July 19, 2013

Chick Killer Caught

It took three tries to get it, but we finally caught our chick killer. It was a rat, and it managed to kill seven chicks before we got it.

7 of our chicks have been killed. 

Why it didn't go for the bait in the rat traps is a mystery; we've never before had a rat turn its nose up at peanut butter and cheese. This one, however, preferred raw chicken to grains, legumes, and cheese. We used a raw store bought chicken neck as bait. It couldn't resist that.

It wasn't heavy enough to trip the trap door the first night, so it made clean away with the bait. The second night Dan added some weight to the trip plate, but it gnawed most of the chicken neck from the outside of the cage. Finally, Dan secured the neck with wire in the cage so that the critter had to enter.

The concern now is whether or not there are more of them. We'll continue setting the trap for awhile, just to make sure there isn't something else.

Chick Killer Caught © July 2013 

25 comments:

badgerpendous said...

Yes! Congratulations on catching that evil critter! I loathe those things -- good riddance! And now that momma hen can maybe rest a little... :)

Sharmayne said...

Rats can be difficult to catch sometimes, so glad you got it. Hoping there is not a whole nest of them!!!

daisy said...

Clever little thing. Hope that's the last of 'em!

Woolly Bits said...

argh, rats! I don't mind them per se, but when they come too close to the house, they are really difficult to deal with, because they're quite clever! it took us ages to deal with our roof problems and we're on high alert as soon as we see odd signs (pulled out insulation etc. - which turned out to be a bird in search of a new home:). I hope that this one was the only culprit in your chicken coop!

Leigh said...

Badgerpendous, thanks. Unfortunately, we have quite a few of them around here. Riley often catches them and they are usually fat. I figured it was dropped grain in and around the animal shed. This is the first time it's been the animals themselves!

Sharmayne and Daisy, I hope it's the last too, but have suspicions, especially since I lost 4 chicks in one night. I'm continuing to set the trap just in case.

Bettina, I'm with you. Usually it's live and let live, but a destructive invasion is something else again. Unfortunately they are not solitary animals, so we're still on the alert.

Quinn said...

Glad to got the culprit! I hope it was a young male striking out on making his own territory, and this will be the end of your problem! (We can hope, right?)

Jocelyn said...

Dang, I hate rats. We had a few living in the waterfowl's pen a couple of years back. Ew, just ew.

I'm sorry about all your losses. We were losing chickens left and right for quite a while before locking them in. Not sure what got them, but I'm thinking coyote or fox. No matter what, there are always predators happy to eat our stock, aren't there?

DFW said...

That looks like a big rat. My guess is that there are more than one. Hope you get them all.

Stephanie said...

Oh he is a sneaky little bugger. Glad you caught him, and hoping you don't have anymore.

Farmer Barb said...

Having come face to whicker with a big rat in my trap, and then six months later in my compost bin, I know from the sex of them that it was a pair. My advice for the carcass is to drown them. I open them up and let the chickens eat them. Turnabout is fair play. Protein is protein--regardless of whose skanky little body it comes from.

Izzy said...

Rats are a never ending problem for us. We have Miss Izzy who does a good job of letting us know when one is in the coop, and she's fairly good at getting them too, being part terrier.

We catch them, and drown them. There will be no apparent signs of them, but in another few weeks, someone else has moved in, and we do it all over again.

Tombstone Livestock said...

They are so prolific that there is more than likely more of them, kinda like herd animals they stick together.

And the only mouse I like is Mickey.12 onseqil

Renee Nefe said...

Glad you caught this one. I hope you are able to get them all with Riley's help. It would be nice if Riley could sniff out the nest for you.
I like the idea of feeding the rats to the chickens, but I have some concerns over the health of them. But then if Riley is getting them...

Leecia Price said...

Thank you for sharing this information. I wouldn't have thought of the chicken neck but why not if that is what they are after? Good luck getting them all and keeping your chicks safe.

Pam said...

At least you know what it was.....that's always peace of mind...hopefully there will be no more! Hugs to the chicks! <3

Florida Farm Girl said...

