No catch again

No catch again

Hopefully approaching the shed this morning I moved the log and spotted a pile of wood shavings at the bottom of the door.

There’s been some action

I know what’s going on here I thought. The mouse is feasting on the tasty grain and now can’t fit through the hole, so he’s made it bigger. 

This is an important food source for them. So important that they’re nibbling their way in

Upon entering the shed, the traps were empty, still loaded and no catch. Again!  The mice had enjoyed a wholegrain supper followed by chocolate for pudding. 

It’s time to up the ante. 

WANTED

I visited my parents and my Dad borrowed me an old trap that is way better than those pre-baited modern ones I got from B&Q. This thing (probably) dates back to the 70’s and has caught loads of mice in its time. 

Meet The Little Nipper

I also went back to B&Q and picked up some “live traps”. If these can’t catch them then I’ll have to resort to poison. 

The point of no return

So we’re now in full steam ahead, every trap you’ve got, don’t go in the shed mode.

Lets see what happens now
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I knew it!

I knew it!

I’ve been having a few issues with the coop door sticking open and failing to shut since I made the new sliders and mounted it inside. 

Last night I was away and had to just leave it open, which isn’t too much of a problem. I’ll have to have a look this weekend and solve the issue. There’s always something. 

When the kids had collected the eggs they’d noticed the bread was gone off the mouse trap inside, but there weren’t any ninja slugs or slime. And the trap was still armed.

So in the shed, working by torchlight I loaded the trap with a fresh piece of bread and was looking at the coop door.  It was then that a fairly loud scratching sound caught my attention.  Something was outside and upto something.  Was it the handy mouse? What was it doing?  What was going to happen next?

While asking myself these questions I stood there wondering what to do.  The chickens were fidgeting and uncomfortable with the sound, something I know they are familiar with. 

I saw it!  The mouse popped it’s head into the shed through a small gap between the doors. Then disappeared. 

I knew it! I knew I’d seen a mouse that day!

A moment later and he appeared again, this time squeezing his body through the hole, shuffling as if to fit his stocky shoulders through.  Once inside he ran along the edge, past the trap and squeezed behind a piece of plywood that’s leaning up inside the shed.

Yes, that’s a mouse’s tail!

I waited a few moments wondering what he was doing, out of sight I wasn’t sure.  He popped his head out a few times and allowed me to video him before running out of the door and disappearing. 


The bread is now replaced with chocolate, both traps are inside and I know we’ll catch him tonight. 

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Not a mouse in sight…

Not a mouse in sight…

…or in the traps.

I am not 100% sure that I saw a mouse, but I am sure there are mouse droppings and it does look like they’ve been stealing the food in the shed.

But both traps have been empty for the last couple of nights.  The only exception was that the bread I’d put on the outside trap was gone without a trace the morning after and the trap was still armed.  On closer inspection I saw that the trap was covered in what seemed to be that trademark slime that slugs leave. Surely a slug hadn’t ate all the bread, it was a decent sized piece.

Wondering why the trap hadn’t triggered, I replaced the bread and adjusted the trap.

Slug slime

Then last night a slug was on the same trap munching on the bread!  This must be a ninja slug as the trap didn’t trigger again.

I’ve never paid much attention to slugs and can’t say I’m a fan of them (who is?) but think I might have a fight on my hands and will undoubtedly learn a bit more about them!

Ninja slug defeats the trap (So sorry for subjecting you to this gruesome sight!)

The inside trap hasn’t been touched and the (now stale) bread is still in place.

Mind your toes

Surely it’s not slugs that have made a hole in the plastic feed bag so that the feed pours out and then selectively taken the seeds, leaving behind the layers pellets?  I’m sure rodents are involved here.

Maybe the Ninja slugs are working in cooperation with the handy mice?

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Hope she’s OK

Hope she’s OK

Yesterday I went to collect some eggs from the nest box with my eldest daughter, she went in the shed and I stood outside.  While she was in there something caught my eye near the floor, I was sure I saw something whizz out of the shed and underneath it, I was sure I saw a tail.

