The chipmunks don’t even pretend anymore.

Day 108 of 365

photo credit: Matthew Petiard, Unsplash

This is a post about chipmunks. They are adorable little creatures to me, but they are also chicken feed thieves. And when you have a giant network of chipmunks running in, around, and under your property (their tunnel system is remarkable), there is quite a bit of chicken feed that disappears into tiny cheeks.

When the warmer weather first arrived this spring and we started leaving the garage door open for the broody hens and babies, it meant the chicken feed bags were also more available to chipmunks. The chipmunks didn’t hesitate to make themselves at home. For real, when we open the garage doors in the morning, there are chipmunks waiting to come in. There’s kind of a line.

Ron now says things like, “The grocery store is open.” And the chipmunks seem to say, “Good deal!”

Of course, there are worries about having chipmunks living so closely with your chickens. I read they can spread disease, and they help themselves to no small amount feed–and chicken feed just keeps getting more expensive. Still, there is something about them. First, we have learned over the years, when there are chipmunks present, there are no rats. When the rats have come, the chipmunks have been nowhere to be found. And, so far, in all of our years here, the chipmunks have never damaged buildings the way the rats did. People who say chipmunks are just cuter rats are missing that critical point, I think. Thankfully, after two years of extreme diligence on our parts, it seems the rats are at bay because the chipmunks thrive.

They are so bold these days that they seem to like to get involved in our affairs. Today, I was trying to get some scratch treats for the babies, and there was a chipmunk in the bag. In the past, a chipmunk would at least pretend to be scared and run away when I neared the bag. Not today. That chipmunk was like, “I’ll move when my cheeks are filled.” I waited a minute or two out of proper respect.

And just the other day, I was trying my hardest to feed my baby chickens, who are not really babies anymore and have moved in with the big chickens. I was trying to get them some extra food because the flock will not let them eat very well, so I was calling my babies, holding bowls, and also trying to fend off the hoard that is the rest of the flock. Right in the middle of all of this, less than a foot from me, a little chipmunk sat there on a rock–with full cheeks I might add–and watched the whole thing. “Is this entertaining to you?” I asked. He seemed to indicate that it was, indeed, entertaining.

It’s like they think they’re a part of all of this, and I guess they kind of are.

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