Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

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regolith
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Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby regolith » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:11 am

...and the resulting biodiversity.

Got home late from town and went straight to the cow shed to feed the thirteen youngest calves that are still on milk. They were waiting at the gate of course... and rats had chewed open six of the teats between the two milk feeders since this morning.
:mad: :mad: :devil2: It's not the first time this week I've had to replace rat-damaged teats. Brought the feeders to the house after use, and 4 four-inch nails and the knife I'd sharpened to a dangerous gleam to remove the destroyed rubber teats, got the out-sized icecream container out of the freezer and heated the nails and knife with a candle to push them into the plastic. My new rat-treat-station is ready to go. The culprit (if there was only one) had been darting around my feet the whole time I was filling the feeders with milk.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby jedstivers » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:22 am

Does organic mean you can't kill any rats? What's the deal? I don't understand.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Farmerjon » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:22 am

On our old rat baits it used to say, "for every rat seen, there are 75 on the property". Has to do with the population, higher concentration causes some to be out and about all the time. Set up a bucket 3/4 full of water, roller with peanut butter suspended across the bucket and a ramp to top of bucket. They will try to get the peanut butter and fall in and drown. Had a student that did this, they thought they had a rat problem. 30 days of filling the buckets with rats each day! until they got to where a bucket would only get a couple rats. Gave me the willies!!!!
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Beefy » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:27 am

how about an organic barn cat?
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby regolith » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:28 pm

Wow. I can just imagine filling buckets with rats... I've filled buckets and buckets of snails in the garden of one of my previous farms.

Biodiversity we has it - rats, stray cats, big flocks of crows, slugs, grass grub, a magpie that likes to swoop down every time you pass his tree, just about every other bird that's native, big green moths.
The moths are quite something - the green ones yes, but there's brown ones not quite so huge that fill the air during night milking.

I checked the guidelines months ago and rat poisoning using the usual precautions is allowed. The house and garden were over-run with them, now it's just the rest of the farm to deal with.
I don't know what the deal is with this farm. Pasture looks healthy but doesn't grow, bird and insect life is remarkable, fungi sprout from the soil all over the place - it's been farmed organically for at least ten years, nearer twenty. I only started a few months ago.
Previous operator does not believe in poisoning stuff. Will endeavour to not let him notice bait station.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Farmerjon » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:48 pm

Organic or not, I moved on a farm that had rats, we baited that barn with three five gallon buckets worth of "Blue Death" (what our local CoOp had). Barn stunk for a month after. Rats I have found are generally a feed storage problem. Also poison doesn't work well in most chicken houses because of the daily antibiotics found in chicken feed (which shouldn't be a problem on your farm). Fix holes in hog feeders and get doors, get feed in metal containers, oh and get a Rat Terrier or Jack Russell, that'll solve a rat problem if they are worth their salt!!
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby LRTX1 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Image
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby regolith » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:29 am

They're not touching the bait. I've set aside a bucket of milk, just for them. I know they especially like it if it sours into curds - which happens quickly this time of year.

I see what you mean by the roller now... the photo is complete in the thread review form.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Farmerjon » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:35 am

LRTX1 that is a good photo showing what I was trying to say. We place the roller higher so they can't grab the axle the can spins on and get themselves out. But that will do the job and thanks for putting up a picture of what I was trying to explain!
Regolith, they aren't stupid, they won't just dive in a bucket and commit suicide. Also, if it is a feed container issue (feed spilled, feed left in bags, feed poured on ground) they won't be hungry and go to the bait. You don't say how you are storing and feeding your feed. I worked for a guy that hated rats and mice yet would get a truckload of oats and pour it in a small room in the barn and feed out with shovels. Haven for mice and rats. He wouldn't change his feed storage habits, they wouldn't change their feeding habits. Disgusting what the bottom of the oats "bin" looked like!
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby LRTX1 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:00 am

I just found that pic on the net somewhere. This topic has came up before somwhere and I had the picture. Not my bucket or picture.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby regolith » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:45 pm

I store feed at the house, where the rats are somewhat under control. Lost probably 50% of every bag I took to the calfshed to rats and birds before it even got to the calf trough, which makes very expensive feed.
It's pointless baiting rats while rearing calves, because they eat the milk dung. Right now the calves are all out and that's what the rats are doing - hanging around the dairy picking up any bits of milkfat or curd that end up on the floor.
I may bring up some calf feed to tempt them, but I did rather hope they'd just dive into a bucket of milk. The ones at the house I fed scraps and bread to for several weeks before putting poison out.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby jedstivers » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:22 pm

Put poison in a pan and put chocolate syrup on it. Helps them get enough to do them in. Just make sure nothen can get to it.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Farmerjon » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:52 pm

regolith wrote:I store feed at the house, where the rats are somewhat under control. Lost probably 50% of every bag I took to the calfshed to rats and birds before it even got to the calf trough, which makes very expensive feed.
It's pointless baiting rats while rearing calves, because they eat the milk dung. Right now the calves are all out and that's what the rats are doing - hanging around the dairy picking up any bits of milkfat or curd that end up on the floor.
I may bring up some calf feed to tempt them, but I did rather hope they'd just dive into a bucket of milk. The ones at the house I fed scraps and bread to for several weeks before putting poison out.


:shock: :shock: 50% loss?? You seriously need some metal containers with good fitting lids! :nod: :nod:
:???: :???: Pointless to bait rats???? NEVER!!! They are not a critter I would or will put up with! :oops: :oops:
If the rats are that plentiful and that bold, a good 22 and a couple of afternoons of hunting are in order. Rats in the house? That just gives me the willies. I am not a cat person, a good cat for me stays in the rafters of the barn while I am in the barn, but everyday of the week I would rather feed a cat than a rat. You have a major infestation by the sounds of it. A thorough cleaning of the barn to eliminate hiding, breeding, feeding and sleeping areas. Then a serious effort towards elimination. These are not critters that will add anything positive to your farm or operation. Organic or not, rats should not ever be tolerated. :2cents:
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby Suzie Q » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:52 am

I would say you are heading towards a plague. if you have not seen one, google it. You will not be able to see the floor, just streams of mice and rats.

The water trap set up above does not use poisons. It is said that mice and rats cannot walk past peanut butter.

Those types of traps don't put more than 10 cm of water in as you don't want to drown cats. You can catch hundreds in there overnight. You can use a 44 gallon drum. 205 litres.
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Re: Some days I get so fed up of living on an organic farm

Postby dun » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:04 am

It's kind of awkward but old chest type freezers make excellent feed storage bins.
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