mice but RATS!!!!!!!!!! They send me running.

Oh how fun you are having for this wedding. Have a great day, hugs!!

Karen L. Bates said...

Ugh, glad you didn't catch any pictures of the rats. Lots to do this time of year....seems like it should calm down but a wedding is like over the top work! Have fun. Good Hubby...even though we hate the poisons it was necessary.

Rita B Caldwell said...

Now you have me wondering if the same thing is going on in my henhouse!!! Investigation begins now!

daisy g said...

Can't blame your dh and I'm glad the ladies' hard work is not being wasted on the likes of those varmints! It sounds like a great time to be inside doing nesting chores. Lovely flowers!

Country Gal said...

I remember being on the farm where rats would not only steal our eggs but our chicks as well ! Thank goodness for barn cats lol ! Glad you got that sorted out and are back on the high egg count again lol ! Lovely photos . It is sunny but bitterly cold here today ! Thanks for sharing Have a good day !

Lynne said...

One thing . . . I can't even write it . . .
Gives me the willies . . .
Thank your husband!

mrscravitz said...

Well I just got rid of 11 mice in my barn in the past two weeks! Starts with TWO and wham before you know you got hundreds! So I knew I had to get a jump on them. So I set up mice traps. The old fashioned kind that SNAP!. One day, I was out in the barn, and I heard a "SNAP"! "EEEEEK! EEEEK! EEEK!" Oh my heart sank~ The trap had just barely caught this youngster foot. So I pick the trap up, and walk it out to behind the shop and let him go~! He did scamper off in the opposite direction of the barn. I hope he did not come back. I think Mice are cute! They don't gross me out, or scare me. They will Startle me though. But once I know they they are around, I am not scared. But I know they are dirty. Carry Disease, and are just pests, and multiply like.....well....they just multiply really fast. So I set traps! I really don't know what I would do if we had rats. They are way BIGGER! LOL

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