The Night is Dark and Full of Rats.

The 3rd night, as I stand my vigil, I can hear the rats and mice climbing through the vines on the wall just 5 feet away. My Rat Slaying spear is sharp but probably not sharp enough. The dog is running around like an insane robot, chewing on a rubber chicken; not a drop of rat killing blood in him.

Back the the beginning. I built a chicken coop with an attached chicken run. The run is completely enclosed in 1/4 inch wire "hard ware cloth". Its a Fort Knox of chicken protection. The plan was to make it so the chicken food could just stay in the run all the time but in the last several months, I've gone out at night and found the feeder swaying and heard a rat running away. I figured they were getting in through the door that allows the chicken to go from the run to the "less secure run". This door is opened in the morning and closed at night. I figured there was a single rat that had figured out where to squeeze through on the door to get in. This slow battle of me trying to get the door to close tighter and the rat still sneaking in lasted months. It escalated to full out war a week ago.

I decided to sneak out with a flash light and found a pirate ship's worth of rats and mice scurrying from the coop when i turned on my light. I couldn't figure out when they ran but there were multiple rats and way too many mice to count. The mice were pretty cute but still the enemy. I'm not buying this fancy organic chicken food to support the plague bearers. One of the rats stayed in the wall of the run, right across from the human door (the door for people to access the run). The rat seemed frozen in the light beam. I grabbed a redwood lathe that was pretty dull on one side. I figured the rat would run away before i got near it with the stick. I opened the door, the rat stayed still. I moved the stick toward the rat, the rat stayed still. I then jammed the stick into the rat, the rat doubled over it. I thought "holy crap, i actually got it!" and looked at the ground to where the rat had called. It was gone. It played me like a CJ Wilson fiddle (terrible). Now it was personaller.

The next day I altered the door with the rat proof plans I had designed in my head while I should have been sleeping. I lacked the sharp spikes and the boiling oil might hurt the chickens so i have to just change the door into a smaller, more secure door. This might have been that day it reached 108 degrees. Maybe not, it doesn't really matter to the story. That night i snuck out and found the regular party of rats and mice. My door did nothing! The rat access port must not have been the door. I got knife and sharpened my redwood lathe into a Rat Slaying spear. The knife wasn't that sharp and neither was the spear. I speared no rats and filling conceded defeat and accepted Lisa's suggestion of just putting the chicken feed into garage at night. So I just put the food away for a few nights.

Then last night the battle got even more personal! Personal to the max! I went out to fill the chicken feeder from the food bag thats kept in the storage part of the coop (below the main coop part) and found that rats and mice had gotten into the storage spot and chewed into a bag of crack corn (candy for the chickens) and pooped all over the place. I started pulling stuff out of the storage spot and then saw movement in the back. A rat! I got my rat spear and got the dog to stop running for a second and lay down. I flushed out a rat his way, he chased it but didn't do anything. The next rat I flushed out from the box they were using as a nest in the back. It started heading for the door, I started swiping with the spear. I whacked it a few times with the spear but it still got a way and my spear broke. I then went and grabbed my machete but there were no more rats. It was getting dark so i put everything away, put the corn in the rat-proof box with the bag of chicken food. I had found a rat sized snap trap in the garage (i had probably bought the trap a decade ago), so i put some peanut butter on it and set it out by the coop (but where the chickens or dog couldn't get to it). This morning I scored a victory and found a rat with a broken neck in the trap. Dumped him in the trash and will set the trap again tonight. I still need to figure out how they're getting into the run.

Happy Fathers Day!