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Well, that was different!

Keeping your rabbits safe from predatory animals, pests, and people.
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Well, that was different!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:28 pm


We are continuing to trap the rats that have infested our kitchen. Count since we began this round, two and a half weeks ago, stands at 33 -- all juveniles.

Mid afternoon today: a trap goes snap and the squealing starts. All 33 were instant kills, I'm glad to say, so I was disconcerted that even a rat should be caught and in pain. I hobbled out to the kitchen as fast as I could . . .

But it wasn't a rat this time. It was a little brown weasel, not much longer than a rat and a lot more slender. Fortunately, it was caught only by a hind foot, so we were able to release it outside. It ran off, seemingly not slowed down by its injured foot. I did feel bad about it, but I think it will likely survive.

Weasels and mink have got into the house before and they do a great job of cleaning out the rats. I was tempted to just let this one go inside the house, but feared it may not have learned its lesson about traps. I need to change my baits to something that will attract rats but be of no interest to weasels. This particular trap had bacon fat in the little cup.

The funny thing is, not two days ago I said to my partner, Brian, that I thought we had a weasel in the house. The running sounds at night were a different rhythm and I caught a whiff of musk. Today it was more than a whiff, but fortunately it is neither as strong nor as unpleasant as skunk, and it does not have much staying power.

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:14 pm


that a first ... never heard of that before-- caught lots in the chicken coop as a kid... but never in the house -- good luck with the rat issue...
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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:22 pm


Marilla -- my avatar cat -- killed two weasels in the house a number of years ago and injured another. She was fearless. Our current cat, Jenny, kept a safe distance from this weasel. She's very sweet, but not much of a hunter.

We have lost very few chickens or rabbits to mink and weasels and they do a stellar job of eating rats. I think they prefer them . . . or maybe, being so plentiful, they are just easier to catch. I was very glad to know we have at least one weasel around. I can use all the help I can get! :)

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:34 pm


Oh what an interesting experience. Lucky it wasn't killed. :) Hopefully, the little guy helps keep the rat problem under control.

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:11 am


My only weasel was a fishercat and it was not content with rats..... Mass chicken and guinea fowl slaughter.
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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:59 am


As a kid,- I was more excited about my trapping abilities then chicken health, so at first, I devised all kinds of traps, and ways to trap weasels etc.. but, after a while i decided to just close up all the knotholes in the old coop instead of setting traps on blocks of wood under them -- that program worked a lot better for a lot of reasons-- We could not afford to loose any more chickens, -and- allowing them to keep the rat and mice population down was a much better idea then killing all of them ... It was't long until the rat, and mice poop in the rabbit and chicken feed disappeared again...
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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:22 am


akane wrote:My only weasel was a fishercat and it was not content with rats..... Mass chicken and guinea fowl slaughter.


A fisher is a different kettle of fish. They not only seem to be more aggressive, they are also much, much bigger than mink and weasels, more the size of a house cat. Around here, many people have lost their outdoor cats to fishers.

The largest mink I've ever seen (probably an escapee from a nearby mink farm) was barely two pounds. That was the only one that we killed; it was in the rabbit colony, chasing the rabbits around and it had already killed one.

A short-tailed weasel (ermine) weighs only a few ounces, less than many of the anilmals it hunts. This one was especially small, probably a female and I hope it survives to reproduce this spring.

-- Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:22 am --

michaels4gardens wrote:As a kid,- I was more excited about my trapping abilities then chicken health, so at first, I devised all kinds of traps, and ways to trap weasels etc.. but, after a while i decided to just close up all the knotholes in the old coop instead of setting traps on blocks of wood under them -- that program worked a lot better for a lot of reasons-- We could not afford to loose any more chickens, -and- allowing them to keep the rat and mice population down was a much better idea then killing all of them ... It was't long until the rat, and mice poop in the rabbit and chicken feed disappeared again...


