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Ah. So that’s where the chicken feed is going.

Not one, not two, but three rats. Well, very big mice or very small rats.

There are paving slabs in the bottom of the chicken run, but these bastards are clever. They chew. They dig. And they can insinuate themselves through improbably tiny spaces. I think I know where they’re getting in this time, but I have to keep tiptoe-ing out to check. They’ve been known to attack and kill sleepy chickens, so this isn’t funny.

Also not funny: we’ve got one under the floorboards. This house is upwards of 400 years old; the walls and floors are like rodent superhighways and we’ve been listening to this little furheaded bastard run up and down the space between the livingroom and the bedroom for 24 hours now.

The Council rat man put lots of poison down a few years ago, but that’s just it. They never REALLY go outside to die, do they? No hope getting the floorboards up. They’re gigantic slabs of iron-hard ancient oak.

Last Christmas, Saint Nick brought us a world of stink. Directly under the bed, from what we could tell. We slept in a cloud of eau de Rat Zombie for weeks.

Oh, it’s all going to hell, I tell you.


Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: November 16, 2012, 12:04 am

I grew up in an old-ish house (only 100 yrs of age, back in the early 80s) that had very very high cabinets in the kitchen. There were herds of mice up in those cabinets, so I would hall our cat up there and let her catch them. Ah, the innocent amusements of the past.

Comment from Mark T
Time: November 16, 2012, 12:09 am

Let me know if you want to borrow Hoover, my JRT, for the day. I’m serious. Rats and Squirrels? Nom, nom!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 16, 2012, 12:10 am

Yeah, I lived in a 100+ year old farmhouse as a kid. Years later, it burned and I’m told when they pulled the ceilings out, it was all full of rat and mouse shit. Not surprised.

I imagine the floorboards and crawlspaces of this place are stuffed with tiny skeletons. There have been several casualties in the five years or so we’ve been here. At one point in the 20th C, this place was empty and got VERY run down, and some old coot told us it was alive with rats. Visible on the window sills.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: November 16, 2012, 12:31 am

haul not hall…sheesh, and I haven’t even begun to drink.

Sounds like you need to let the outdoor cat have a go under the floor boards.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: November 16, 2012, 1:06 am


Comment from Pupster
Time: November 16, 2012, 1:26 am

Maybe you should let some snakes come back.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 16, 2012, 1:37 am

Yeah—what’s Asbo (Asbo?) been doing?

Comment from Elphaba
Time: November 16, 2012, 1:41 am

Rats are a scourge. Good luck getting rid of them!

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: November 16, 2012, 2:17 am

We had a rat that excavated himself a little den under our front step where he spent a whole winter nibbling at the bird seeds we put out…come spring he came out, ran up the tree in the front, scoped the area for a bit and then scuttled off…never saw him again after that…they can dig, that’s for sure…it was unbelievable how much dirt he moved.

Comment from Nina
Time: November 16, 2012, 2:33 am

And this time of year they’re likely to hunker in for the duration. Oy.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: November 16, 2012, 4:45 am

I made the mistake one year of putting out bait, not considering that the little pricks would die inside the walls, which, you know: they did. Now I use glue traps because I want them to suffer. The deer mice, which are largish, are sometimes strong enough, or panicked enough, to escape from the glue traps. They leave behind swaths of fur, but in those cases I maintain the hope that they’ll spend the winter freezing and miserable. Hey, they eat electrical insulation and burn your house down. I say that if they step on glue and all their fur comes off, they just got what’s coming to them.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 16, 2012, 5:18 am

Talon rat bait!

Comment from francis
Time: November 16, 2012, 6:23 am

My house is only 50 years old, and it’s falling apart. My wife’s ancestral home dates to the late 1800’s and seems ancient. I can’t even picture a 400 year old house that’s actually being used as a house. I’d bet it’s a beautiful home, and a ginormous pain in the ass.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 16, 2012, 8:13 am

And now returning you to your regular viewing …

A big hello to all Afghan US service personnel out there – yes you know who you are!
Well, I certainly do when you are identified boarding you aircraft first! lol!



Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 16, 2012, 10:00 am

Can you own a pellet rifle? I know fun things like my S&W M&P 15-22 are not considered kosher, but surely pellet guns are allowed.

Comment from Becca
Time: November 16, 2012, 11:27 am

Paula, I used to use glue traps as well but, because I would occasionally see that “huge swath of fur” on an empty trap, switched to snap traps.

I dunno, there was just something disturbing in imagining a pissed-off, partially bald mouse running loose in the house.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: November 16, 2012, 11:52 am

Pupster- funny you say that. Hubby and I used to live in the country surrounded by worked fields. Every harvest season and first cold snap we would be overrun by mice. Except one year. Not a mouse in sight. We discovered why in the spring when we opened some walls to do some remodeling. Seems we had some king snakes follow the mice in. They sat fat and happy up that attic all winter long-like an all you can eat mouse buffet. ‘Course it was a little disturbing to find these giant snakes in my house……

Comment from Steve In Tulsa
Time: November 16, 2012, 12:42 pm

You make great pictures with photoshop. Can you make a band picture of ‘Bronco Bama and the Totalitarians’? Nancy Pelosi on Drums, Hairy Reed on Bass, Schumer playing rhythm guitar? Or something like that?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 16, 2012, 2:05 pm

Thanks, Steve. I’m afraid my politics bone is still severely bruised. I’ll get back to the political ‘shops eventually, but I just can’t face it at the moment.

I’m going to wallow in a puddle of my own filth for a while longer. Metaphorical filth, of course.

Comment from Becca
Time: November 16, 2012, 3:25 pm

“A long, long time ago, I can still remember how those Twinkies used to make me smile…”

Comment from mojo
Time: November 16, 2012, 4:09 pm

Go and get a Catzilla.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: November 16, 2012, 4:28 pm

You need a ferret, or pellet gun, maybe.

