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Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TheRedBush7, Aug 20, 2016.
A group of Mice continue to infiltrate my coop and take food from it! How do I stop them?
Store excess food in a sealed metal container. As for the food in your coop... hang feeder roughly chest high, or even with the back of your chickens. I also have one feeder on a brick. It's a larger feeder that overhangs the brick so the mice can't just climb up it and access the feeder. I just have to be careful to keep that feeder full or else the chickens can knock it over easily.
Also consider restricting ration so all feed is consumed before dark. To aid with that try using a coarser particulate mix rather than mash or crumble.
Yes, thanks centrarchid... that reminds me to mention that I use pellets. Hardly any feed falls to the ground, but when a few pieces do, it is usually cleaned up pretty quickly.
It takes very little spillage to attract mice. I am talking about fines the mice will literally lick up.
Is there a lot of cover, brush, tall grasses, anything else up against the coop?
Clear the area around the coop and also places they can hide and nest inside the coop.
My coop is just part of a storage shed and there's lots of places for them to hide out and nest.
I find nests in the oddest places, the dog often helps me find them.
I put snap traps everywhere and check them daily, the plastic easy empty ones work great,
just dump the carcasses in the run for a high protein breakfast for the chooks.
I having having mice move from 30 feet away across and open area without cover. Also some with burrow systems in ground beneath fancy barn. Dogs and chickens catch many but not putting a dent in the mice issue. Snakes are a joke as they can eat less in a month what a dog eats in a day. Drowning buckets are what I will be switching over to shortly once chicks out of the picture.
Air tight food storage that rodents can't bite into is the main priority. Left out food and leftover crumbs can be made bird friendly but unpalatable to rodents with one small addition. Birds don't have the ability to taste spicy foods and they don't have the ability to feel heat or pain from the chemical capsaicin found in spicy foods. If you don't believe this, then do a quick web search to confirm this fact. Now keep reading. =)
Use spicy red chili pepper flake powder. I found a 1 pound bag of the stuff while wandering through an Asian grocery store, specifically a Korean one. I'm not quite sure if all Asian grocery stores have this in stock and I haven't noticed it sold in bulk anywhere else. If you can't find it, cayenne powder should work too. Add a generous amount of spice to your chicken feed and mix well. I've tried this with a number of different feeds. The spice adheres and mixes best with pellets and crumble. Cracked corn will probably need some extra sprinkling of powder on the ground. Rodents avoid the food and stay far clear from the mild smell that the spice gives off (it's an extremely mild smell to us but it's a lot stronger to sensitive rodent noses) but your chickens will readily gobble the food. Remember to wash your hands after handling the chicken feed.
Again, use cayenne powder if you can't find spicy red chili pepper flake powder. Cayenne powder is made out of only spicy cayenne peppers. Regular American chili powder usually isn't made with spicy peppers and usually has a small amount of garlic and onion powder added in: two ingredients which aren't the best for chickens. If you do find a bag of spicy chili powder make sure the ingredients list only lists spicy pepper/red pepper/hot chili peppers/etc.
I have had no issues with rodents ever since I tried this. Hope this information helps!
I didn't know about birds not reacting to capsaicin.
The chili powder you're referring to is Korean gochugaru, I assume. It's commonly sold in large bags (1 lb is normal) and fairly inexpensive. You can buy it through Amazon or other online grocery retailers, I'm sure. The brand I buy for eating looks like the third one down on this site: http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/hot-pepper-flakes - it says "Red Pepper Powder" "Piment" and "Coarse." Not terribly spicy in most cases but smoky and a little pungent (not unpleasant), which might help in warding off mice if they learn to associate the smell with the spiciness.