Saturday, August 9, 2014

Home Made Rat Poison

There was a construction event on the highway close to our home this summer.  They dug down and made the roadbed deeper, so there was a lot of displaced dirt.  They must have made a deal with the land owners to the north of us.  Bulldozers went onto the land and recut the crooked little drainage ditch.  then that removed all of the top soil, set it back.  They brought in the clay from the road bed and shaped it.  The project is done now and the construction company has moved all of it's equipment away.  It is a gorgeous job.  Now it just needs erosion control before it is all washed away into a giant silt pool.

Unfortunately, all of the earthwork displaced some rats from the little creek.  My chicken coop seemed to be a good  all you can eat buffet for them.  I tried to get in the habit of putting out enough food for the day for the chickens but this just encouraged them to spread out to the garden right behind the house.  Time to take action.  I had read in several sources that rats could not process calcium and that it could wipe out an entire rat colony.  That's good information but they never gave any instructions on how to get the calcium into the rats.

Then one perfect night as I closed the girls up in their coop, I petted the hen that always nested by the door, gave the hanging feeder a shake to see how much feed was leftover, when  a rat scurried out of the coop, across my foot and into a burrow under the fence.  I was wearing flip flops that night and could feel the brush of fur and tiny rodent toenails.  It totally creeped me out and I jumped about a foot into the air.  Though I am proud to say that I did NOT pee myself.  Hooray!  But it was the push I needed to go ahead and try out making my own rat poison.

Step one was to go and buy a bottle of Oyster Shell Calcium.  I chose that one as I believe from what I have read that it is the hardest to digest and least absorbed.  Then I popped a hand full of them into a plastic bag and gently smashed them into powder.  Then I stirred it all into a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Then I shaped it into balls.  Sometimes I rolled them in oatmeal just to make it easier to handle.  Then I would toss some down all of the burrows.  It worked!  I found one ratty corpse but typically they died in the burrows and I was aware of them only because of the fly infestation.

What made me feel  better about the process is that though I had to cause the demise of the little furballs, at least I used a poison that would not kill any other creature that might feed off the dead rat.  I was especially worried about any of my lovely owls.  So that was it.  It's done and sorted.


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