Rats 3, Us 0

Day 241 of 365

The rats put more holes in the coop inner walls, so, in an effort to deter the rats from the coop (because keeping the coop completely clean of food is just not enough), I thought I might try some peppermint oil again. Apparently, mice and rats do not like peppermint oil. Of course, I don’t know why I was bothering, as a few years ago, when we had rats for the first time, I put cotton balls full of peppermint oil in the rat holes, and a few days later, we found a pile of cotton balls on our front porch.

Yeah, they are smart little creatures.

I was getting so desperate, I thought I might try again and keep trying peppermint oil, amongst several other newer strategies, but the store was out of peppermint oil. I Googled what other smells might deter mice and rats and found that cloves were on the list. I have been hoarding cloves accidentally, so I had a plan.

On Tuesday, I cleaned out the coop for the second time this week and put a LOAD of cloves in all of the rate holes. Ron said the coop smelled delicious. I joked that the cloves would either help or the rats would be making a pie.

They didn’t make a pie, but they showed me. I woke up this morning to discover two new holes in the coop.

To add insult to injury, Ron’s pickup had to go to the shop. We found out that the problem is that rats chewed through some electrical part. The part costs $600. The part is also on a national shortage list. Today, Ron rearranged the garage to move the bicycles and make room for his pickup.

We are going to have to completely re-do the coop, but, in a way, I think that’s a good thing. I think there are some issues with our coop that needed to be revisited, and maybe the rats are just finally forcing Ron’s hand. He has been reluctant to make changes, but it’s time. We do not need insulation, and the rats are living in the insulation now.

Since we are so meticulous with the food now, this remodeling should solve most of our problems–at least I hope so. My goodness, it’s hard to stay ahead of these brilliant and destructive animals. They kind of remind me of someone.

I think I am pretty sad though because, when I gave my chicken talk at the Common Ground Fair last fall, everyone kept asking me about rats. I told them what we did to keep them away, and I knocked on wood and said that we hadn’t had rats in over a year and a half.

I knocked on wood damnit.

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