I'm picturing you as a kid, Michael, hopefully setting those traps and priding yourself on your trapping skills. We'd have got along just fine as kids . . . I remember trying to catch a raccoon using a box trap baited with a sucker I caught in the local creek. :roll:

Exclusion is certainly the best way to deal with weasels, but our house was built in 1890 and it is riddled with hidden passageways for rodents and weasels. Short of tearing out all the cupboards and other fixtures, patching isn't feasible. I am fond of the old house, but the "modern improvements" made in the 20th century were all poorly done. If I ever win the lottery I'd have the place gutted back to the original house, properly retrofitted with plumbing and electricity and furnish the kitchen with free-standing antique cupboards.

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:16 am


Maggie
I wanted to let you know I tried a variation of the plaster/icing sugar because I didn't have any icing sugar (plaster/doe top dressing - boss, calfmana, rolled oats and barley)

They ate some of that .... havn't seen any activity since... it was Tuesday that I set that out... and yesterday I set out the icing sugar/plaster mix.... and a lot of traps with peanut butter.....

Thanks for the advice and good luck with your hunt!
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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:53 am


You're very welcome, Tricia! :) Glad to hear that there has a least been a reduction in rat activity. It's an ongoing battle, but I think wherever one uses grain-based feeds, rats are bound to arrive, sooner or later.

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ipoGSD » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:29 pm


Awwwww poor baby weasel. Next weasel catch.. send it to me :D I'll love it and squeeze it and call it rikki tikki!!!

As for bait. Around here, the rats love to munch on our bunny food, so they know it's a safe food to eat. Also wild bird food works good too. I dont see a weasel having much interest in either of those foods. I know ferrets have a sweet tooth so I'd assume a weasel would also, otherwise tootsie rolls are yummy to rats too

Good luck getting those little things. Pet rats are cute. Wild rats are cute to me also but are a huge tick carrier so they gotz to go!

(Yay I can post again.. was having separation anxiety lol)

-- Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:29 pm --

PS
Maggie.. I know why I couldn't reply. I was using an emoji from my phone that isnt one of your smiles! I literally just figured it out lol I'm an idiot!

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:02 am


MaggieJ wrote:
akane wrote:My only weasel was a fishercat and it was not content with rats..... Mass chicken and guinea fowl slaughter.


A fisher is a different kettle of fish. They not only seem to be more aggressive, they are also much, much bigger than mink and weasels, more the size of a house cat. Around here, many people have lost their outdoor cats to fishers.



michaels4gardens wrote:As a kid,- I was more excited about my trapping abilities then chicken health, so at first, I devised all kinds of traps, and ways to trap weasels etc.. but, after a while i decided to just close up all the knotholes in the old coop instead of setting traps on blocks of wood under them -- that program worked a lot better for a lot of reasons-- We could not afford to loose any more chickens, -and- allowing them to keep the rat and mice population down was a much better idea then killing all of them ... It was't long until the rat, and mice poop in the rabbit and chicken feed disappeared again...


I'm picturing you as a kid, Michael, hopefully setting those traps and priding yourself on your trapping skills. We'd have got along just fine as kids . . . I remember trying to catch a raccoon using a box trap baited with a sucker I caught in the local creek. :roll:
.


As a kid my job was to get the meat for mom-- so I hunted and trapped a lot... as well as raised rabbits, chickens, and a pig each year. Laying hens were kind of expensive and special because they did not do as well as rabbits on what I could grow- so we had to buy grain for them all winter - so- when we lost a bunch of hens one night, it was a big deal... and seeing the mess in the coop was traumatic ... I think the first weasel [probably a fisher] lifted the chicken run door to get in - there was a little gap under it that would have made it easy to get a hold of.- That was the only big weasel I caught- it was about half to 3/4 the size of our cat. -the rest of the weasels I caught were small ...
As a kid I was a loner, my only friends were my girl cousins , one of those cousins was an incredible tom boy- and a match for me in any contest.. --once, to my embarrassment, she stepped in when four older boys were beating on me after school-- she whipped them all in a minute [I would have rather taken the beating] --We both were rebels and outcast, unwelcome in family, and church circles..- Her and I would roam the mountains and forests, hunt , fish, swim in the river--- and generally misbehave ..... The other mamas in the area, would tell their children to stay away from us...
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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:25 pm


