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Groundhogs, gophers and field mice  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Last fall I dug a quick garden bed that's about 30 ft long.  I used the sod I ripped to build a large mound at the end of the bed.  I thought this would be a cool area to plant wildflowers and comfrey.   The comfrey is coming up but no wildflowers yet.  So the grass in the sod has come up, and I was using sheep shears to hand trim the grass around the comfrey.  This area is not a bed where I will be planting annuals.  It's a baby tree nursery and a spot to start perennial flowers and a clover bed.

The bed has two broad areas that I don't mow which are full of dandelions, wildflowers, and grass that goes to seed.  

I almost had a stroke when a small groundhog shot out from under the edge of the mound.   This is surprising as my dogs are the type that complete search and destroy missions.

I'm wondering if I should trap him and move him or if I should just let him go and be a part of the permies system.

I know he's going to eat some stuff, but that might be a small price to pay for soil aeration and manure.

After reading about Gophers and groundhogs, I realize I have created a virtual Shangrila for nibblers.    What are your thoughts?  

 
pollinator
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Hi Scott,

Im not a rodent expert, but im guessing if you let that critter stay there, by the end of summer, all your work will have been for the birds. Well technically for the rodents.

It starts out as one, but that will quickly change. What burrowing rodents don't eat, they will gather for bedding, or just chew on because they have to chew to maintain their teeth. So unless you want to create a rodent sanctuary, you're going to need to figure out a way to remove them.

Sometimes certian areas have native non-venomous snakes that perfer rodents. Maybe encouraging one of those rodent eating snakes to hang around will help with the smaller rodents, but the big ones you may have to move yourself before they start a family there.
 
gardener
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I have a groundhog (& her babies last year) that lives about 10 yards from the main kitchen garden. Never had an issue with it except for perhaps one time. It might have been responsible for digging up freshly planted sweet potatoes last year. Has shown no signs of that this year even though there is 50 times more sweet potatoes planted now. I would not hesitate to capture & relocate her if it was a problem but she simply isn't. I consider her my shy furry friend.
 
Scott Foster
pollinator
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R. Steele wrote:Hi Scott,

Im not a rodent expert, but im guessing if you let that critter stay there, by the end of summer, all your work will have been for the birds. Well technically for the rodents.

It starts out as one, but that will quickly change. What burrowing rodents don't eat, they will gather for bedding, or just chew on because they have to chew to maintain their teeth. So unless you want to create a rodent sanctuary, you're going to need to figure out a way to remove them.

Sometimes certian areas have native non-venomous snakes that perfer rodents. Maybe encouraging one of those rodent eating snakes to hang around will help with the smaller rodents, but the big ones you may have to move yourself before they start a family there.



....
Yes I'm a little worried about this very thing.
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Barkley wrote:I have a groundhog (& her babies last year) that lives about 10 yards from the main kitchen garden. Never had an issue with it except for perhaps one time. It might have been responsible for digging up freshly planted sweet potatoes last year. Has shown no signs of that this year even though there is 50 times more sweet potatoes planted now. I would not hesitate to capture & relocate her if it was a problem but she simply isn't. I consider her my shy furry friend.



I will probably wait and see how this one acts, I'd like everything to be welcome in the garden but I would like some food for myself.
 
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This reminds me of my younger days in Ohio when I adopted two young groundhogs who appeared at the side of the road after their mother failed to return home one night. We named them Woody and Weedilia and they grew well on a diet of hard boiled eggs. One night proved to be too cold for them and I had to tuck them inside my shirt to warm them back to life.

    When the warm days arrived we let them loose in a hedge row behind the house where they renovated a rabbit burrow and would appear when called. Sadly we sold that house to a veterinarian but not before introducing him to them, I'm sure he thought we were out of our minds.
 
Scott Foster
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Burl Smith wrote:This reminds me of my younger days in Ohio when I adopted two young groundhogs who appeared at the side of the road after their mother failed to return home one night. We named them Woody and Weedilia and they grew well on a diet of hard boiled eggs. One night proved to be too cold for them and I had to tuck them inside my shirt to warm them back to life.

    When the warm days arrived we let them loose in a hedge row behind the house where they renovated a rabbit burrow and would appear when called. Sadly we sold that house to a veterinarian but not before introducing him to them, I'm sure he thought we were out of our minds.


...

Cool story Burl.  Good thing it wasn't baby skunks
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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