Waging War on the Norwegians
We are not talking of the folks that hail from Norway. We are talking about our new enemy, the Norwegian Brown Rat. Seems that chickens and rats go together like hand in glove. These critters adapt so well to their environment and now their natural habitat includes a giant buffet!
We first discovered we had rats about a week ago, around the time we put a bowl of feed into the guest quarters of the chicken coop for Napolean Dynamite and his two girls, Josephine and Elba. It was raining and we don’t yet have a cover over their area to keep their food dry. When we entered the actual chicken house/palazzo to do our nightly check on the girls and collect eggs, we discovered a rat. YUK. A big ol’nasty rat. Double YUK.
The next night I went out to the chicken yard and saw not one, not two, but THREE of the little buggers running for their life. The next day I went to the store and bought three RAT TRAPS. You could have filmed a screwball comedy watching us try to put peanut butter on the traps and then Farmer Jeff attempting to “set” the traps, only to have them snap and fling peanut butter ala catapult around the kitchen! Our dog, Callebaut, was quite happy to help by licking the Jackson Pollack splatters of peanut butter off the cupboards and floor!
We have set out the traps and NOTHING has happened. Then Farmer Jeff hands me a book he has just finished reading, Rats : Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants -- by Robert Sullivan. Well, I started reading it because I figured that it is best to Know thine enemy. This is where I learn that rats, unlike mice, are very wary of new things in their environment. It is best to set out the traps with out triggering them so the rats become accustomed to eating the bait and then when they least expect it…WHOMP
We briefly considered poison, but can’t take the chance of the dogs or the feral kitties catching the poisoned rats. Then we wondered if we should get a .22 rifle but ruled that out because, although we live in the country and outside of city limits, it would just make too much noise and MIGHT hit someone or something we hadn’t intended to hit. THEN we talked about getting a pump pellet gun. Quieter, and just as lethal/effective as the .22.
So far we are sticking with the peanut butter laden traps, filling up the holes as fast as I can and moving in the food containers every night. What a pain. These little rats are so smart. I am afraid we will always have them as long as we have the chicken food and water buffet open.
We will continue to wage war on the Norwegian Brown Rats…and I promise to report on the progress of each side!