The bit of nature that decided to listen this snowy winter was a family of rats. We've had a very wet summer, so they were no doubt flooded out of their original home. They must have thought they were in heaven when they discovered free food was available in the chicken run, even though the supply disappeared every evening.
The chickens didn't bother them much. During the very cold weather, when the snow was 'deep and crisp and even', Fizz and the girls ate and then poddled off back into the coop. Much warmer in there and, like me, they hate the snow.
A couple of winters back I went to check on them and found Pom-Pom chest deep in a snowdrift. It was a good job I found her, as she couldn't work out how to escape. So whenever it snows now, we keep the cage door closed; we know they are safe that way. Not that it matters, they prefer their sleeping quarters in this freezing cold weather.
Obviously, we could not allow the rats to stay. So we got a humane trap and began to catch them, two by two initially, then one at a time. The prisoners were then taken half a mile away and deposited in a field on the far side of the river. Hopefully, they will settle down nicely over there.
Yesterday the snow had gone and the chickens had once again been allowed to roam freely round their run. At dusk No. 1 Son baited the trap with a bit of cat food and some chicken food, a combination the rats seem to enjoy enormously. He even made a trail of layers pellets which led into the trap, just in case a bit of encouragement was needed.
Most of the flock had retired for the night, but Irene was still up and about. Not much gets past that girl's eagle eye where food is concerned, and needless to say it took no time at all for her to spot the trail of pellets. It took even less time for her to eat them. She pecked her way along, reached the trap and looked distinctly disappointed to discover that she couldn't reach the rest of them.
She gave the matter a bit of thought, couldn't come up with any bright ideas, so she tootled off to join the others in the coop.
*Antoinette van Kleef