This morning I walked down to the allotment, planning on a quick visit as I needed to pop back home to be in for a delivery. I rushed down to the main coop, filled up their water and food bowls and threw out their treats. Scanning the coop, I realised I had forgotten to check for eggs. I got the shock of my life when I opened the nest box. Inside, in the middle of the nest box, was a massive brown rat. I stifled a shriek and resisted the urge to slam down the lid. Taking a deep breath, I looked again to see if it had moved. It hadn’t. I waited several minutes and it didn’t move.
By now I was pretty sure it had shuffled off this mortal coil. Putting the lid down, I dashed across to find Cliff. Cliff is our resident rat catcher on site and is often seen pottering around the site busy checking for evidence of rats. He came armed with gloves and his bucket to remove it. When he pulled it out, it was even bigger than I had initially thought. Together, we dashed around the coop and found several holes. It’s a constant battle chicken owners face. Cliff put out some poison into the holes out of reach of inquisitive beaks. We’ll keep a close eye on the coop over the next few days!
To cheer myself up, I went across to see Roxy, our rescue bantam. She came to the front of the coop. Apparently the other two hens have been ganging up on her. It’s difficult because they need to stay in quarantine until the end of next week but we may have to separate them if they continue to bully her. But that would mean isolating her in yet another coop. Musical chickens is a regular game on site!
After a quick cuddle with Roxy, I ran home with moments to spare for my delivery. I had bought a small bell with rope pull which was perfect for the shed. Back on site, I opened up the shed and put up the bell. I was rather pleased with how it looked. The tea bell will be thoroughly tested over the coming months!
Before I left, I checked the nest boxes again to discover another two eggs! The second one was strange – it had a darker ring part way up. I don’t know why the pigmentation would change but I assume it’s something to do with changes in the environment. Assuming the weather improves tomorrow, we will pop down and finish off digging over the plot.