My neighbors had chickens, and every few months, the dad would hitch the coop to a tractor, and pull it a few yards. Then, all us kids would chop rats with hoes.

What fun.

Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: November 16, 2012, 4:54 pm

I worked in a garden store back in the day. We had a giant glass jar of little purple flakes. You mixed three or four flakes with a couple of spoonfulls of water and set the mixture on the floor in a paper dish. The next day you would find boatloads of dead mice all over the floor, and you wouldn’t see another mouse for months. If memory serves, it was sodium flouroacetate. They banned it because of nasty side effects. They still use it to kill possums in New Zeland, which might explain the antics of one of the posters here.

Comment from Caliban
Time: November 16, 2012, 5:04 pm

Hi Weasie, sorry I didn’t answer back a while ago. Been busy, then too sad over the ‘incident’ south of the 49th. Since that whole Black Death thing a few centuries back, people have been trying to figure out a way to get rid of rats. Thing is, a friend of mine’s daughter actually had some as pets. I don’t get it. They’re vermin. Still in the spirit of the new magical universe we live in, how about embracing the rats? Try talking to them…make them pets. No? Yeah, me neither. Flame thrower.



Comment from Oldcat
Time: November 16, 2012, 5:27 pm

I’d go for the non-venomous snakes over the rats. I wonder if you can buy them on the internet, like the ladybugs you can get to kill insects?

Comment from mojo
Time: November 16, 2012, 6:11 pm

Black Racers love them some rats.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 16, 2012, 6:38 pm

Never thought much of the glue trap solution – in my youth, I worked in a warehouse for a while which had rats so big we’d see them wearing them as sandals.

I vote for the snakes, if you can buy one somewhere. Low maintenance, and as affectionate and loyal as most cats that I’ve had.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 16, 2012, 8:02 pm

We only have two snakes in Sussex, grass snakes and adders. Also slow worms, which aren’t really snakes. Hoping there aren’t any at Mustelid House — Uncle B doesn’t care for them.

Rats can actually make nice pets. I’ve never kept one — they don’t live long and they tend to die of dreadful things — but I’ve handled a few. I kept mice for a while.

In the end, I’ll probably opt for poison. I thought I’d plugged all the holes and there was still some chicken food left this morning, but the camera picked up one rat for a bit.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: November 16, 2012, 8:26 pm

I had mice once when I lived in Bradford as the adjacent house was empty. I set traps all round the walls and baited them with peanut butter. Came back after a long weekend and found 17 furry little corpses. Didn’t have much of a problem after that. The big-brother snap traps for rats can be quite effective. An FAC-legal (sub 12 ft-lb muzzle energy) air rifle will despatch rodents quite satisfactory, but it takes a lot of patience sitting out until one shows its face. I’ve never tried cage traps. I’ve heard rats quite quickly learn to avoid them, and they’re naturally neophobic, which makes them wily little pests. A professional exterminator will use strychnine to clear up a really bad infestation, but obviously you can’t just run down to Boots and buy some.

Comment from mojo
Time: November 16, 2012, 10:32 pm

Let’s see if this works…

Comment from Wiccapundit
Time: November 17, 2012, 3:03 am

The solution is a .22 rifle loaded with hollow points. A Ruger 10/22 does nicely.

Oh, that’s right. Y’all don’t “do” the gun thing on your side of the pond. Pity.

It’s quite satisfying to cap the little bastards.

Comment from Redd
Time: November 17, 2012, 3:39 pm

I enjoyed peeling the coconut frosting off the Snowballs. They came off in one piece and you could have fun inverting them.

Comment from Redd
Time: November 17, 2012, 6:06 pm


Comment from AltBBrown
Time: November 17, 2012, 7:03 pm

SWeasel dear, thank you for the “no politics” month. Your website is the only one not depressing the livin’ shit outta me since Teh Won was crowned by hook and by crook(s).
I’d much rather hear/read about YOUR rats and chickens than the ones preparing to foist more misery on Uncle Sam.
I’m trying to avoid news sites.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 17, 2012, 8:36 pm

Me too, Alt B. All the happy has drained out of my happy warrior.

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: November 17, 2012, 9:08 pm

Use the old-fashioned snap-shut traps with a somewhat smelly bait, semi-rancid pork belly fat is good in very small pieces.
Once you’ve trapped a rat in the snap-shut trap you’ll have to drop the trap into boiling water (after emptying the trap) for 5 minutes or so to get rid of the scent of the dead rat’s urine. Apparently this urine contains a “Don’t Come Near!” scent.
Poison? Never use it, decaying corpses all through your property is not going to be a good thing!
Did you know that a bantam cockerel which has not had his spurs clipped can be a very effective rodent deterrent?

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: November 17, 2012, 9:13 pm

Oh, one more thing.
Never place the snap-shut traps in the same place twice. You won’t catch anything after the first rat if you do.

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: November 17, 2012, 9:52 pm

But I really do like my BSA .22 air rifle fitted with a second generation night-scope. Makes rodent annihilation a much more satisfying pastime!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 17, 2012, 11:15 pm

Night scope! I hadn’t thought of that!

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: November 18, 2012, 12:47 am

You might find this entertaining:


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 18, 2012, 7:22 am

Man, that is an expensive way to shoot rats.

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: November 18, 2012, 2:43 pm

Scott, Those are all 4th generation scopes! 2nd generation scopes can be had for £15 or so.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: November 21, 2012, 12:07 am

That is a lot more reasonable!

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: November 21, 2012, 12:13 am

I really can’t say anything about people buying expensive sights. My $800 S&W M&P 15 has a $450.00 EoTech sight on it.

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