Dirt piles in chicken coop
I live in Oregon and have a question about finding 8-inch-high and 12-inch-wide piles of dirt inside my chicken house. They have showed up within the last 3 days and are dry loose dirt. My coop is wood floored and 2 feet off the ground on stones, the hens are locked in each night at dark. Windows are secure. I have lost no birds and no eggs seemed to be eaten. One pile was inside a nest box and one outside the nest area. This is a considerable amount of dirt for any animal to move during that time and I see no other evidence of nesting.
You’ve kind of got me stumped. Obviously some mammal is getting into your coop. Somewhere. Some critters who pile up dirt are pocket gophers, Norway rats and ground squirrels. But any of them would have to get into the coop. Is there a hole under the dirt piles? Pack rats will carry in sticks, moss, shredded cloth…but not usually dirt. I’d examine the entire coop for small holes or cracks then block them up with hardware cloth or tin to exclude your new tenants. — Jackie
We have finally narrowed down the area of Minnesota we plan to search for a place to homestead once our home sells. We really love the Itasca county area. However, I keep running across something called Blastomycosis that is said to be a very common occurrence in dogs, and people to a lesser degree, in both Itasca and St. Louis counties. As the owners of 3 dogs, with big plans to dig in the dirt, we are more than a little concerned. From what I have read it is a soil-borne fungus, and very deadly and painful to canines and humans if left untreated.
I am well aware of Blastomycosis in our area. Our friends are both veterinarians in the Cook area and have treated local dogs for this fungal disease. It seems to be most prone to the Lake Vermilion area and other “wet” spots. Of course, Lake Vermilion is a huge lake surrounded on most sides by high-end lake homes. (i.e. many people and many water loving dogs). We are concerned about it but do not worry about it. No matter where you live there are some sort of dangerous diseases possible. In New Mexico, it was the plague, carried by local prairie dogs. In Montana, Hantavirus, carried by deer mice and pack rats.
We dig in the garden (obviously) and our dogs do dig out ground squirrels. But they don’t spend a lot of time in the creek or swamp, digging in the ground. Neither do we. So we keep aware but don’t worry. If this is a huge concern of yours, you might consider nearby Koochiching County, just to the north. Less people and less occurrence of reported Blastomycosis. — Jackie