ADVISORY: If you are one of those people who think that no creature should ever be killed, including flies, mosquitos, fleas, gophers, and other vile critters mentioned in stories of plagues and pestilence, please stop reading this now. And remember, "Judge not, lest ye be judged". That is all.
We have ground squirrels in our chicken coop. This is bad, horribly bad. It's an amazing set-up if you're a ground squirrel: being inside the coop keeps you and your family (of millions, it would seem) safe from the dog and the cats, safe from the poison pellets I would otherwise cram down your hole but don't since I don't want to hurt my hens, and gives you unlimited access to fantastic table scraps, lay pellets, and two delicious fresh eggs every day. That's right, the little buggars have been stealing our eggs. I put two plastic Easter eggs in the nesting boxes and they both disappeared, one at a time. One later reappeared with a hole chewed in one end. What a disappointment that must have been!
Tuesday was the last straw. I was out in the yard early planting the garden before it got too hot. I have taken to checking for eggs about every 20-30 minutes from 9 a.m. on when I am at home, trying to gather them before 'the devil critter' can steal them. On this day, I finished planting and gave a final check (no eggs yet, but a hen was just getting into her box), then put away the tools. In the 15 minutes it took me to put away the tools, those blasted squirrels took 2 eggs, ate the insides out, and left the broken shells by their hole for me to find. I thought I could hear them snickering at me. Maddening! I went inside the house with tears in my eyes because of my frustration.
About 30 minutes later, Jamey came through the back door saying the following words that brought joy and hope to my soul: "Hey, want to light a Roman candle and shove it into that hole and see if they come out so we can shoot 'em?" That's why I love him. Alas, the candle did nothing. So, after a visit to Grace's place of employment, the Santa Margarita Feed Store, we invested in The Squirrelinator, a trap with two doors that comes in a box complete with a photo of a squirrel in the crosshairs and a redneck guy who has apparently is the world record holder in stuffing a trap with squirrels. We set it up in the coop, just under the nesting boxes. I have personally heard from families who have caught up to four at once. We were just happy this morning when we heard Max-the-dog's "critter bark" and found our first squirrel in the trap. First, I hope, of many.