Barn Cats, Free Garden Security

Mice, rabbits, voles, squirrels, moles, and other creatures can be a plague upon the backyard garden, destroying plants and stealing harvests.  Sure, you can complain a lot, or devote lots of time and money trying out one quick fix after another.  Chances are that you will be outwitted, however.  Just ask Mr. McGregor.

      Some gardeners have discovered that barn cats don’t need to be hated or considered pariah.  Instead, they can be a free security force patrolling your garden at all hours.  This is especially important for the larger survival type gardens for which elaborate fencing is much more difficult compared to small patches.  Besides, who wants your garden to look like a German Stalag or Russian Gulag?

   Cats won’t typically kill adult rabbits, but they have ways of making them feel unwelcome.  My garden and environs used to be a haven for bunnies.  Cute for kids and visitors, but trouble for edibles.  When barn cats started hanging around, they would pounce on the rabbits, who were half-heartedly trying to stand their ground.   Before long, fewer rabbits were seen, then none at all.  The same for squirrels and other looters.

       At one point, squirrels in the barn decided to eat up my shade-producing burlap.  Mice would tear open any seed packets.  No more.

One man (John) had this to say:

Rabbits are good eating. Easy to raise, easy to hunt. Can be taken with a cheap bb gun, so ammo and noise are not a concern.  Pests in the garden though. I found that hanging drier sheets and spreading a thin line of laundry soap around the perimeter of my yard keeps out all but subterranean pests. Racoons, skunks, rabbits, even the deer stay away.
The cats take care of the rats and mice, and once you’ve shot a few squirrels the word seems to get out and they stay away.  But I sometimes think I am driving away a lot of useful meat.

[forwarded by a Black Hills gardener]


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