Should we get a barn cat?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by QChickieMama, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    We have dogs, horses, quail, & chickens, and now apparently, we have 100s of mice in the outdoor feed area.

    I've been setting traps for them, but many of the mice are too tiny to set the traps off. They just keep stripping the bait.

    So, should we get a barn cat?
    If so, here's the deal: 2 in the family are allergic. This cat would need to live in the barn and outdoors (we're in NC, so not too cold). Would a barn cat require any attention or work? We're at our limit of farm chores right now, and I don't want to incur any expense beyond some cat food.

    Would putting cat food in the barn draw in other wild animals? Could it live off of just mice & moles? We have lots of acreage full of both.

    Thanks!
     
  2. maxpedley

    maxpedley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My cats live in a barn in englaand where temps can get down to -10 degrees celsius. they are fine and eat lots of mice and voles however they still get fed. The are fine with animals (in fact they are picked on by the chickens and ducks). Barn cats which do their own ting are often better pets as I have foundthat mine have become very affectionate and they behave like dogs ie. they dont have a need to climb on everything as they do this when hunting
     
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    You could make a bucket mouse drowning trap. It is pretty easy, actually, the materials are cheap and easy to acquire. See instructions here.

    Secondly, you need to secure your animal feed better. Metal feed bins are the way to go, they can't be chewed into. And sweep up ANY feed spills, don't give the mice access to feed in the first place. I have no problems with mice because I keep things clean and keep feed in metal bins.
     
  4. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I've tried a mouse bucket w/o any luck. I could try again since we do have so many right now.

    The feed problem was from keeping chickens & quail in barn stalls. Their food & water were always available for the mice to munch. The birds have been moved, so now we can keep the horse grain area clean but the mice might still find the birds across the yard.
     
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    When you set traps, try using peanut butter as bait so they don't take the bait. Also, set them along walls where nice tend to run.

    We had a really bad mice and rat problem, despite traps and securing food. In the end, the only thing that worked was poison. We have to be extra careful about the dog and we secure the poison where none of our pets can reach it.
     
  6. maxpedley

    maxpedley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We no longer have mice in our barn due to the highly effective cats we bought. Between them they bring in 3-5 mice per day from the fields.
     
  7. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might want to talk to a feral cat rescue program in your area. They are always looking for barn homes for cats. A good program will take the time to educate you on what you will need to provide for care (yes, barn cats DO need to be fed...they are better hunters when they are healthy & well-fed. Also, mine will kill moles but will NOT eat them.), how to home them in on your property (they will need to be locked up for awhile to re-orient them), etc. If no one in your family cares about petting them anyway, feral cats are the cheapest way to go since there is usually a VERY nominal adoption fee (if any) that will include their spay/neuter, vaccinations, flea drops, etc. Those cats are also usually pretty driven to hunt.

    If you want an affectionate cat, I'd recommend getting them off of craigslist & asking about what kind of hunters they are.

    And, please, if you get a barn cat get 2...despite their reputation the majority of cats actually do much better with a friend. (Yes, I know they squabble & sound like they're going to kill each other for the first few days or even weeks but so do our chickens when we first introduce them).

    Too bad you're on the other side of the country, I have a couple spares at the moment. (We get dump-offs on a regular basis.)
     
  8. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Great ideas!

    We don't want an affectionate one. Can't have cat dander on us.

    For now, we're working hard on trapping the mice. If that fails, we'll look into a feral cat. In the last 36 hrs, we've caught 20. Ugh.
     
  9. eggcited2

    eggcited2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I grew up in rural farming area and one thing about mice and barns, or feed bunks; if you don't have cats to get rid of them, snakes will come in to eat the rodents.

    I am 58 years old and this has held true to this day.

    As for a barn cat, they don't usually take much work. Make sure they can get to water and yes, do put some food out. Not all cats will eat mice, some just play with them till they are dead and then leave them. So supplement with some cat food. Feed only where they are going to live, cause if you feed them close to the house, they will hang around the house too much.

    I only have one cat at this time, but my aunt and uncle still have 5 or 6 at their farm, my best friend and her husband have over a dozen of them at their farm. And so do other farmers in our area.

    By the way, cats will not guarantee you won't have any snakes come around. I have a friend that they have at least two cats for their horse stables, and still will have snake show up now and then. Generally only black snake, bull snake, garter snake (garters will eat baby mice). Usually nothing dangerous snake wise.
     
  10. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Boy, that's interesting. We do get snakes here. Often just black snakes but sometimes copperheads. One copperhead got the dog last season--that was awful.

    If I feed it down at the barn and no one pays the cat any attention, do you think it'll stay down at the barn?
     

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