The Case of the Missing Mousetrap

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by wsmith, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    It was a warm for November. Daytime temperatures were still in the upper 60’s and lower 70’s. Overnight lows were still above freezing. We took advantage of the weather, and did more chicken building projects as we had time. We finally finished the two work and storage sheds. Both were lean-to sheds, and basically mirror; facing each other with a wide walkway in between. The gate from the back yard opened into this walkway. The shed on the right got partially walled up using leftover fencing boards, so as to provide a more protected area for bales of straw, etc and for the large varmint proof garbage cans we use to store feed in. Our chicken operation is separated into two distinct areas, the main chicken yard, and the chicken management area. The main chicken yard is about 4000 square feet, and includes two grow-out pens, each of which use up about 200 Square feet. The main hen house is also in this area, and is 120 square feet. The chicken management area includes the work and storage sheds previously described, and 4 breeder/brooder/segregation pens, each about 200 square feet. The entire project area is surrounded by a 6 ft. wood fence. Around the bottom of this fence, laying and staked onto the ground is 2 foot wide chain link, and nailed to the fence vertically is another 2 ft. high welded wire and chain link; all of which keep out fox, stray dogs, and coyotes. The main chicken yard also has an additional 3 ft high bird netting above the wood, making the total height of the chicken yard fence 9 feet.
    When we finished the buildings, we knew that both areas would probably become havens for mice and perhaps other rodents. The shed without the walls has a decking type floor and a workbench, which would provide a decent shelter for mice, and the other would provide bedding for them. Mice would also eat chicken feed and spread disease, so we strategically placed a number of mouse traps under the decking, and around the straw pile. We baited them with cheese and peanut butter.
    The day after placing the traps was Sunday morning; November 17th to be exact. While the rest of the family finished getting ready for church, I went out to check for eggs. When I opened the gate to the chicken areas, I noticed something scurry across the walkway, and dash under the decking. I walked through and looked in the straw area, and saw another shadow moving slowly under the pallet the straw is stacked on. Bending over, but being careful not to get my suit dusty, the shadow darted away into the shadows. The traps next to where the shadow had been was tripped, and the bait gone. I re-set the trap, and then looked around to see whether the other trap had also been tripped.
    It was gone.
    No longer there.
    I was in a hurry, so I decided to investigate further after returning home from church.
    When I got home, I changed clothes and went outside to investigate the missing trap. I looked under the pallet using a flashlight, and the trap wasn’t there. I looked around the feed bins, and the trap wasn’t there either. Without removing the straw from the shed I couldn’t look any further.
    The nest day I set another trap, this time baited only with peanut butter. For the next few days there were no more developments. I set out a larger rat sized trap, also baited with peanut butter. Nothing.
    On Tuesday, November 27th I came home from work to find that the small trap that had been placed under the pallet was also missing. I removed all the bales from the pallet and shed, and also removed the large bags of dry leaves stored there to be used as chicken coop bedding. I removed the pallet. No trap. Neither missing trap was there. I looked outside the shed, and around the entire area. No traps. I set an additional 4 traps around the area.
    So here are the known facts:

    • We know there were mice there.
    • We know that no larger mammals can get in.
    • The perimeter is still secure.
    • Two mousetraps are missing
    • The only other predators that can get in are birds and snakes.
    • We haven’t seen hawks or owls recently, but they are known in the area.

    • Could the traps have been tripped by a larger rodent and carried off?
    • Could the traps have been tripped by mice and the mouse and trap been carried off by a bird?
    • Could the traps have been tripped by a bird of snake and been taken elsewhere?
    Hmmm. No extra cash at this time to buy a game camera. Spent it all on the chicken yard…
    I will post developments as they occur. For now, we remain vigilant…… and perplexed…
  2. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    Could have gotten a tail or leg. I had a conibear trap turn up missing.Never did find it.
  3. pichuris

    pichuris Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    Strasburg Colorado
    Even the tiniest of mice can carry off a trap. I've had a tiny mouse get its foot caught and saw him scurrying a long distance. I'll be interested to know if you find those traps.
  4. kmatt87

    kmatt87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    we've had several mice carry traps away. you might find them....eventually. lol
  5. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2011
    Back a few years ago, I was in a battle over my barn with a nasty gang of rats. Over the course of about 4 months I managed to catch the horse once with a spring trap and 3 times with glue traps. All 3 times I was SURE the traps were where she couldn't have possibly gotten to them. Twice the glue traps were stuffed down the rat hole. I suspect that the rats shoved them out in to her stall - possibly for their entertainment.
    The horse was unharmed - although with a chunk of her tail and 2 rectangles of her coat missing.
    The rats eventually got a nice meal of rat killer and have never been heard from again.
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lost another trap...
  7. pichuris

    pichuris Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    Strasburg Colorado

    Are you using the wooden snap traps? I would drill a small hole into the corner and tie it down with wire or depending where exactly possibly just nailing it down. That way you can figure out what is going on.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  8. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yup, wooden snap traps. This afternoon I will screw one to a large board, the other I will give a VERY long tether.....Maybe if it is long enough, it will lead me to the other ones....
  9. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2012
    I have had ratzilla drag away both wooden spring traps and glue traps. I have also found them chewed up, except for the metal parts. Rat posion was the only thing that finally worked, and I am really nervous about having it around, but sometimes it is needed.
  10. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only rats I've seen around ourplace are Kangaroo rats, and they are fairly small.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by