I need your help. Something got into our “predator-proof” chicken run, and I need to know what it was.
Yesterday morning, when Kevin went out to let the chickens out of the coop, he found a hole in the floor in the run. He followed it to its natural conclusion, and found the tunnel’s end on the backside of the run wall. Something dug a two-foot tunnel under the 6×6 lumber that forms our run’s foundation, and came up through the wire fencing that lines the floor of the run.
He was en route to his office when he discovered it, and he called me when he got there.
“Something got into the run last night,” he said.
I pictured a grizzly bear, and carnage.
“It dug under the wall,” he went on. “You should go take a look.”
Whew. He wouldn’t be telling me to go out there if there were a man-eater on the loose. I put on my boots and headed out to the run.
Now you would have thought I’d read enough mysteries and watched enough cop shows to know that you can’t be blundering about in a crime scene, but that’s exactly what I did. I stomped around in the snow, looking for the tunnel entrance, covering all the animal tracks in the process.
Nevertheless, I have three clues:
1. The tunnel was narrow – my hand couldn’t fit through – and whatever it was fit through the 2×3 inch hole in the fencing.
2. There was a well-worn path from the tunnel to the woodpile, indicating many trips, presumably with chicken food.
3. The same animal came back the next day, but didn’t bother to dig, either because he was sore from the night before or because Kevin hung the feeder out of reach.
There was a dusting of snow yesterday, but the culprit didn’t have the decency to leave any sharp prints. I can see, though, that its feet are about the size of a quarter, and they look to have four slightly oblong toes
I’m thinking rat. I’m hoping rat. If it’s after the chicken food, it’s a nuisance, but if it’s after the actual chickens, it’s a real threat.