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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Post  Bec 8/9/2010, 3:21 pm

I've seen a muskrat in our yard a couple of time and was really hoping it would leave my garden alone. My garden is enclosed in a fence but I do use the fence for tellisis for my winter squashes (and some tomatoes). Well, last week I went out and checked the garden and it had found and eaten 2 of my butternut squashes that were growing on the outside of the fence. (Since I weave the plants through the fence holes some of the fruits do end up on the outside of the fence.) Well that really upset me. BUT - what really concerned me was that I had a huge butternut growing - the biggest I've ever grown - probably even seen, and it was on the outside of the fence. Didn't know what to do about it but I did find that I could raise it up some, hopefully out of reach of the muskrat. Today I went out the check the garden and about 1/3 of my "prize" butternut was gone! A lump developed in my throat as I choked back the tears. Today DH is going to stop at the hardware store on his way home and get some critter repellant for me to try to save the rest of my harvest. I'm just very upset about this - and really hoping the critter repellant works. I'm just venting now but if anyone has any tried and proven remedies - without spending a fortune, I'm all ears.
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Post  Ha-v-v 8/9/2010, 3:29 pm

oh Bec !!!! Im so sorry !! If the repellant doesnt work what about a live animal trap and take him away from that area? I know thats more work, but might be one way. I dont know if he has a whole family or not. I will google muskrat deterrents.
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Post  Bec 8/9/2010, 4:11 pm

Ha-v-v, I did think about that but it seemed like such a hassle. If the repellant doesn't work though I might do it anyway. Thanks.
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Post  Ha-v-v 8/9/2010, 4:20 pm

I know its a hassle, but not sure other than trapping. And they say to put fencing below ground level. I have looked at a critter ridder from this place.
http://www.havahart.com/ourbrands/critter-ridder
Let us know how it works out. I know this is frustrating, I did refrain from posting the Capt and Tenilles's song Muskrat Love Smile
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Post  Ha-v-v 8/9/2010, 7:01 pm

Ok Bec, my thoughts are with you on this muskrat guy, !!! You have been on my mind all day!! And that creature. Hoping the repellant works !!!!
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Post  Bec 8/9/2010, 7:20 pm

Oh Ha-v-v - you're so sweet. I put down some critter repellant this evening and will see what happens. I discovered ANOTHER butternut that is being eaten. This one is inside the fence. Don't know how it got to it unless it climbed the fence and ate from above it because not only is it hanging on the inside of the fence, it's eaten from the top. Thank you for not posting Muskrat Love. Could have cried Icon_rolleyes

I tell you what - between the squash bugs, the Mexican bean beetles and their eggs and their lavae that I'm having to pick and squash once or twice a day from over 200 bean plants, and now the muskrat - as much as I LOVE gardening - I even got certified to teach SFG, I'm not sure it's worth the pain of it all. I'm just very discouraged right now.
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Post  Ha-v-v 8/9/2010, 7:28 pm

I even got certified to teach SFG, I'm not sure it's worth the pain of it all. I'm just very discouraged right now.

Ahhh !! I know discouragement, I did 3 yrs of row gardening with no produce to speak of and lots and lots of weeds!! Ive had luck with the squash because I used BT .. its just worked, but one has to be diligent in it. ( I got overwhelmed and didnt visit the garden) I lost my squash all the way now I think, but Im ok with that.. its fall almost and I can replant.
Another link for muskrat control
http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/muskrat.html
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Post  chocolatepop 8/10/2010, 12:36 am

TRUST ME! I know the pain (I had a whole plethora of critters last year) The repellant can become a hassle also and IMO, doesnt work as well. I would use the deterrant, but get a live trap also.

Lat year we has a ground hog family (mama, daddy, baby), opossum, skunk, and a random turkey. We caught th skunk and baby ground hog last year, and mama ground hog this year. I have had NO issues with critter destruction.

can you get a motion light?
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Post  trustinhart 8/10/2010, 1:49 am

Hi Bec, I'm so sorry to hear about your critter problem. I'll bet your beloved butternut was delicious. Plese don't give up!! Pretty soon, you'll get the itch and then the new seed catalogs will come and well, you know. Keep us posted, and you always have friends here.

