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 ....


Mammsaurus HDYGG

14 comments :

  1. Rosie 1, Rats nil.

    I really admire how you not only show the productive side to growing your own but shares the problems that arise and quests for solutions - so helpful for people.

    Now how are those little piglets getting on?
    *pretends I didn't have bacon sandwich for lunch*

    Thanks for joining in again Rosie, I'm doing some blog reading catching up this evening so will be back!

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    1. It's their birthday today ... but their time with us is limited :(. Having said that Ginger has got a bit of reprieve due to lack of freezer space at the moment.

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  2. Oh how I detest rats and mice. Being a farmer's daughter and growing up on a farm, we had plenty, but I never ever got over my phobia of them. My husband laughs, if I see a mouse in the house, he knows his life is a nightmare until all traces of any mice are gone!!!

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    1. I'm sort of OK with mice although hate seeing (or hearing them) in the house but rats - shudder - they MUST be gone!

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  3. good luck with the mice removal, it doesn't sound very pleasant though, i must say

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    1. I would love to just be able to wave a magic wand and get rid of the mice that way but this is the real world and so this is the next best thing for us. And it appears to have worked.

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  4. Ah yes, the broad bean saga! I remember! Although death by swelling pellets would be grim at least you don't have to resort to chemicals. Those chillies look fantastic - and hot! Our plant hasn't done very well this year, it's quite old now and I don't think the cold fluctuations have helped.

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    1. We are yet to try a chilli off these plants as they look so pretty on the plants but I have bought all 4 inside to try and overwinter them so sooner or later we'll try one.

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  5. We have had so much nibbled in our garage due to mice! We used to see them climbing up the outside wall to get in somehow between the roof and the wall. I don't think the amount of bird food I keep helps the situation!

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  6. Ah interesting, I remember the war on mice before - hopefully they will quite literally take the bait if they return! :) #hdygg

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    1. As yet no evidence of any mouse thieving in the polytunnel .... she says with fingers very crossed!

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  7. Hi Rosie, we have had problems with mice and rats in the past where they have actually got into the house. We tried the humane traps, but never managed to catch anything and in desperation ended up putting down those sticky traps (which worked). I wasn't happy about it, but didn't see I had an option as rodents in the kitchen cupboards is a health hazard. We haven't had a problem since having the cats hanging around the wood piles (fingers crossed they do their job in spring).

    One year we kept finding mice that seemed to have died for know apparent reason. The mice had raided one of my drawers and eaten dry yeast, I can only assume that the yeast swelled in side them in much the same way as the sugar beet pellets did and killed them.

    It'll be interesting to see if the mice favour the pellets over the beans.

    I have tried to grow chillies in the past as there are some beautiful plants, but have never had any luck and even my Dad, who is a gardener can't get them to grow. Maybe our climate is wrong for them.

    xx

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