Good for you. There likely are more of them somewhere, so be watchful. Sorry you lost so many little ones.

Sherri B. said...

Oh my, where to begin on the rat subject...We have a terrible problem with them and even have them taking up residence in our house. That is when my hubby had to resort to poison! We put it off for a long time but found it was either them or us and they were eating all of the chickens feed from the feeder too. He ended up deciding on the 'TOMCAT' brand where you put cubes of bait inside a 'station' that they crawl into through a hole. The chickens and other animals cannot get in and he puts it in places to make sure the little birds cannot get in either. It has taken care of the house problem and seems to have done a good job out in the coop too. It is sad that we had to use this but could not have them taking over the house which was just what was happening. We could even hear them fighting and running in the attic and down through the walls..creepy!

Hope you get your situation under control, it is so disturbing to have the little chicks taken like that. xo

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Hopefully that will do it!

Michelle said...

Glad you got him! Nasty vermin!

Ed said...

I never knew rats could or would kill chicks. I think back to the days when my parents raised chickens on the farm in the old chicken house that couldn't hold out animals the size of opossums much less rats. Since they raised around 100 hens at a time, perhaps they just counted on numbers getting most of them grown to a size that a rat can't eat.

Rachy said...

Good hunting!

Laura said...

I lost half of a batch of heritage turkey poults (very expensive, rare kind...) to rats before I figured out what was the problem. I saved the rest, and they went on to be dinner as was planned, but it was very disheartening.

Glad you caught the little bugger. Hopefully he/she hadn't passed on the same gustatory preferences to any of its fellows...

Leigh said...

Quinn, you know, it didn't occur to check the sex, but I hope you're right.

Jocelyn, predators just come with the territory, don't they? I'm learning to keep in mind that some loss is likely inevitable, while making effort for that not to happen!

DFW, I agree. There are likely more, although the trap has remained empty every night since.

Stephanie, terribly sneaky! I'm guessing they are impossible to get rid of entirely. We're thinking maybe we need more cats!

Barb, Dan said it didn't occur to him to feed it to the chickens. Me neither, but chickens do love their animal proteins.

Izzy, hmm. A terrier maybe an idea (assuming Riley would get over it, LOL).I suspect as long as there's grain around, rats are around too.

TL, yes, that's the problem, isn't it!

Renee, actually, Riley was getting pretty cautious around the chicken shed so I wonder if this rat was more aggressive than the usual ones he catches. Good point about possibly eating them. OTOH, the things chickens eat...... yuk.

Leecia, the chicken neck was what we had! I used to feed our dogs raw meaty bones and still had some chicken necks leftover in the freezer. It worked well and what else would I do with it. :)

FFG, we've continued to set the trap nightly. The loss was heartbreaking, especially since we've raised chicks out there before with no problem.

Sherri, seems nobody likes rats. I know the poison works, but don't you worry one will die in the walls of the house and the body will, you know, stink? It does seem a good way to deal with an infestation.

Nancy, fingers crossed!

Michelle, when I used to keep rabbits, I one day found a rat in the hutch with one of them, helping itself The rabbit was totally unperturbed, but I freaked out!

Ed, not all lists of chicken predators include rats. Apparently they aren't commonly thought of that way, until one experiences it for oneself.

Rachy, thanks! It's a relief, but I still worry there are more. Last night Mama tried to get her chicks on the roost for the night, but they all don't have the hang of that yet, LOL, so into the chick security "bedroom" they went.

Laura, that's the worst of it, losing more and more until you figure out what's going on. Maybe poultry is a cultivated taste for rats(?)

* Crystal * said...

So happy you caught him! Ick, I hate rats!

Frenchie said...

We have struggled with rats for the last 3 years. So frustrating. They have taken up residence in our pool heater and then get into our coop at night. Last year we built a temporary coop in the middle of our yard because after catching a couple in rat traps they wouldn't go near them. So we resorted to poison. There were 12 in our coop one night and after the poison I found 11 dead rats. They were gone for a few months and now they're back. Thankfully not in such big numbers. This time I've been shooting them with a pellet gun because every trap I've tried they won't go near it. Sneaky/smart little things!