Possible mouse problem?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by KDOGG331, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Okay so the other day, I went to try on my cross country ski boots from forever ago and found tons of empty black oil sunflower seed shells in one! Needless to say I freaked and didn't try it on. And then later that same day or the next day, I was looking for a pair of sneakers and grabbed one to try on (which were in a wooden cubby in the garage right next to the door to the house) and this one was worse! I heard something in it but couldn't see anything at first so I tipped it up and down rolled mouse poop! Thankfully no mouse lol

    But obviously I'm disgusted but maybe that's natural?

    We used to have dog food in the regular ski boots all the time (stored in the second floor) so it's nothing new but I thought they were gone.

    Anyway, I guess my question is is this actually a problem or is it normal?

    We did at one point have sunflower seeds and chicken feed spilled out there and an open bag they chewed through which I'm assuming lured them in? Plus various bags of pet food keep getting moved out there.

    But we've since kept the feed inside unless it's in a tightly sealed container.

    So could the stuff in the shoes have been old from when there was food out there or do you think they are still out there?

    And another question, do you think we need a barn cat out there? It wouldn't have to have access to the outdoors.

    I also heard of this mouse trap a while ago I wanted to make but then I forgot and like I said, I thought they were gone.

    But it's a bucket trap type thing in a 5 gallon bucket, a dowel or other spinny thing across, bait, and/or water in the bottom. I guess the idea is they go to eat it and fall in and can't get out. With the water they would drown, without you just I guess release them somewhere later.

    Should I make some or just let the mice be?

    Finding food and poop in my shoes is sort of the last straw for me
     
  2. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mouse control is pretty important. If you are not currently controlling them, I would say you have them.

    First, put your feed etc. into metal garbage cans with nice tight lids or other secure containers. Try to keep the spillage cleaned up as well as you can.

    Next, set out traps. I have to keep traps set at all times; the deer mouse inhabits this area and yes, they have cases of Hanta virus here, so that means I can't tolerate mice. I have snap traps in the house, and I check them every morning. When I catch a mouse I take out the body and re-set the trap. In the barn I have one of those metal repeating traps that mice just run through and check that too. Setting up a 5-gallon bucket with about 2 gallons of water in it, with a ramp leading up to the top of the bucket, and a floating wood "island" with bait is the type of trap I've seen. Those can work really well.

    If you are talking about some place that is your garage or your house, go around the outside and seek out and plug any and all access holes. It really is possible to stop them that way but you must be very strict about the tiniest of holes. They say that if you can insert a Bic pen in a slot or hole, a mouse can get through it, so it will need to be plugged. We have used cement, that spray foam that fills cracks, caulking etc. Our house is an ancient adobe farmhouse and not very easy to secure, but we get it better every year.

    If you know you have mice, and it sounds like you do, be VERY careful about cleaning. DO NOT shake the dust off things!!! Wear a mask, take things outside and spray them with a hose, wear gloves, use a vacuum cleaner with a good filter and so on and so forth - anything to avoid breathing the dust that comes from possible mouse poop as that is how you can contract Hanta virus. And we don't want anyone to contract Hanta virus, now, do we? Didn't think so!! [​IMG]
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Wow thank you for the excellent information!

    I will definitely start a mouse control plan

    We've always just kind of accepted it as part of having a garage I guess but it doesn't have to be that way. We also used to feed our old dog and cat out there so I think that's part of how they got established. We put him down in July 2009 at 13 and we had him for probably 11 or 12 years, got him at 18 months, and we had a dog before him, so that's a long time for mice to get veryyyyy comfortable but not anymore!!! I think when we stopped feeding them, they vacated for a while (we got our current dog in 2012 so were 3 years without a dog. And he is fed indoors, as is the current cat who we got in 2010) but then with the chickens and storing bags of pet food out there, they came back.

    I will get on the holes! There's lots of holes. There is a really old faulty window right next to there they probably come in from, although it is off the ground a few feet?, and the garage doors are old too and sometimed not shut all the way. And the outdoor people doors are probably faulty too. There's loads of places small enough. Not to mention we have 2 decks right next to it so maybe there is a hole under the deck? It's pretty disgusting and scary under there so we have never been under to check or seal it. Who knows what lives under there.

    However, that said, the garage floor and foundation/up the wall a foot or so, is concrete?

    That bucket trap sounds like it would work better and be easier than the other one! It's kinda the same idea except instead of an island you have a dowel across and when they go to reach for the food, boom, they fall in. Some people put a soda can on the dowel to make it more slippery. Maybe I will try both ideas as well as some snap traps and other things.

    My mom just said she heard something chewing in her room and when she said something it stopped. Probably a mouse?

    Sooo...

    In the house now?

    THIS IS WAR lol

    no but really, that's creepy

    And wow, I had no idea mouse poo was so dangerous! I mean, I think I'd heard something but didn't take it seriously.

    Also another problem is the garage is so full of stuff we don't keep the cars in it and we'd probably never be able to eliminate every single mouse hiding place.

    But we can try to.
     
  4. RPClark

    RPClark Out Of The Brooder

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    We moved onto our rural acreage three years ago. One thing we noted right away was a significant mouse problem. I don't know if the previous owners weren't diligent about it or just didn't care. I've probably caught upwards of 300 mice in this period. At first, it was like there was an army of them and they had full run of the house and shop building.

    I've tried various traps and setups. I used the bucket method, but only managed to get a couple out in the shop that way. That experience, however, proved to me just how filthy those little rodents are. I caught two, and when they fell into the water at the bottom of the trap, they turned the water an opaque gray. Yuck.

