Friday, August 5, 2011

An Apple a Day...

can be bad for your health - if you're a groundhog!  All year long, it's been one thing after another with my chickens.  There was the usual winter slow down on egg production (boosted once in a while when I put a 60W bulb in the coop for heat on the coldest days); then there were the first batch of broody hens (who always -- always -- hunker down in the primo nesting boxes); then it was too hot.  Now we're back to THREE broody hens in the -- you guessed it! -- primo nesting boxes.  I've been yanking them out every morning and every afternoon, so we are about down to one and a half broody hens.  The latest wrinkle?  A young groundhog has been waddling in and eating all the chicken feed on the floor of the coop.  This has caused quite a ruckus in the coop, as the chickens are not fond of groundhog-y types of critters.  So they have been staying out of the coop.  That means they are not laying eggs, as my chickens are very regimented and only lay in the nesting boxes.

I've tried bombing what I thought was its tunnel.  Guess not, as the little bugger was back chowing down 20 minutes after bombing.  I've tried blocking off it's access under the shed, but it just dug over, under or around whatever I put in front of it.  So I baited a box trap last night with a sliced apple and, this morning as I was harvesting some of my fingerling potatoes, I heard a clink.  It was an expensive breakfast for this fella.  He was excised from the farm this morning.

I sure hope this makes a difference in egg production.  And I hope this groundhog was an only child.


  1. A only children? whats normal for a groundhog- a baker's dozen,hope not.At least you got him.

  2. I doubt he's the only one---better keep that trap handy! Hope this helps with your egg production...

  3. Rut-Ro! On the bright side, at least they aren't chicken eaters! Hope your girls readjust soon!

  4. Ha! I had one move into the coop last year too. What am I talking about, I have them moved in every where. They are a determined bunch. This is a case where a big mean rooster comes in very handy. Run him off with his stump tail between his legs.

  5. What's with this ground hog explosion? We saw one here about 5-6 years ago and that was a real rarity. A week or so ago, CM was out in our fenced in front yard on poop patrol after her two dogs and came across a very dead, teenage wood chuck that one of the dogs (probably the Corgie) had killed. We've seen others on the property this summer also. We all seem to be in the midst of a period of fertility in the ground hog realm.

  6. Judy -- AAIYI! Let's hope there's not a baker's dozen of them out there!

    Sue - I know you're right. I already went through this with our local mink population. It's always something (or someone!)

    APG - Scooby Doo! Yes, thank goodness for small favors. I got two more eggs yesterday, which is still WAY down.

    Jane - My farm has a lot of wooded areas, so it's hard to locate their little burrows. My rooster, Kees, is a wimpy boy, which is good - as far as not having to watch your back - but bad.

    Mama Pea - Wow - they are real fighters - that Corgi must have snuck up on him! I guess I should be happy that he/she decided to choose the coop over the garden. Either way, they are a nuisance. We don't need more stinkin ground hogs...

  7. I've honestly never had a groundhog problem. Hawks, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels & opossums, yes, but woodchucks, nope.

    Good luck on trapping the little bugger, and I suppose it's better than a chicken-eating critter.

  8. Glad you got him/her. I hope there was only the one!

    It could have been a skunk ... they take the whole chicken! Or racoons ... they tear through a flock in no time flat! I've had the skunk saga, but no coons yet.

    Yup, the girls have a laying routine and if you disturb it - no eggs. My Ameraucana is molting right now - so no pretty green eggs.

  9. Carolyn Renee - Geez, had I known you were without a groundhog problem, I would have shipped the little bugger to you! ;o)

    Yvette - Of all the rodents I could have had, I guess the groundhog was the best. I forgot all about molting! Something else to look forward to!

  10. I've never even seen a groundhog "in person", but wow I've seen 4 now this season from other bloggers, are they taking over the world? LOL....

  11. I love my groundhogs almost as much as I love my chipmunks, though I probably wouldn't like them if they were near my garden. They seem to be content down near the barn, often in the rear goat pasture. He frequently talks to me when I go down to feed the crew, especially if I'm early.