Back at the beginning of June I told you about a rat problem that had developed here at the Villas (see post poultry+food+water=rats …fact! ).
Their visitations had reached a hiatus and I was virtually tearing my hair out with frustration at losing much needed eggs, not to mention fear of the diseases that rats carry, such as Weil’s, Salmonella, Tuberculosis, Cryptosporidiosis, E.Coli and Foot and Mouth. The chooks were stressed too – they clearly resented the intruders dashing around the run and in and out of the hen house. They were constantly on alert and had all but stopped laying…
However, in the end it was neither the poison (the little blue sachet still remains in the hens’ safely out-of-bounds feeding trough) …nor the traps (of the purchased and home-made varieties) that we had set. In fact Michael never got to use the air rifle he had borrowed, because within hours of raising the food and water off the ground by creating a suspended feeding and drinking station, I am happy to report that rat sightings were reduced to zero …virtually overnight! Can it be co-incidence? Too much of a co-incidence in my opinion after more than six months of growing infestation and misery.
Remove the reason
So hen keepers of the world take note. Think carefully before spending money on expensive rat control methods – it is likely you can solve the problem simply by removing the reason the rats are there in the first place – food and water.
The rats have upped sticks and left. Moved to pastures new and our hens are happy once more …and consequently laying well. Lesson learnt. The answer was in our hands all along and all it took was a few minutes of my time, a long sturdy stick and some string!