What a weekend…

The weekend started off great, a delicious dinner from the garden, red velvet cake at Mary and Jason’s, time with my friend Zoe…all terrific. Then came Saturday…

I stayed in bed until 10 am so I could finish John Grisham’s book “Confession” which I was really into and wanted to get to the end. Thought I would have a lazy day, lunch with Larry, grocery shopping, nails done…you know the usual Saturday routine. Around 4 pm I decided to go check on the chickens, put some more feed in their bin, make sure that they have water since the weather is warm, feed them some greens, collect the eggs and go about my business as usual. When I arrived at the chicken pen I noticed that they had laid an egg near the feeder and not in the coop. They had never done that before. I picked up the egg, filled up their feeder, gave them clean water, closed the pen, went around to the coop to gather the eggs. When I opened the coop door to get the eggs, I was greeted by 8 rats!!! Oh shit, I had on gardening clogs and slammed the door on the coop and ran screaming blood curdling screams at the top of my lungs. I then proceeded to trip on my clogs and fall face down on the ground. By this time I was totally petrified and sure that the rats were chasing out of the coop and running after me like you see in the movies. I got up and ran as quick as I could now that I was bleeding on my arm and knees and pretty bruised by this great fall. Larry came running out of the house, sure that someone was trying to kill me. I was so hysterical that I had to go in and lie down so that I could slow my breathing down.

My hero husband proceeds to the chicken coop, sure that I had exaggerated the situation, only to find out that there were indeed 8 rats huddled between the roosting boxes and the door to the coop. He began to take a shovel and rake to get them out of the coop and they began running for cover. He came back in to report and convinced me that they had all run away. We called farmer Mary and her husband Jason for suggestions. They brought over their rat zapper and we were off to the hardware store to find solutions for our rat infestation. After spending $50+ on rat catching devices we returned to the home front armed with rat houses laden with poison and steel wool to cram into the holes in the fence.

By this time it was 5:30 pm and we all had to shower and get ready to go out to a fundraiser for the evening.

This morning (Sunday) I was off to the Board Retreat for the Temple. I left the house at 7 am and returned at 2:30 pm. After going out for a late lunch with Lar, Jenni and Jessica, I returned to the homefront and decided to check on the chickens. Again I noticed an egg laid in the pen…I now knew the rats were back with a vengeance. This time I am no dummy, I do not open the coop door. I run into the house, this time I am wearing tennis shoes…I am prepared to take on the rats, but not alone. Lar was not happy to hear that I thought the rats were back but he followed me out to the chickens…he notice the egg, as had I in the corner of the pen. He slowly opened the door to the coop and sure enough, two rats were hiding in the back. He tried to coax them out to no avail. Finally he got one and was able to kill it. Whew! One down and one to go. We decide to set a rat trap and trap it in the coop. I went into the house to gather supplies, namely our organic crunchy peanut butter, a spoon and a knife to scrape it onto the trap. Between Lar and I we are able to set the trap. Lar carefully carries it into the coop, places the trap on the floor of the coop and locks the door. The chickens couldn’t get in and the rat couldn’t get out. We go inside the house for an hour and plan on checking before dark to see if we got the rat. At 7:45 pm we once again trek out to the coop and I stand back….far back about 50 yards. Lar slowly opens the door to hopefully find a dead rat, but no…as he moves the roosting box in place the rat jumps out of the coop onto the ground. I let out a blood curdling scream, jump onto a metal lawn chair, again gash my knee and break a fingernail and Lar looks at me and says, get ahold of yourself. When I am sure the rat has run away I slowly descend from the chair and go into the house.

In frustration I looked at my favorite chicken website for a solution…www.mypetchicken.com
They were very helpful. They provided several solutions that we will begin working on tomorrow. We will have our gardeners dig up the floor of the chicken pen and attach a heavy metal wire and then put in several inches of dirt and then rice hulls. I am sure that we will be into the chickens for several hundred more dollars, but these are my girls and I must protect them from the mean rats!!

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