Originally Posted by buckabucka
I haven't done fermented feed in a long time, but I've noticed variations in bags of flock raiser. Sometimes I get a bag with a good date, but the feed is very dark looking and doesn't smell that great. Some of the flocks won't eat it. I bought some recently to boost protein around the molt, and this bag smells better and they are eating it. The lack of consistency is frustrating. Even the "good feed" that I buy in New Sharon sometimes seems like I got the bottom of the pile, where all the finer particles rest, although it consistently smells fresh.
Sorry about the rats. I am having a temporary success with them here, but I've gone to great measures.... The entire run in the old flock is now lined with hardware cloth (even under the dirt floor that I dug up this summer). I latched pieces together with interlocking folds, and where this wasn't possible, I sewed the pieces with florist wire. It seems to be working.
In the hoop coop, I started burying hardware cloth vertically 2 feet down. Every time I completed a little section, you could see where they tunneled along, just below the ground surface for the length of hardware cloth and emerged at the far edge. We kept going with this little game every weekend. I've only done half the coop now, but at the end of the last stretch of hardware cloth, I filled the ground with rocks and put in wadded up scraps of hardware cloth. I drove a series of earth staples very close together down into their tunnel right before the rock pile too, just to further discourage them. I haven't seen any evidence since, and the feed is lasting longer. Of course, they will be running through the compost and eating my winter greens until I convince them to eat poison, but they aren't appearing in the coops right now.
I may have to dig up the run floor to line it as well. I'm looking at 110 Conibear traps to set up in my enclosed compost bin. Maybe I can lure them in there.
I'm still putting out the Plaster of Paris, flour, instant potato mixture which seems to be disappearing. Maybe they're just pushing it around the tray to make it look like they're eating it. I rolled some moldy cheese in it last night. That was all gone this morning! I've even been reading about foods that you should NOT feed your pet rat--blue cheese, licorice, anything moldy, caffeine, raw sweet potato, uncooked dry beans, poppy seeds, green potato eyes, bubble gum. The problem with bubble gum was I was eating just as much as I was giving to the rats.
Originally Posted by superchemicalgirl
The rats are still at bay here - it took the smoke bomb, digging up their place and shooting them and drowning a few for them to move on. I had to cover the duck house bottom in small welded wire, too. I do not have the luxury of doing that any where else nor digging it down due to the amount of slate/granite ledge we have here.
What type of smoke bomb did you use, SCG? I looked at those at TSC but wasn't sure if they would affect the flock. DH did get 1 with the 22 but that's the only 1. I was getting about 1 a night in the snap traps I've setup in the window but even that has stopped. I've been bringing all food & water in at night.
I do have a few neighborhood cats still coming around to hunt the rats. One in particular, a calico--I call Miss Kitty, has been sunning herself on the roof of the pen. She's the only one who doesn't run when I talk to her.
Originally Posted by lazy gardener
Sorry you all are having rat problems. Just a matter of time b/fore I see some here, but so far, so good. I'm convinced that it's b/c I use FF, and there is never any feed left out at night for the nasty creatures. Got squirrels though. Not sure if they're an issue stealing eggs or not. I was finding eggs in strange places in coop and run, at about the same time I had a squirrel with a ratty tail trapped in the run one day. Tried to give him a dose of lead to no avail. No egg issues since. RE: FF or any feed for that matter: Check your dates, and if you get a bag that they refuse to eat, take it back. I had a bad bag one winter, even though it was fresh. My flock was absolutely not eating it no matter how I served it up. Took it back, exchanged it for a new bag, and they went wild, making up for lost time.
My girls beak through the FF so it's strewn on the ground. What are you brand of feed are you using? I was checking the dates on my bags and pawing through the pile at TSC to get the newest to no avail. They seem to eat it dry okay but they're not going crazy for it.