Death to the field mice! (How do I get rid of them???)
I have some field mice that have taken up residence in my tack/feed room. I don't want to get a cat because the barn is a shedrow barn and the only place for the cat to nest would be in the 10x10 tack room - which is too small for the litter box, food, etc, for the cat....And we can't have cats indoors since my hubby is allergic (and he does feed the horses on occassion - another reason for no cats).
So anyways, sometimes hubby feeds and FORGETS to put the lid back on the trash can where I have the grain.
Today was the last straw. Hubby forgot and I went to make grain for this evening and there the 2 little (kinda cute) field mice were munching away on the grain.....GRRRRR......
So these mice HAVE to go. Some of them are stupid and commit suicide in the water buckets (that's happened 2 times this year)....but clearly there are other mice taking up residence just waiting for the hubby to forget the lid again...And they are probably also living off of the trash contents (they ate a SILICA packet????) as well.
He needs to understand the rammifcations of his actions (ie: horses getting into feed and colicking/ founder resulting in possible death). This type of 'forgetting' isn't cute or forgiveable. My husband pulls this crap every once in a while. Some times I let it slide. Sometimes the wrath of satan is opened on him.
Having permanently jogged hubby's 'memory', you can now address the mice. I find snap/ kill traps are the most humane. Quick, neat (if you clean up daily) and easy to reset. I'd avoid sticky traps because you then have to relocate (they come back) or drown them (I'm not that heartless). Caulk any holes in your feed room with that expanding foam type caulk, keep any garbage tightly sealed, etc. Just generally make your feed room inaccessible.
PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
More silica packets? Maybe the mice would dry up and go away.... Just kidding.... (Although silica is used in drying flowers.)
I'd say poison, strategically stationed (if you don't have any animals, or if you can keep the other animals away from it).... Or train your husband better--I can see you need to be more consistent in your punishment....
There are these absolutely fabulous traps - I think made by Combat - that totally enclose mouse and you don't have to see body when you dispose of trap. Supposed to instantly kill the mouse.
For the first time ever this winter, I had mice in my house - not sure how they got in but in they did get - destroyed a bunch of stuff in my pantry before I realized there was a problem (not like I actually cook!). Made a huge mess.
As I have inside / outside dogs, poison wasn't an option. Regular traps - NOT an option. These traps - worked beautifully.
AND inform husband that continuing to be forgetful about closing feed can will result in introduction of feline into household..... not a threat, per se, but a bargaining chip.....
Originally Posted by SmartAlex
Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.
I know lots of people are really against using poison in the barn but I really had not other option. I have a ton of mice in the barn. I can tell by the poo they leave behind. Interestingly enough, they are rarely in the feed room. I also think they've built a mouse super-highway under all my stall mats.
Anyhow, I bought a bait station and put Hawk blocks in it. I'm starting to find dead mice here and there. That makes me very happy. A neighbor recommended Hawk because "he said" it wouldn't hurt the other animals and he's seen a dog eat some will not ill effects. Not sure I believe all that but that's why I bought that brand over others.
First: what makes you think a barncat needs/would use a litterbox?
Mine thinks the indoor is the Worlds Largest Litterbox
I tell her the day I pick catpoop from a hoof is the day we discuss this usage. So far we're good...
As for food & shelter:
- unless you want to feed all vermin within sniffing distance, barncat food should only be set out when barncat is fed.
- My barncat seldom drinks from the heated bowl I provided - she's much happier jumping into the horses' stalls and drinking from their heated buckets (which BTW, cost less than hers!)
- where do you store your hay? my barncat manages to find shelter in the bales stacked in my indoor, hay is great insulation
Really there is no substitute for a barncat. Your mouse problem will all but disappear with a decent hunter in residence.
As for DH "forgetting" to relid the grain:
Can you bungee the lids on so he'd have to recover the container?
As well as horses possibly eating themselves into founder, ask him if you really want to feed bird & mouse poop along with grain.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015
Mice will only come where there is food. So in addition to smacking hubby to get him to remember to close the bins, sweep your aisle and feedroom everyday and get rid of any little grain pellets that have fallen.
The tackroom is the best place for a barn kitty to live. You do need to feed them and they will hunt for fun- get one that is a proven mouser, as a lot do not have the instinct and have not been taught. I have 4 cats- only 2 are mousers.
