Yes, another mouse post

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MichelleT, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I've searched the threads and am probably more confused now than before. Here's some history and our major mouse dilemma...
    HISTORY: Although we live in an urban area, our property (1/3 acre) backs up to open space on 2 of the 4 borders. Thus, we have all kinds of critters from small to large. Although we had seen a mouse or two on occasion in the garden before we got our hens, they were never a problem, and we also had enough snakes to (I think) keep it under control.

    NOW: Mice, mice, mice. Bold mice - in the run in the daytime, sometimes when the hens are even out. They seem to either not notice them or not care. (Same with the bold squirrel we've named "Ben" - he will sit at their feeder munching away while they're sunning themselves in the far end of the run. UGH!) And they've started invading the garden, eating tomatoes right on the vine. (I know this is not squirrels as the squirrels pick the tomatoes and leave them, half-eaten, in the garden walkway. (UGH again!)

    COOP/RUN CONSTRUCTION: At the time I thought putting the run directly on the dirt, using the "apron" method to keep more predatory critters out, was the wise choice - so that the girls could dust-bathe and scratch on the dirt floor. But those little rodents are crafty and, unlike a fox, have tunnels starting yards away from the run (we see them along the house and out along a retaining wall) and the run just seems to be an exit on their underground highway.

    WHAT I'VE ALREADY DONE: The food supply is kept locked up in a metal trash can. We bring the food from their run/coop in at dusk, sometimes sooner. Now that it's cold, we close the coop up at the same time. Last year there was a bed of babies in the coop when I cleaned it out in the spring and the girls thought that was the best treat EVER - made me sick to my stomach and freaked me out thinking of all the nastiness that my poor hens had been living in and I didn't even know it! So this year I've been extra vigilant about stirring up their bedding almost every day and spreading non-mouse treats all over the floor of the coop to keep the girls digging (meal-worms, lettuce scraps - I know, mice will eat anything, but it doesn't seem like these things attract the buggers so much). Bonus, it heats up the coop in the cold. :)

    Also, I've set traps - lots of them. I only get about a 50% rate of return - they either set it off early and eat the stuff after it's snapped OR the trap doesn't spring and they just eat and leave. Plus, I'm thinking that I'm not even making a dent in the problem this way... there are more and more little holes each and every day. I'm sure there are hundreds of them lurking beneath us. Thank heavens there are none in the house... yet...

    NOW WHAT? The only thing I have left to do as far as I can see is poison. Not my first choice, as I don't want to harm anything but the mice. (Yeah, not even Ben...) Two problems with this as far as I can tell.
    1.) When they all die - the smell of hundreds of dead mice. Maybe not so bad right now that the temps are consistently below freezing, but when it warms up... um... can't imagine!
    2.) What if a mouse mama-to-be has set up a spot in the coop that we (me and the chickens) haven't gotten to somehow already... and she takes the "treat" back to her "spot"... and the chickens get into it? It would kill me if they got into poison somehow. I am certain I can keep it far from them when I bait the mice BUT what if... what are the chances???

    It really is bad enough that I've thought of calling a pest-control company - but are they gonna do the same thing I would but charge me an arm and a leg?

    Thoughts, please... anyone...
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not a fan of poison.
    I am a big fan of the 5 gallon bucket trap. It catches multiples every night.

     
  3. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen this... But we aren't getting above freezing right now, even during the day. Would it still work?
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    X2 ON THE BUCKET TRAPS. There are also these wind up traps that catch multiple rodents. they get whacked by the spring action and just get added into the holding compartment. Another more extreme measure is to get a few Barn Cats. I know there are peeps that will differ with this opinion. I have cats and have NO MICE.
    Here are some at under $20
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Available on Amazon.
     
  5. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Add salt to the water
     
  6. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What snap traps are you using and what are you using for bait? I've found these to be the best, easy to set and to release, snap traps out there: http://www.amazon.com/Kness-12-001-...TF8&qid=1451408791&sr=8-3&keywords=mouse+trap.

    Get yourself a large plastic tote with a lid that secures tightly (I like the storage containers that have a latching lid); drill a hole or two in the side near the bottom of the tote just large enough for a mouse to enter (mice can pass thru 1/2" hardware cloth). Place shavings inside the tote and set multiple traps using peanut butter in the bait cup. Place the side with the hole(s) facing a wall. You can place a brick or two on top if you're worried wind might tumble the tote. This way, you can catch mice during the day when the chickens are out and not have to worry that one of the chickens might get caught in a trap and continue trapping them during the evening hours as well.

    Good luck.
     
  7. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been using the basic (cheap) throw-away-with-each-use traps (because I can't stomach the opening and dumping - well, I can, I just prefer not to). Also, as far as the bucket goes, I am a softie at heart - and although I hate, hate HATE the thought of the mice, I also hate the thought of them struggling and struggling to hang onto life. Yeah- softie here. As hard as I try to steel myself, I just can't. The guillotine method (whack-em-quick) seems more humane to me.

    BUT, given that I was sure that the biggest mouse (a big gray dude that I thought for a while might be a baby rat, but my rat-expert-friend says is just a big, fat mouse) was not in the coop when I closed them in last night and that my daughter indeed saw him/her IN the coop this morning, just hanging out waiting for the door to open with not some much as a side glance from our 5 girls [​IMG]- I know I've got to get serious - and that poison is NOT an option at this point.

    SO - today... I'm setting up a multi-layered approach.
    1. I have an Amazon order open to get a couple of Christmas gifts to myself. Those multi-mouse traps are on my list.
    2. And the heavy-duty "catch, kill and release" traps too.
    2. 5 gallon bucket... I think I have to do it until the other traps arrive. Hating every minute of it though...

    I have another week off before I have to go back to work (teacher). So right now I can check traps and re-set daily. That gets more difficult when I return to school. As much progress as I can make in 6 days is what I'm aiming for.
     
  8. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now, Barn Cats are a thought... we have 2 indoor kitties and no mice inside (knock on wood) but that may be sheer luck. Or the mice smell them, who knows?
    I just did a little research on some organizations that adopt out "Barn Cats" or cats that are not able to become indoor pets - might be an option. We have no structure, like a barn, but we do have a deck that is covered and we use it as storage space (and, apparently, mouse habitat)... I wonder if we could set something up under the deck that is sheltered enough to provide what the organizations recommend for shelter. We have a coyote population as well (don't they eat mice???!!!) so I'm worried any outdoor cat would be coyote bait, but if someone could convince me that we could keep them *relatively* safe, I could be convinced. [​IMG] My kids LOVE cats...
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That and don't make it so deep that if it freezes they can jump out.

    There is no shortage of mice. Not an endangered species and if you let them go, they'll be right back where you don't want them.

    I like cats too but I'm not a fan of barn cats either. They can get into a lot of danger running loose and though they do take mice, they also take songbirds, lizards and other animals I want around here. They call them house cats for a reason. Outdoor cats kill more birds and are the cause of bird extinctions than anything else.

    You may not like the idea of a mouse suffering, but think about the suffering of all the birds the cats kill.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [email protected]*. Save a cat, kill a bird (or 20).
    There is just no way to do this keeping my positive feng-shui karma-thing going. (hee hee)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015

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