Today I noticed evidence of a mouse problem in my tack room. Specifically, I believe there are mice in the tack room wall and under/in my cabinets in that room. We did not actually see a mouse, but suffice it to say that based on what I saw today I know they are there, and the problem is not minor.
I fired the mouse patrol -- my 4 barn cats -- this morning. So, does anyone have any suggestions on how to encourage the mice to take up house elsewhere -- a method that is safe and effective given that we have broodmares and foals (i.e., so chemicals are out)?
Female barn cats are the better hunters. You can use some poison if you use the bait stations in some places. I don't worry about a few mice. The larger variety however are not welcome, and the bait stations are very effective, but safe.
I have a Jack Russell that has achieved his Master Mouser's License. One time I saw him get 5 in 5 quick snaps of his jaws!
Hmmm Jack Russel v. Black snake.......close call ; ).
Seriously, I am willing to consider ALL options.
Fairview, I am not afraid of mice or anything like that. We never actually had a mouse problem ever, before. But this morning when I was looking for some meds to treat a boo boo, I had difficulty closing a cabinet door and looked down to find that the entire bottom of the cabinet had about an inch thick of sawdust in it, something that appeared to be cotton, and things that looked like small black grains of rice. I realized right away that it was some kind of vermin issue, but then realized upon further inspection that the sawdust likely is from mice gnawing through wood; the cotton is insulation material from the wall, and the "black rice" is mouse poop. Also, don't mice droppings pose a disease risk for the horses? (We do not as of yet have an issue in the feed room).
If I could cut a deal with a snake pursuant to which the snake would agree to stay out of sight in exchange for mice, I would do it.
feed your cats less cat food! (this is not a joke) it works!
This is an ongoing battle with my barn helpers. My cats *used* to be good mousers, and were a healthy weight. But they are fed like pets, despite my protests. Now I have a bunch of newly-unemployed cat couch potatoes with no redeeming features whatsoever. They were abandoned by the former owners of the farm and we used to have a pact of mutual tolerance.
On the bright side, I am thankful that due to my being neurotic, we re-wired the entire barn when we moved here, and every wire is encased in metal MC conduit -- even the wiring inside the walls -- because I was afraid mice might chew the wires at some point.
Don't leave the food out available for anyone else to feed the cats. That way only you controls the feeding.
I had to pound this into my husband's head and anyone else that fed for me. If they are all there begging for food twice a day then you know they are just hungry enough to be interested. It kills me how many folks think that overfeeding is kindness.
It kills me how many folks think that overfeeding is kindness.
Absolutely. That goes for cats, dogs, and horses too. People report animals too thin all of the time, but I want to report too fat animals too. We should have "painfully fat" words. I know personally what extra weight will do to health and soundness, and I try to make sure my animals are at a healthy weight. (If only I had an owner! )
Absolutely. That goes for cats, dogs, and horses too. People report animals too thin all of the time, but I want to report too fat animals too. We should have "painfully fat" words.
RE controlling the feed -- we have resident helpers, and they insist on putting their own cats' feed out for my cats as well. I will try to prevail on this point again, though. My cats are not obese, but they are not lithe and athletic like they used to be. Think sporthorse fit vs pasture pony.
Just buy some of those old fashioned wooden mouse traps and you will get them one by one. Be sure to plug the hole in the wall with steel wool and nail a tin can over over the hole. This is the time of year when such critters start looking for winter homes--with good food too. They love to eat dropped grain or cat food.
http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill
We use JRTs here and yes mice/rats carry extra health risks here due to a few lovely viruses they and their flea friends carry. My JRTs are well fed but that has never deterred their interest/need to hunt/chase/& destroy. One of mine will eat his kill if it's not taken away in time but the others just kill and leave me the carcasses to dispose of (actually my preference).
We are in the country - REAL country, not totally tamed - I have to drive a half mile to the nearest neighbor. We always battle with critters - trying to define where the line is between MY space (which includes my tack room, barn, feed barn, and storage sheds), and THEIR space - everywhere else And mice are an issue - we can't use cats, they are quickly eaten by coyotes. Small dogs are also snacks if left outside
Natural critter control includes an owl - if you can, install an owl box. Encourage snakes (which really means don't kill them when you see them). And poison can help - and is really more effective than traps. I use the little bait boxes, pop them open and shove them under things so the dog, cats, etc can't easily access them. Also - buy a shop vac, and vaccuum up their droppings. If you can find WHERE they are coming in, stuff it with steel wool.
Keep the cats - they may not totally eradicate the mice, but they are probably helping, honest. And, if you can stand the intensity, terriers (jack russells or otherwise) are great hunters too.
While I agree that you should try cutting back your cats food, it does wonders...no one has addressed the dangers of mouse dropping to humans, specifically, when you are cleaning it up.
Hantavirus can be extremely harmful to humans and is carried by rodents, particularly deer mice. It's important to wear latex gloves and a dust mask while cleaning up mice droppings and it's best to wet down the area with disinfectant first so that you are not raising any dust into the air.
I am always wondering this, too. We have lots of mice in my current small barn/garage/tack room/feed room building. I am trying to figure out how to be sure I don't end up with a major infestation when I get the new barn finished and up and running. I am curious if you can buy black snakes? I think I would prefer them to a bunch of cats, honestly. Not sure how that would pan out. Anyone ever tried it? I don't really want barn cats (though I'm sure I'll have them, my neighbors have tons of unfixed felines), and have 4 big dogs already, a JRT might just break me.
Also, any way at all the mouse "proof" the walls, etc? They seem to be able to get into ANYTHING!
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan