I get it. Squirrels are storing up for winter. And everyone loves an easy meal. But they are stealing more cracked corn and oats than the chicken and sheep are eating. And we are on a budget!
It started a couple months back. We keep the scratch and oats and chicken feed in plastic garbage cans under the pole barn between the chicken coop and sheep stalls. Every day when I came down to toss some scratch and oats around, the lids were cockeyed or on the ground. I was like, what keeps flipping the lids? Then I saw him - the largest squirrel in the world climbing out of the chicken feed.
This guy was huge. I mean, draw a mask around his eyes can he could be a raccoon. The cats are scared of him. And that wasn't all. He had a whole gang of smaller squirrels on lookout in the trees. They started chattering as I came down and the big one, which I named Frank, was able scurry (more like lumber due to his weight) away. The first time I saw him, I said out loud to the animals "Holly shit! That's a huge squirrel." They baaa-ed and clucked their agreement.
At least the mystery was solved. It's Frank who is stealing from us. Now, what to do about it. I'm not feeding squirrels the organic, expensive feed the animals get. The squirrels can get a job and buy their own food.
First, I replaced the garbage cans with ones that have handles that lock up and prevent the lids from being removed. Plus the plastic was thicker and heavier than the others. For a few days, all seemed good. Except Frank was obviously angry because there was poop and pee all over the lids. And then I came down one day to find a hole chewed right through the plastic (see picture). How the hell did they do that and not loose a tooth? I assumed that Frank forced the lesser squirrels to do the dirty work. A true Godfather. In some sort of show of victory Frank also peed and pooped in the feed. I had to toss it all out. Nice.
I went back to Wilco and got metal garbage cans. Try chewing through that you little bastard! The lids also fit tight. Apparently Franks has supper natural strength or can organize themselves to work together because a few days later the lids were off again. Seriously!? Those lids were tight! Hard for my daughter to remove.
By now, Jeremy was actively trying to shoot Frank with the BB gun. A BB won't kill the squirrel, unless you are an amazing shot and can get 'em right in the temple or eye. Honestly, Jeremy wasn't interested in killing Frank, just discouraging him with some stinging pain. I'm not usually a fan of torturing animals, but Frank has got to go. Guess what, Frank was barely phased by being shot. Apparently his fat layer is like titanium. I'm convinced he is genetically engineered.
I'd also taken to screaming obscenities at Frank every time I did chores. Anyone walking by down on the road would think a crazy lady lives here. The animals were getting worried too. Their normally calm, kind speaking mom was running at the poll barn yelling"Frank, you little bastard! I'm going to kill you!"
Next, we attached bungee cords across the lids. For a month now, Frank has been trying to chew through the bungees (see picture). He hasn't gotten through yet. Or I should say that his minions haven't gotten through yet. They probably cry at night with tooth aches. At least it's easy and cheap to replace a bungee if they finally get through.
I wish that were then end of the story. I win, Frank loses. But no. Now they are raiding the chicken feeder. I came home to two swinging and eating like it was a rid at the amusement park. I have no idea how to deal with this. The chickens are free range, but they need the supplemental feed this time of year. I can't keep the squirrels out without keeping the chickens out. I hate to say it, but we may need to put a contract on Frank and change from the BB to the 22.