We just bought a Fiji and Gala Apple Tree for $10 each from a big box store. We are also announcing a bunch of new updates coming soon on several systems that have been or are being updated.
We wanted to share an update in case anyone could benefit from what we have learned in the past year or so. RATS ARE PESTS. By far they have been one of the worst “predators” on our homestead for many reasons.
It took a while to figure it out but they were wreaking havoc on our chickens, ducks, quail, and rabbits! They were consuming quite a bit of feed and possibly scaring our ducks as they have not been laying any eggs for months. They would average 40 eggs/month, about $40 in the last 2 months we have not been making.
They ate at least 50lbs of quail food that we had stored in the garage as well as eating it straight from their cage. We had to completely rebuild our quail cage costing us around $225.
They were eating all of the baby rabbits one by one; they would come back each night until they were all gone. They consumed 3-4 litters total. That’s around 25lbs of rabbit meat that’s not in our freezer, and at a cost of $6/lb, about $150. It’s been months since the rabbits have since gotten pregnant.
And who knows the cost of the amount of food they ate straight from the chicken coop, rabbit dome and quail feeder! I would guess at least $50 in food.
Each individual problem started at different times and took a lot of monitoring to see the connection to the same pest.
We got a cat to have poison-free pest control, and we got her fixed, that was about $50.
We removed the free feed from the chicken coop one month ago and now have the kids feed them every morning. We finally got a duck egg yesterday and another one today! Hopefully this success will continue.
We had to add 3 rolls of 1/2” wire mesh to the top of the rabbit dome (where the rats were crawling up the sides and in through the top which wasn’t meshed) to completely seal it off. This cost about $80, and we’ll have to get a new tarp for the roof, another $60. We have two pregnant does and fingers crossed we’ll no longer find mutilated baby bunnies.
We built a completely new quail cage with 1/2” wire mesh and a closing lid over the egg compartment.
Overall, the rats have cost us around $650. That is frustrating.
All this to say, if things don’t seem right with your animals, if they aren’t laying eggs or breeding like normal, and you’ve eliminated every other possibility, it may be pesky rats terrorizing your animals! Hope this helps someone down the road save a lot of time and money, as we wish we would have known a long time ago.
As we were out collecting some black soldier fly larva as a show and tell for a Gardening and Homesteading class I teach we found this large male Orb Spider weaving his web. Usually we find them after the sun is down and walking into it with your face in the dark... very unpleasant. Enjoy.