Sounds like a rather hard childhood, Michael, but rich in many ways that have nothing to do with material things. I was a tomboy as well, though not up to your cousin's standard, I'm afraid. I was sandwiched between two brothers and always trying to prove I was "as good as a boy." We had plenty of room to roam because our property backed onto a huge golf course and we were skillful trespassers, sticking mainly to the wooded areas and crossing the creek on stepping stones to dodge the guards. It wasn't wild land, however, and we couldn't hunt there. But Dad did take us out hunting rabbits and game birds later on. He brought home a brand new 20 gauge shotgun for me when I passed my hunter's education course. Was I proud!

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Jasuji » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:23 am


Maggie - get an electronic rat trap. No squealing, no blood, no guts - just dump the dead rat out & reset. Don't even need to touch the rat. After I found an unattached rat arm in my snap trap that had been chewed off, with a trail of blood, that was the last time I used a snap trap. I hated finding them still alive and looking up at me, too. I am very squeamish. But the electronic trap is just wonderful. No noise, they just fall over dead. I've used Rat Zapper for years, but there are other models too. It also works on ground squirrels, if you have those little buggers digging under your house, too.

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Rainey » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:53 pm


Jasuji wrote:Maggie - get an electronic rat trap. No squealing, no blood, no guts - just dump the dead rat out & reset. Don't even need to touch the rat. After I found an unattached rat arm in my snap trap that had been chewed off, with a trail of blood, that was the last time I used a snap trap. I hated finding them still alive and looking up at me, too. I am very squeamish. But the electronic trap is just wonderful. No noise, they just fall over dead. I've used Rat Zapper for years, but there are other models too. It also works on ground squirrels, if you have those little buggers digging under your house, too.


We tried rat zapper a couple years ago, soon after we started with rabbits. I think we got one mouse in it, never a rat and the nothing even when the bait was eaten. Wonder if we just got defective ones--glad they worked for someone. We've gone back to mostly using the plaster of Paris and whatever is on hand to mix with it to attract the varmints and find that effective if we pay attention to keeping up with it--noticing when it is eaten and refilling promptly And I'm with Maggie that the best rat protection is having a mink include our barn in its hunting territory. (Must say though that I was surprised at how little Maggie was saying a mink weighs--they look like they should weigh more than a couple pounds since the adults I've seen are over a foot long)

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Re: Well, that was different!

Post Number:#15  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:08 pm


I've heard mixed reviews about the Rat Zapper. It's good to know they worked for you, Jasuji, because it's a lot of money for a "maybe."

I usually hear the traps when they are triggered and I certainly hear anything that squeaks because it is only injured. They are dispatched with a hammer within a minute. Anyone who can dispatch a rabbit can certainly dispatch a rat. Except for the weasel, all trapped critters from this round were instant kills. And I was glad the weasel was not badly injured.

Rainy, I checked my files and found the stats for the mink:
- 914 grams (2 pounds equals 908 grams)
- 21 inches from nose to tip of tail
- 14.5 inches long not counting tail.

I wish I'd known about the mink farm before it was closed. I'd have been tempted to buy a couple of youngsters, half-tame them and release down by the outbuildings. But we didn't know about it until too late.

Here's a link to an article about using mink for rodent control:
https://modernfarmer.com/2014/05/farm-c ... rain-hunt/

My partner Brian was telling me that his uncles (long ago) had mink that set up housekeeping in an old barrel in the barn. They did a great job of controlling the rats and mice.

Thanks for the reminder, Rainey, to mix up some more Plaster plus for the rats down in the outbuildings. You're perfectly right that you have to keep a supply available for efficient control.
Last edited by MaggieJ on Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added link to an article in Modern Farmer.

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