Mice...seem to breed faster t han rabbits. Help!

dadingwall

In the Brooder
13 Years
Jan 14, 2007
13
0
22
How to get rid of mice who have created Carlsbad Caverns under the egglu and run and extended run. I dismantled the nearby composter. Found a nest of baby mice. Cute, but. So I gave them the opportunity to learn to swim in the creek.
Traps worked in the composter for a night or 2 but the mice smartened up fast. Suggestions that won't kill the girls, please.
 

ChickaD

Songster
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
618
4
141
central Vermont
Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but have you considered the benefits of a cat? When we first got chicks, we also got a couple kitties to hold down the rodent population we knew was coming, with all that nice free food and infinite nesting possibilities. Our cats don't generally go into the coop (unless I'm right there), but they like to patrol outside the coop and catch those productive little varmints, coming or going.


To help train those kitties, I pointed them towards a nest of baby mice in the garden.......it was a BIG hit! (Sorry mice, but I know there will be more of you)
 
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Daycare Mom

Chickens, Cuddly and Delicious
11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
1,122
9
171
Conklin, Michigan
Maybe try the sticky traps, if the mice are smart to the snap traps (of course where the chickens can get stuck to them). The cat idea is the best you will find. We have two kittens that love to hunt.
 

dadingwall

In the Brooder
13 Years
Jan 14, 2007
13
0
22
I have a cat but she has not been allowed into the chicken area because she is such a bird killer. I guess the girls are big enough to take care of themselves. Also the mice seem to come out at night when the girls are in the egglu. I even had to plug the drain hole in the bottom of the egglu nest because it had become a mouse entrance. They are so clever I wish they were useful.
 

cjeanean

Can't Decide
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
2,643
12
201
Missouri
I would LOVE to get an outdoor cat, but its gotta be a cat that wouldn't try to kill my chickens. I can't afford to enclose the top of the run because my mouse control has become chicken control!

Any suggestions for how to prevent a cat from becoming a chicken killer? If we got one she would be strictly outdoor ONLY (our dogs HATE cats) and she would probably be adopted as a kitten from our shelter. We'll have to be able to afford it, so it'll be a while, but just in case....
 

panner123

Songster
13 Years
Jan 15, 2007
1,884
15
194
Garden Valley, ca
Feed the mice to the chickens, they love um. I am surprised they haven't caught any. As for paying for a kitten, you don't have to do that. Someone always has free kittens. Let the kitten be around the chickens growing up and it won't hurt the chickens. But until it is grown you will need to protect the kitten from the chickens. A chicken will kill a kitten given the chance.
 

ChickaD

Songster
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
618
4
141
central Vermont
cjeanean, we had the same concerns about cat and chickens when we first got started. I took seriously the warnings I'd read about regarding cats sometimes killing chickens and made sure the two never bumped into each other. We got our first two kitties from a farm family (yeah - free!) who raised chickens, a good start. I still kept them separate, but I started noticing interesting things, like...when Loco, the nuttier & larger of the two cats, came into the coop with me, he'd go up to the inner wall made of fencing and playfully poke his paw at one of our full-grown chickens. They'd respond by jumping towards him and giving a vicious jab with the beak! End of game! (We'd pretend the chicken said, "Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...Make my day!") Those ladies seemed quite capable of taking care of themselves, even eager for Loco to make an attempt. He learned fast.
Finally the day came when I was working outside and suddenly noticed Loco was in the chicken run with the chickens, who were totally ignoring him and scratching around. He was lolling on his side with a jaded look, looking like a bored Roman Emperor. I flew into the run and they all acted like, "What's the big fuss?" After that, I let them spend more time together, especially as we started to free range our "girls". There was never a problem. The cats at that time were completely outdoor cats, except for wintertime. Loco was a great hunter!
Now we have 4 cats, who intermingle with the girls when they're out. At first the two new kitties thought it was a cool game to practice stalking and ambush the hens...that game didn't last long, either! Now I occasionally see a hen chase one of the grown kitties all across the yard! Payback! All of our outdoor cats are hunters, which really keeps our rodent population in check, including things that were decimating our gardens thru winter. For our situation, we let our cats in nights due to predators (coyotes, owls, fishers...you name it), but that's just us.

What age are your chickens? When we have chicks, I make sure the cats can't get to them. By the time the hens are grown, our cats know better than to mess with them, and don't seem interested in that anyway. Other BYC'ers have posted cute pics of cats right in with their little chicks, but that would bear watching. I just haven't tried that.

Personally, it seems like a good idea getting a kitty (or two to keep each other company; works great) and letting it grow up in your setting with chickens. Hope this helps and sets your mind at ease, as we went along the same path.
 

orbirdman

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
79
1
29
oregon
my dad used to tell me when he was a kid his parents would make 'concrete' chocolate chip cookies for the vermin. you add just enough 'crete so that they can still eat the cookie. eventually they will eat enough and will be weighed down and just die. i have never tried it.
 
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ChickaD

Songster
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
618
4
141
central Vermont
wow, orbirdman, what a great family recipe!
If I make some, that just might be the last time I'd be asked to make cookies for a bake sale!
 

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