Kari
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Post  Bec 8/10/2010, 8:25 am

Thanks for all your encouragement. I'm sure I'll go ahead and garden next year - I do love it too much to stop, but I won't invest any more money into it and won't expand any more like I had planned on doing. I mean - after all - I have 1-1/2 acres that I can garden. What a shame to have the critters and bugs chase me away from my passion. I put out the repellant yesterday afternoon. This morning I went out and checked (was kind of afraid to - afraid of what I'd find) and no more have been disturbed but it's still working on the big squash. I put more repellant out - maybe I didn't put enough. I won't waste it around the half eaten squashes though. They're already destroyed and the repellant isn't cheap. My DH jokingly says "can you say 12-gauge?" I respond "YES I CAN!" Could have cried Icon_twisted The problems got the better of me yesterday and I was literally in tears last night but maybe today will be a better day. I really don't want to buy a cage if I don't have to because I've already spent about $300 last year and about $400 this year on my gardens. That's really too much in my opinion and a lot more expensive than buying the stuff at the Farmer's Market. AND a week ago I strained my back turning compost! Still recuperating from that.
Sorry for all the whining. Could have cried 615992 I know I need to change my attitude and now's the time. Could have cried Fresse Thanks again for all the encouragement and allowing me to vent.
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Post  Ha-v-v 8/10/2010, 8:50 am

I really don't want to buy a cage if I don't have to because I've
already spent about $300 last year and about $400 this year on my
gardens.


I have a friend we do rescues together sometimes, she has a live animal trap. I wonder if you could borrow one. I know how frustrating it can be with anything. We too cant spend anymore money on the garden. It all has to go to our house. The one I hope to live in by winter. I would try calling the local animal shelters Smile I bet they would let you borrow a live animal trap.
Could have cried Icon_sunny here is some sunshine today for you Smile
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Post  LaFee 8/10/2010, 8:54 am

call your county extension office-- there's a chance that muskrats are a common issue, and there might be a relocation program in place (read: they'll come out and get him for you!) or they might direct you to a place where you could borrow a trap.

There are also wildlife relocation companies that will come and remove all kinds of critters -- it might be the same price as a trap or more, but then you're not stuck with a trap you don't need, and they know exactly how to find and trap your squash thief.
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Post  Bec 8/10/2010, 8:58 am

Thanks Ha-v-v and LaFee - those are great ideas! I'll call the extension office today. And thanks for the sunshine! Could have cried Icon_biggrin
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Post  chocolatepop 8/10/2010, 9:35 am

also try craigslist and your local farm and feed. I got a two pack of live traps for $35, and the repellant was $15.
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Post  camprn 8/10/2010, 10:13 am

Your local Humane Society may have an idea where you can borrow or rent a trap.
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Post  Bec 8/10/2010, 10:21 am

Great ideas everyone! Thanks!
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Post  sceleste54 8/10/2010, 8:22 pm

I remember a winter that me and my Dad sat out in the cold with a 22 and a sling shot, spotting by moonlight, picking off rabbits that were chewing the bark off his fruit trees.. maybe extreme but it worked... I know they market big cat dung collected at zoos, wonder if sprinkling that around would scare off the musk rat?? Hang in there !!
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Post  ander217 8/11/2010, 7:50 am

A couple of cheap things you might try - play a radio in your garden at night if the neighbors don't complain, and keep a light shining on the area if possible. This works well for skunks, too.

Another thing to try if you don't have a personal problem with it is to have your husband urinate around the perimeter of your garden area. (Outside the garden, of course!) It helps with the rabbits here, so it might work on muskrats, too. It has to be "replenished" after each rain. You can buy expensive predator animal urine, such as bobcat, to use as pest deterrents but we've found that human urine works nearly as well.
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Post  Bec 8/11/2010, 8:31 am

Ander217, hah - I wouldn't have a problem with that but I can guarantee you he would. Could have cried Icon_eek

sceleste64, I'd seriously consider shooting it (if I could catch it in the act) but I'm sure the neighbors would have a problem with us shooting a gun in our yard. It would have to be one shot only though because with the second shot people would be able to figure out where the shot came from. Could have cried Icon_rolleyes

I don't think I could get a light out there and neighbors might have a problem with the radio. I'm not sure when it comes out anyway. I've seen it in the early evening, early morning, and the grandkids saw it one day when they arrived in the afternoon, and I'm pretty sure it got one of my squashes during the afternoon - unless I missed it when checking the garden in the morning - but I don't think I did.

I haven't gone out and checked the garden yet today - busy morning. Am holding my breath (not literally) about what I'll find today when I do have a chance to get out there. Speaking about busy - I'd better get off of here. Have my paying job to do (work at home) and have grandkids here today.
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Post  chocolatepop 8/11/2010, 9:40 am

do you have any electrical source near the garden?
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Post  Bec 8/11/2010, 9:43 am

Nope - no electrical source by garden.
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Post  boffer 8/11/2010, 9:55 am

Here's another alternative.

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Post  Bec 8/11/2010, 10:02 am

Interesting idea Boffer. I'll check into it. Thanks. I think I only have 4 butternuts left that haven't been destroyed. Hopefully I can save them - and keep the critters away from the pumpkins. They're undamaged so far.
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