Mystery of the missing poultry feed

When you keep livestock you expect to lose a small amount of feed to wildlife. We store our goose ration in an open barn, and the wildlife tax has occasionally been collected by some animal chewing the corner off the feed bag. More recently, we noticed that the holes were becoming larger and feed was spilling out. To reduce our losses, we bought a heavy plastic tub for grain storage. Problem solved.

Suddenly our “solved problem” started eating holes in the lid of the grain storage bin. Somehow this mystery animal was able to shred big chunks of plastic like it was no big deal. We started wondering if it was a raccoon.

Chewed lid

Lee began trying to outwit the food bandit. He tried setting the food bin on a crate. The animal started flossing it’s teeth with the plastic and nonchalantly tossing the chunks about. Lee then added a scrap of plywood and metal roofing on top of the food bin. The problem was solved for sure!

Outwitting the goose ration thief

We had been patting ourselves on our backs for outsmarting the grain robber until I went out to feed the geese today. As soon as I filled their feed pan and took a few steps away, the muscle bound lid-munching twerp made his appearance. The geese were unfazed.

Geese letting the squirrel eat it's fill

I guess we aren’t going to avoid this livestock tax. The “problem” now thinks we are feeding him directly.

Chow time

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10 Responses to Mystery of the missing poultry feed

  1. Rae says:

    Just a tip, if you want to keep the thief out of the bowl and you’re feeding grain (not pellets). We keep the wild birds, rabbits, and squirrels out of our goose feeder by 1. Only giving them as much as they’d eat in a day, and 2. Putting water in the bowl. The critters can’t get the feed because of the water, but the geese will happily sift out the food (at least ours do).

    • Rae says:

      Clarification… I say “not pellets”, as they’d just turn to mush, unless you’re feeding some sort of waterfowl pellet.

      • robin says:

        We are feeding the pellets so I guess mush it would be. What sort of grain are you feeding? That sounds like a brilliant idea putting water in the bowl along with it.

  2. Linda Hillin says:

    I knew exactly where you were going when I read this post. I’ve been there, done that, and bought the tee-shirt on that one. Plastic is snack food to squirrels. They will also chew the holes out bigger on bird houses and nest in them. I provided squirrel boxes in my trees because I adore squirrels. They used them and it was great fun watching the babies leave the nest for the first time. Ungrateful critters also used the birdfeeders for nesting.

    • robin says:

      We had no idea they could chew through plastic. We have a lot of squirrels around here. There are hazel nut orchards all around us so the population is quite large. We really like them too and it’s pretty neat to look out a window and almost always see a squirrel up to something. ­čÖé

  3. Lynn says:

    Ha!!! In the last house we lived in we had a major squirrel issue! They started tearing down the soffit on the side of the house and moved into the crawl space on top of the living room (below the roof, above the living room ceiling). We would chase them out, repair the hole they made, just to have them back in a week. We ended up trapping the squirrels in a live trap and transporting them about 5 miles away and releasing them. And when it was all said and done, we trapped and transported about 30 squirrels, and trapped a released quite a few raccoons, cats, opossums, even birds. It was quite a job – we trapped all summer long that year. At the end of the summer we still had some squirrels left. We were shocked how many were out there!

    Good luck with your squirrel issue!

    • Annette says:

      What did you do with the cats? We have a huge domestic cat problem. Paying for the shelter to take each one trapped is not affordable; neither is paying a neutering fee at the clinic.

      • lee says:

        There’s a low-cost clinic in our area for feral cats and dogs that only runs on weekends. It was $40 per cat to get them fixed and all their shots, so we just caught them one at a time. Our neighbor actually ended up taking in several of them, but we had planned to just catch and release them. (Obviously, we would have had to continue feeding them too as a local anti-rodent force.)

  4. we had the same problem..but it was hidden as the squirrel was living in the coop with the chickens..We keep our feed in metal garbage cans we found for free and it solved the problem as far as storage was concerned ( it was a couple of years ago and holes kept appearing in our plastic storage bins)..A* and a pellet gun solved the more recent issue.

    • lee says:

      Aww, I think our problem is too cute to solve with a pellet gun, although it does irk me that he’s basically out there with the geese waiting for a meal each day.

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