So I removed the bags of feed that are on the shed floor and found a lot of feed scattered about, there was also a slug but never mind him.  I know we probably drop a few bits when filling up the containers but not the amount that I found.  There was a hole in the side of the Dr Green’s Poultry Mix bag and I knew straight away it was a mouse I’d caught a glimpse of.  So it isn’t just Star that loves this tasty treat, we now have some smaller visitors who are sampling it!

You can see a lot of layers pellets on the floor. They are part of the Poultry Mix and they are obviously eating everything except these

I felt a bit disappointed that vermin had found it’s way in and was present in our garden.  Where do they come from?  How did they find and settle here?  Can they smell seeds from miles away? 🙄

The bottom of the shed door doesn’t seal properly when it’s shut so I knew that was how they were getting in.  Plus the one I (think) I saw ran out nearly invisibly so is obviously familiar with the route.  After cleaning up the mess on the floor I moved the bags away from the door, I knew that wouldn’t stop them but did it anyway.  Then I pushed a big piece of wood against the outside of the door, closing the gap at the bottom.

Today I checked behind the bags of food and sure enough there’s a pile of food and this time there’s what look like tiny mouse droppings.

I bet they love having this big bag of food to feast on

So, tonight I have pulled out the big guns.  My daughters insisted we buy the “live traps” but I went the old fashioned route and got the traditional traps.  One inside the shed and one outside.

It’s not amazing but a mouse infestation is the last thing we want

While I was in the shed looking where to put the trap, I realised that Zazu wasn’t in the coop so ran round to the run to find her perched on one of the branches.  She seems fine but I have no idea why she was there.  I doubt she pushed her luck foraging and it went too dark, if that happened she surely wouldn’t have been able to get onto the branch, if she could see the branch she could see the coop.

I wonder whether a mouse went in the coop and spooked her.  There doesn’t seem to be any trace of red mite or similar, I know this can stop them going in the coop.

I lifted her down, which she didn’t make easy, and put her near the coop door while shining the torch to let her get onto the perch.  She was walking fine and got on the perch fine.

Zazu roosting outside alone

I hope she is OK.

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It’s a bit breezy out there

It’s a bit breezy out there

I had a day off work yesterday so was just pottering about at home.  We were getting hit with the back end of Hurricane Ophelia and the winds really picked up, it was visible in the chickens behaviour, they were out in their fenced off area but eventually started sheltering in the bushes and for a while they were all huddled in the very corner.

Hanging around in the bushes, nothing new but just before this they were huddled in the very corner, I went to check as it was out of character
It wasn’t long and they were digging again
Although Belle dug herself a dustbath and was in there for ages!

Speaking of the chickens behaviour, over the last week I have noticed that Star will chase Snowy away a lot more than usual, in fact, Star would rarely bother previously.  It seems to be since Snowy was seperated in the broody cage.  Halfway through last week I noted that Star seemed more tolerable with Snowy but saw Zazu going after her more than normal.  It’s not overly viscious and they just chase her away or give her a (pecking order) peck, it was just visibly different behaviour to previous.  Interestingly, Snowy seems to be very comfortable around Belle, the one who seemed to have it in for her before!

Another thing to note is there have been lots of Snowy’s feathers around, I feared that she is having them plucked although haven’t seen it happening.  Hoping that she is moulting instead I wasn’t sure if that fits in with the fact she’s started laying again since being broody.  It was almost comforting to read that the girls over at Carol’s are moulting!

I have checked her over and can’t see anything untoward but keep finding feathers in the run

As the winds picked up I looked out of the window and couldn’t see the chickens anywhere, it turns out they were sheltering in the run!

I’m going to build a little shelter where they are lay in this webcam picture

When I say that I was pottering about, I had embarked on making a sliding pop-hole door from the big run into the fenced off area.  I’m quite happy with it as it means we can let them out easily and they naturally find their way to the door by following the fence line.  We just pull the string and loop it over a screw to hold the door open.

The new pop-hole. I won’t be automating this one!
When I’d finished the pop-hole and closed the door to the small run, which was previously their way out, a couple of them were confused at how to get back in. Eventually all four of them found the door and were in and out without any issues.
Oh, they’ve started doing this! Stick their head through the fence to reach bugs/grass! I can’t win!

I hope the weather wasn’t too bad on anyone reading this.  Thankfully we got away lightly although I had prepped for it by strapping things down and moving what I could into shelter.

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