    My preferred trap can be seen at the following link: https://www.menards.com/main/outdoors/animal-insect-controls/animal-traps-repellents/jawz-trade-mouse-trap-2-traps/p-1444436623541.htm. I'm not shilling for this retailer, it's just what popped up when I googled for a link. These traps are reusable many times, and rarely does the bait get stolen as in the case of the old-school "snap traps". Peanut butter is the best bait.

    After three years of working at mouse control, I've learned a few things:

    - Mouse control is possible. Mouse elimination is not possible. Even in town, they're there. It may creep out some folks, and they'll convince themselves they don't have a problem, but it doesn't change the fact that they're there.

    - A campaign of closing off entry points is good; you have to do it. But some are still going to get in somewhere. Keep an eye out and see if you can locate the general vicinity of their entry point after you have closed off as many as you can. At my house, I have narrowed their point of entry to one corner of the basement, where the foundation meets the sill plate of the house structure. I really don't want to tear that corner up because it will be an expensive, messy job. Since locating that entry point, I've kept two traps along the sill plate that catch the vast majority of the mice that enter the house. Mouse evidence in other areas has dropped to just about zero. I consider my mouse problem "under control" at this point.

    - Be aggressive. If you see evidence, put the traps out then. Place them along the wall where you see the evidence.

    - If you catch one, rebait a trap and put one right back in the same spot as soon as you've removed the caught critter.

    - Catch enough of them and they will amaze you about how tough and persistent they can be. On several occasions I've had one mouse caught in multiple traps at the same time. The first time I saw this, the caught mouse got his leg caught in a snap trap. He dragged it 35 feet across the shop floor and found another baited trap that he got snapped onto his other hind leg. I call that one the "Mighty Mouse" incident.

    - I don't like poison bait. It doesn't work well and poses a danger to non-target animals.

    - Live traps are a waste of time. Controlling a rodent infestation by catching the mice and releasing them out doors is like trying to bail out the ocean with a bucket. Be squeamish about dispatching the little critters for a bit, and then get over it. They look all cute, and there are folks who believe it's cruel to kill them. That's their choice. But when I saw that gray water when I caught two in the bucket trap, that convinced me I don't want them running uncontrolled through the house. I'm no germophobe, but I believe there's a limit to what I'll put up with.

    As for the chicken coop...I saw the flock catch a mouse the other day. They played with it for a while before finally killing and eating it. We keep the feed in mouse-proof metal cans. There's no way we'll ever make sure there are NO mice out there. The birds have proven to me they'll control mice out there, too.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If you find stashes and/or droppings you've got mice.
    Funny story, I once opened the hood of my van and at least a cup of whole corn kernels came pouring down from behind the insulation panels on inside of hood.

    My experience was much like RPClarks....tho they weren't in the house thank goodness.
    I just keep traps set all the time...certain times of the year I put out more.

    One thing I learned is it's much more effective to put the bait end of the trap against a wall or tall(~6") vertical surface, I use cardboard boxes on shelves.
    I love the easy-set easy empty-traps but find the spring is not as strong as on the typical snap traps,
    have had traps disappear then found later with dead mouse off under something or in a corner.
     
  6. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @KDOGG331 Oh yes! Mice can climb like you would not believe. The barn walls are 8' high on my barn and they have to climb over those to get in my feed room as the base is all sealed. I CONSTANTLY trap mice in my feed room.

    The gestation period for a mouse is 20 days. They can have up to 14 kits per litter, with some female mice producing as many as 10 litters per year. Sexual maturity for female mice is 6 weeks. [​IMG] THAT is why you HAVE to have a mouse control program. They can easily out-breed anything you do.

    No matter how many you trap and kill, more will come along. Therefore it makes more sense to get your house and garage just as air-tight as you possibly can. Now, of course, you will STILL have mice. Just not nearly as many! That's what you are aiming for.
     
  7. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got 3 barn cats that keep my mice population under control. I have one mouse that lives in my chicken run. Every night when I pull up the 3 gallon water bowls, he runs out from underneath the bowl (bowl is double walled with the outside being wider to prevent spills, and this gives him a round hallway to hang out in) and dashes up the 7' wire walls to watch me from a roof rafter. I don't have the heart to kill him, as he is outside in the run, not inside the coop or my house. Its actually a very good place for him to survive the winter - fresh water every day, plenty of chicken feed and corn to eat, and most importantly, safe from the cats since they have no way to get into the run. He can get out as there is a 1" ventilation space between the metal roof and roof frame. As long as he does not get eaten by the chickens, he has a pretty good place for the winter!
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Thank you so much for all the help, advice, and stories everyone! I am still reading and will try to reply soon, keep forgetting, but I am reading and going to try these suggestions and I appreciate it :)
     
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm currently trying to work through a mouse/rat problem myself. I freely admit I'm a bleeding heart and hate the thought of having to kill anything past a mosquito (we even release spiders outside when possible... though the chickens just eat them) but I draw the line at having wild rodents inside my house chewing holes and running around my kitchen and possibly spreading disease to future pet rodents. At the same time I didn't want to use glue traps (really horrible things, plus I have dogs) or poison (the thought of having them slowly bleeding to death in the walls is so nasty).

    So I picked up an electronic trap last night and we've already zapped 2 mice so far. Much less scary than the old fashioned wood traps. I also have an exterminator coming to take a look around and assess the problem but they're pushing for poison and I won't do that, so not sure if I'll end up signing up for their service but I want to see what their findings are first.
     
  10. RPClark

    RPClark Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, sticky traps are nasty, too. Fast elimination really is the best way. I won't shy away from taking out a pest or a predator, but I want it to be fast and painless as possible.

    I've seen but never used the electronic traps. I don't have a problem dealing with mechanical traps, and they're much more cost effective.

    I really don't think professional exterminators are the best solution for most mouse and rat problems. It's a daily chore that quickly becomes second nature; by that I mean the behaviors that will help control the problem as well as actually removing the mice.
     

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