This is one very lucky Welsumer pullet!
As soon as I entered the hen house, this morning, I could distinguish, amongst the babble of the flock demanding their feed, one voice that was of distress. Quiet, but persistent.
I found this pullet with a rat trap snapped shut across her neck.
Fortunately, due to the trap having seen a lot of action over several years, the rectangle of hard wire that ‘does the deed’ itslf has become twisted, and only fully strikes the wooden base at one corner. The pullet’s neck was caught under the other.
I freed her with ease. She could stand, unsteadily. I took her home with me and let her rest in a box of straw.
Now, late afternoon, she’s fully recovered, and ready to go back with the rest.
Now let me be clear about this, the croft is right next to a shoreline with plenty of interest to rats. It is unrealistic to expect we can eliminate them. They can get into the henhouse by the same means used by the hens themselves – the open pop-hole. They not only eat the feed put out for the hens, but they also spoil the feed that they don’t eat – and then the hens won’t eat it. We have to set traps.
Traps are set under an up-turned big heavy fish box, with a stone on top, in the corner of the henhouse. Rats can get in through the hand-holes. Chickens can’t. Or at least that’s what I thought. They can see through the hand-holes, though. And they can smell the sheep nuts with which the traps are dressed. And it seems that a young pullet can reach quite a way in through that hand-hole, too, to try and get one of those tasty little morsels …
The extraordinary thing is that, the trap having sprung, she managed to drag her head – and the trap with it, out through the hand-hole. I found her on the far side of the henhouse.
It’s my fault. I should have anticipated this. Now the traps are set and the bait laid at the centre only of the fish box, out of reach by even the boldest pullet.
Lesson learned. Thankfully at no great cost. That is one very lucky pullet!