Friday, September 18, 2009

The MouseMan Cometh

When we moved to this farm in 2002, the barn was crawling with mice. As we cleaned out piles of old hay and bedding, we found a cluster of snake egg shells in the old sawdust.. Hm. Interesting.

And a blessing.

The eggs, we learned the next year, belonged to a black rat snake. Mama rat snake has blessd us with a cluster of 13-17 eggs every year since. Except for the year 2003, when we had fewer horses and were using bagged shavings, she has always placed them safely in the sawdust pile.

Knowing the bedding supply is mama's preferred nursery, we try to watch for the eggs beginning in mid-summer. When they appear, they are moved to a man-made nursery which, basically, is a 70-quart manure bucket filled with the same sawdust in which they were laid. Tucked safely away in the bucket, there is less danger of having the eggs scooped up and dumped in a stall.

This week we were blessed not only with Monarch butterflies, but with a whole new generation of mousers as well. We get a lot of calls and emails asking if TREES needs barn cats. Sorry kitties, but the jobs are filled. These snakes made our earlier mouse problem a thing of the past in no time. Thanks, Mum!

Who says Spring is the time of Birth and Renewal?

1 comment:

AlliesFosterMom said...

This has been an interesting week for your farm. I have enjoyed it so much and learned a lot too. Great pics!