Thursday, 19 November 2015
Mouse and Rat Wars, the natural way.
Regular readers of this blog may remember that last year I waged war on the mice who moved into the polytunnel and ate all the mange-tout out broad beans seeds I had sown in there. I did manage to resow in pots in mouse proof containers but it was not ideal. Well once again in it the time to sow these seeds but I am hopeful I have found a solution that will allow me to sow straight into the soil without losses.
Beetroot. No, not the sort in vinegar or even the roots you might grow but beetroot in the form on dehydrated pellets for animal feed, known better in English as sugar beet pellets. To explain let me take you back a couple of months ...
Earlier in the year a family (or several in fact) of rats took up residence in the feed shed and under the chicken run. It is well known that if you have farm animals that sooner or later you are very likely to get rats so we were feeling quite pleased we had remained rat free for so long. Straight away we put spare feed sacks of food into rat proof containers and we set traps but we avoided poison because of the danger to the cats and Saari. Rats are canny creatures, though and we only trapped a couple before the others just ignored the traps. When we had rat proofed the feed we had one bag of pellets too many and after a few days of all other food being out of reach they broke into it. I was furious. However, over the next few days were found 4 dead rats and by a week later ALL the rats had gone! What was going on?
I then had a brainwave and remembered Simon saying that there is a form of rat poison available in the UK that kills rats who eat it dry after which it swells inside them and they die. I did a bit of research and found a couple of references to sugar beet pellets killing rats the same way because, unlike most other creatures who overeat, rats cannot vomit. It seems, therefore, that the pellets had killed them and apparently the same fate awaits mice if they eat it.
Fast forward to the polytunnel this week and I have sown broad beans ... and placed a bowl of pellets just next to the rows. Hopefully the sweet taste of the pellets will be preferable to the beans should any mice think that the polytunnel is their very own restaurant.
I'll let you know how I get on!
And as none of this was at all photogenic I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from plants in our front porch taken rather late in the evening. So far the tender oranges and chillies are quite happy there but with temperatures due to plummet by the weekend, I may have to move them indoors soon.
Joining in with Annie's How Does Your Garden Grow linky at Fable and Folk ....