Beasts Big and Small

There is the famous gardening adage of ‘4 in a row’ but it seems there should be another one something like ‘Every single success brings 4 new challenges’.

Because of course, now that we’ve spent years building up a gorgeous loamy soil from our heaps of sand and clay, the moles, voles and gophers have moved in with a vengeance. It’s gotten so bad I’ve had to enlist Handy Hubby with his big guns.

And now that we have the fanciest coop in the county, we’re losing more eggs and chicks than ever—to the only beasts still able to penetrate the walled and fenced fortress—snakes. Another job for . . . Guess who?

Yes, that’s a water moccasin, poisonous. Hubby’s also found a couple of HUGE rat snakes stuffed full of eggs and chicks.

Of course the snakes don’t go after the rodents, why go to the extra effort of hunting when there’s free food lying around everywhere?

Of course the cat doesn’t go after the snakes or the rodents, or maybe she does, but she can’t keep up with the steady traffic.

So we’ve lost all our cabbages, most of our broccoli, a couple dozen onions (don’t believe the hype, onions are not a rodent deterrent by any stretch of the imagination).

But, at least the forest beasts are well-fed.

Tori: “I don’t like onions anyway, where’s the chicken?!”

Author: KenshoHomestead

Creatively working toward self-sufficiency on the land.

17 thoughts on “Beasts Big and Small”

  1. Nice onions, and I agree that should be an adage. Right it down for perpetuity; KenshoHomestead said it first: ‘Every single success brings 4 new challenges’

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  2. Yes, that’s a good trick! We have had success with that and have some down now again. You have to put them in with a clutch of eggs, so the snake is confused, golf balls alone won’t fool them. If the balls are gone you can be sure it was the snake and he’s moved on and died somewhere else.

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  3. Talking about snakes made me remember a story I heard or read. One person said they filled their chickens nests with golf balls which killed the snakes. I thought the snakes were drawn to body heat so I don’t know how they would swallow a golf ball. Maybe the golf balls became warm from the chickens sitting on them. Has anyone heard of this? How would you know if it worked unless you started noticing an absence of problems around the coop?

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  4. That cotton mouth would have had me running to the house for a change of clothes…i would have soiled myself!
    that is a nasty looking beast. I hope you sent him to snake heaven! I have been fortunate to not run into one of those….yet!

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  5. Yes, but you’ve got to have 2 holes in a row to figure that out. Then they have to be close enough together that you can dig out the tunnel between them, and then because the soil is so soft and lovely it just caves in as you are trying to dig it out, which defeats the purpose because then the little buggers won’t come back.

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  6. Thanks for the comments and tips Highlander! We have had guineas and turkeys in the past and they were so loud they were driving us nuts. But, now that the new coop is so far from the house, maybe we should try them again. The turkeys ended up not being good mothers, so we got Muscovy ducks instead, which I really like.

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  7. Guinea Fowl…They are the best for snakes….they kill any and all kinds. possums are good for snakes but they are hardly pets and don’t stay where you need them. The Guinea birds though are noisy and go where they will. I lost a dozen of them in the road. they stand in the road and get hit. However, I had zero snake problem. and found many dead carcasses. That and turkeys….let them free range. turkeys surround a snake and peck it to death.

    the two of them are a good mix. you have to keep a bunch of Guinea as they commit Guinea-cide they sit in a tree at night and scream….’come eat me…come eat me…” and the owls do accommodate. if you can keep a few in the coop with the chickens the snakes won’t stand much of a chance.

    the onions are poisonous to dogs….it drops them like quick…makes me shudder looking at the onions and your lovely dog! I made the mistake once…only once of giving my dog some hamburger bits with bits of chopped onion in it…she almost died….i love onion but i don’t cook with it anymore…my dogs eat what we eat. if they can’t have it…neither can i.

    Guinea’s are fantastic guard dogs…they let you know when anything is amiss. people, stray dogs, snakes….anything…they sound off!

    Guineas clean up ticks and all bugs…you won’t have many of those left…they eat their weigh in ticks.

    The only thing that bothered me about them was a the sound…they have an odd noise…mostly the females….ca-clack! ca-clack! all day! it is how they call to each other….lots of benefits outweigh their bad points. i highly recommend them.

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  8. AS to figuring the direction they’re going I think they would always be coming in the direction of the hole you just opened because they’re trying to repair & close the hole back up. What do you think?

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  9. These traps are designed specifically for gophers, they are made by Victor and come in pairs because you use 2 of them in one run, so the tricky part is to find the direction of the run when you dig out the holes. Good luck!

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  10. Quite by accident we discovered that some snakes can get trapped in deer netting. I left piece of loosely rolled up deer netting to cover the fruit trees on the ground & discovered a snake that tried to get through it seemed helplessly trapped in it . I don’t know how that could work in your case or if would work with a really huge snake but if not you could always use the netting to protect your fruit trees . I like other peoples suggestions as we also see poisonous snakes on our property & some seem worth a try for me. I had one bad one deciding to live on my deck & I’d certainly like to discourage that again. Each method has it’s good & bad points such as rain washing it away or costs or nuisance as in the deer netting if used where you need continuous access. Ain’t nature grand?

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  11. Rodent trap? Is that like a a rat trap? How do you get it in the hole without springing it? Please explain. We also have a vole problem & could use the help.

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  12. Sometimes in the army, we came across some pretty nasty snakes, both in the woods and in the desert. Occasionally we sprinkled cinnamon around our sleep sites. Snakes hate cinnamon. We also circled our tent with thick hemp rope. It tears up the snakes soft belly and they will not cross it. Just some suggestions that worked for us.

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  13. We rescued a couple of blue heelers, part dingo, about this time last year, and we haven’t had a single mouse this year. Nor weasels, come to think. We have no big snakes, but every kind of weasel. Which you usually have to shoot.

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