Living on a homestead often means finding ways to live with nature in ways we never expected. Often there is an attitude that predators need to be completely removed from a farming area for the protection of poultry and livestock, rather than designing safe housing for the animals.
What this attitude doesn't consider is that predators aren't in your neighborhood waiting for your to buy chickens. Before you buy chickens, they are feeding on other animals in the area, including chipmunks, mice, rats and squirrels. Without those predators, the smaller creatures will multiply rapidly until they overrun your home. In addition, they will overrun your neighbors.
In our case, the anti-predator attitude had led to our barn becoming a hotel for chipmunks and rats. As some may know, rats are extraordinarily clever. We trap them for awhile, and then the traps stop working. We use buckets for awhile... and then they stop working. So what to do?
Bring in new predators!
Obviously our predators are still in training, but they are both doing great. Both are much bigger than when they first came to us, putting on weight and muscle and practicing their skills. They are on a high-protein diet and once they have hit their adult weight they will be transferred to a raw food diet to encourage them to clean up their own messes when they hunt.
Fingers crossed, the next step will be to begin getting them outdoors. Until now they were literally so small we were worried the guineas might beat them up!. Sawdust has been out a few times early on and is eager to see the Big, Wide World but Higgins is less certain. After that, we will start doing some reading up on how cats teach their kittens to hunt.
I hope this doesn't involve me pre-chewing anything...