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Not what I expected


Autumn has arrived in the countryside meaning fields empty and ploughed so no food for the rat population, hence the influx onto our land which is bordered by fields. It’s expected every year, but still a pain.
New holes appear through to the chicken run and into the barn where we have to remember to pick up the peacocks food tray and put it out of reach. Might look empty, but there’s enough to feed the little blitters in tiny crumbs!
Popped off to the local feed merchant and bought £36’s worth of rat poison. This comes in stupid little 25g sachets now as the general public are not capable of looking after/dispensing the loose stuff which you used to be able to get – and they used to be at a vastly cheaper rate I must add.
These little plastic bags have to be cut open and dispensed into the rat boxes and pipe trap I have, just in case they drag a bag away (which is the idea apparently) and it splits open leaving a trail of poison seed for my birds to eat, or the wild ones.
So it’s back to finding the rat boxes which are very naughtily still scattered about and not nicely cleaned and stored! But one did cause a surprise.

I knew that the Wren had utilised one that was actually on a shelf but didn’t realise that she hadn’t managed to hatch the eggs – sad, I hope nothing happened to her to prevent it.

The hedgehogs approved of the jerry-built contraption that sheltered their food from the rain.

This has since been made into a proper shelter with the grey base, which is a tray from a redundant indoor pet cage, being turned unside down and placed on four legs with a clearance of 13cm, which is the recommended size of hedgehog box holes. Might stop a cat getting under there, but didn’t stop the rat which I saw racing across the lawn when I went outside – not much keeps them out!
Walking back from the linen line this morning with my still full basket of washing, silly idea I thought I would get it out before the rain started again, there was a little Vole popping out of it’s hole after some food treats put out for the peacocks. Lots of Vole holes now appearing in the back lawn, so they are probably utilising the hedgehog food as a source too!

The gate to the field has a couple of dips, where the wood-chip man drives his truck down onto the field, and these were slightly muddy from the rain. This morning I noticed some paw-prints and immediately thought ‘rat’ like you would. But luckily these aren’t, they are hedgehog, back and forth, so he’s still sleeping somewhere down the bottom in the wood shed, even though I disturbed him when clearing it out. I did make him a lovely new hut, surrounded by logs and full of his old bedding and some straw and hay, but so far he doesn’t seem to appreciate it.

Rats leave tracks with a line between the paw-prints where they drag their tails, mucky creatures, so it’s not that thank goodness.

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Like it not because of the rats but because you cater for so much wildlife. shame about the wren nest but yay for the hedgehog.

25 Oct, 2019


Interesting blog, Honeysucklegold.

26 Oct, 2019


Thanks Seaburn, I see where you are coming from about the like! The hedgehogs still seem to be about though I haven't seen them for a few days. The only picture I got on the night camera was a local cat, but it wasn't set up very well and having not readjusted it in daylight, didn't feel like doing in the dark and the rain last night. Perhaps today.

I try to make them interesting Kate, the rabbit is in the front garden today, probably eating something I would rather it didn't, but on a brighter note the Green Woodpecker is back foraging in the garden and on the field. The grey Squirrel has also been back, we only really see it when the hazelnuts are fit, unless it's a really bad winter when it comes to the peanut feeders - only the one, never seen any more than one.

27 Oct, 2019


I suppose rats are part of nature too but I am sorry you have to put up with them. I'm glad they don't seem to come into my garden, although I can hear them around every night.
It's nice you have a hedgehog and voles, and that you are 'looking after' the hedgehog. I haven't seen one for a while. We have a little road between the garden and fields so maybe they stay over there.

27 Oct, 2019


Sadly Hywel a road won't stop them, they do roam very far in a night, crossing roads and travelling through lots of gardens. Sadly one of the little hedgehogs fell foul of a car on the road last week.

29 Oct, 2019


Yes the road has never stopped them in the past. Maybe there are less around now. I'm glad you have them there.

29 Oct, 2019


Sorry to hear of your rat problem but you are lucky to have hedgehogs. I haven't seen one for years, I believe their numbers are declining & they need all the help they can get. I have a problem with moles sometimes, tho' at present they are not in my garden. Their activity goes on all winter & they move about a lot, like the hogs.

31 Oct, 2019


The rat problem Feverfew seems to have abated for the time being, perhaps the poison is working. Seems a shame to poison anything as rats are very intelligent and we used to have tame ones, but it is the only way you can keep on top of them, or we would be inundated!
I haven't seen the hogs for a few days, a few frosty mornings may have sent them off to think about hibernation. The food still keeps disappearing but as we have mice about it could be them spending the night hours dashing back and forth to stash it away.
We get the odd mole, which I don't mind as they are usually somewhere not important and I feel sorry for them burrowing through heavy clay! The only time I don't is when my foot slips into one of their runs under the woodchip - they must be grateful for that after clay!

1 Nov, 2019


I cannot imagine living with so much wildlife Honey, if I'm honest I think I 'm pleased that our visitors are what I consider ordinary visitors for an estate on the edge of town, I don't have to worry unduly about little critters pinching my bulbs or digging holes in the lawn, mind you now we have an extra terrier ( sisters Pepper )racing around it is suffering this autumn, our hedgehogs are still around, they leave the evidence on my garden path every morning, pleased to say Jenny Wren has moved back up to the area around the fishpond, friendly Robin is being brave again now, both back checking out the patio for special treats, lots more Bluetits and Coaltits this year, we've always had them but just seem to be more now, must be the abundance of berries we have, I sit here watching them wondering if they know something I don't....

1 Nov, 2019


I haven't seen the Coaltits Lincslass, but did have a Grey Wagtail skittering around the pond the other day and then he/she, very kindly, sat on the railing so I could see it properly. So pretty and cute with it's wagging tail, colourful too with the yellow on it. Back from shopping and driving down the path there was the Magpie and the grey squirrel dashing out of the barn. I can understand the Magpie eating the peacocks corn, but sort of didn't think the squirrel would, but of course it's just seed like any other. We usually get Fieldfares at this time of year who eat the berries on the Yew trees, but haven't seen them yet. Your 'ordinary' visitors are far from it and have obviously made themselves at home. Lots of people don't see the Coaltits at all, but all birds are lovely to watch. My daughter can look out of her window across a slope of fields and watch the Hares, so I am jealous of that, I would love to have them!
Hopefully your terriers don't spoil your lovely garden, it always looks so tidy, but I expect they would get forgiven anyway.

2 Nov, 2019


My 'like' is for the other wildlife in your garden too and not the rat invasion ;-) It is lovely to have welcome visitors from Nature, we have wrens nesting here too and I love watching the bees, butterflies and dragonflies, seeing the spiders' webs glistening, the pigeons who 'dance' on our fence and the robins who follow me round when I am gardening but I would be grateful if the kites wouldn't circle over the barbecue when we use it, the heron stopped fishing for the goldfish in my pond and the deer ceased nibbling the tender young shoots ;-). But then, this space was their ancestral home before we moved in :-)

3 Nov, 2019


We too used to have a visit from the Heron who was a complete pain and adamant that the fish were there for him. Luckily we haven't seen it for a long time, so perhaps something has happened to him, or he has moved on. Long may it stay that way!
We don't see many deer, the Muntjac are about and have been up on the field, but only seen once down near the bungalow. We don't get Kites, but have Buzzards who circle above the land - very impressive.
The rats haven't been seen for a few days, so hopefully that has abated a bit for now, it won't last of course, but any respite is good.

4 Nov, 2019

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