Put a cat door in the tackroom door- there is no need for a litterbox. My semi-feral barn cat doesn't even have a cat door- she appears from the bushes at 9 PM when I am feeding last hay, and we put her in the tack room with her kibble and some water. No more nibbled tack! She sleeps happily on the saddle pads and uses the great outdoors as a box in the morning when I let her out again.
The only time we've had mice or rats in the last 8 years she's been living there, is when it snows, the rodents come in from the cold, but she either catches them or scares them away, because now the snow is gone, no more mousies! (plus I did a super clean-up in the feedroom)
PS- mice are a better sign than rats. Rats are bullies and generally, if they chase your mice away, you have a worse problem. They do not usually inhabit the same territory unless it is a very big building.
I NEVER use poison bait. Even the Hawk Bait- a powerful anticoagulant that kills rodents resistant to other anticoagulants! is not safe for pets. My elderly cat ate a rat that had eaten my neighbour's poison once. We nearly lost him- he was bleeding from his stomach and needed IV treatment. I talked to the neighbour and he doesn't use the poison anymore. He doesn't like cats and his animal husbandry is not the neatest, so most of our rodents are refugees from his place. He has switched to snap traps.
"The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF
This has been very informative! I *did* have mousers at my last barn and no, they never use the litter box. We had a dirt floor in the barn - they used the dirt floor....GRRRRRR.....
I may consider getting a mouser again if I can commit to doing the chores all the time and get PITA hubby to put in a pet door......
But until then, I bought these traps whereby the mouse goes in, gets caught on a sticky pad and can not get out. I feel terrible for killing them, but I really don't want to find them anymore. Plus I don't want them to introduce any type of disease that could be given to my ponies....so away they must go.
I'll report back on these traps and let you know how they work!
If you don't want a cat, how about a terrier. Mine goes with me to the barn everyday and "hunts". In fact when he was 6 weeks old he caught his first mousie in the wood pile! No training involved.
I love our cats, they do a spendid job, but if we didn't have the cats well I know my terrier with be applying for the job! Besides alot nicer than one of those sticky things the poor mouse has to suffer and struggle to die. My way well its just one gulp!
FWIW (which may be nothing), I had a barn FULL of mice. Dang things were everywhere, running along the stall wall boards, rafters, etc. They got so bold as to necessitate me making sure they weren't sitting in the horses' feed tubs before I dumped in the feed. They'd also sit just inside the stall wall, waiting for my horses to finish their meals and jump in before my horses even got out the stall doors.
They'd also come out on my barn work table, sit up and watch me. Bold little critters!
I had neighbor cats that patrolled my barn and occasionally would snag one, but I was still inundated, and I didn't keep ANY feed in there (isn't that what dining rooms are for in the house? ). I don't even feed any grain - just a handful of Carb Guard with an ounce of soaked beet pulp as a carrier for the flax seed/vit/min mix I feed.
Well, something weird happened. I added spirulina (blue-green algae) to my feed mix, and within a week, no sign of mice. Nothing. Nada. They simply all disappeared. This was over a year ago, and while I did see two mice running through my hay bales about 2 months ago, it was only once, and I haven't seen them since.
The neighbor's cats don't even come around anymore.
Was it the spirulina? I don't know, but that was only thing I can think of that caused the mice to flee.
Hey, guys. Lay off the husband who helps in the barn. IF the garbage can was within horse reach, they can lift the lid off a garbage can with one lip anyway. If it wasn't for my few good men I'd hardly have survived our unusually cold, snowy winter since I'm always cold and they appear to have antifreeze in their veins. I take good care of them.
Set a tall plastic kitchen garbage can beside something that they climb on with some food in the bottom. Some will be in there in the morning. They go in but can't climb or jump out. Clean it out good and reset the next night. When you stop finding them in there any morning, they are all gone----for now.
What to do with the mice??
"Here hold this shotgun."
"Why is it so heavy?"
"Why do I need so many shells?"
"If they hit the ground or start down they will suffer. Untill then they go Wheeeee"
We have a very unique method for eliminating mice. Not as messy as a trap, but will kill'em. Take a bucket and fill 1/2 - 3/4 with water. Find a fairly thick, round wooden dowel. Place the dowel across the top of the bucket ( no lid) Smear peanut butter on the middle of the dowel. Mice will climb up the side of the bucket, start to crawl across the dowel, which will roll over and dump said mouse into the water where he ( or she) will meet a watery death. You do have to dump the corpses and reset the trap, but it's very effective. We use this where I work, a small country library that's not open every day. We have a young man who works a few days a week and his job is to check and empty the "pool". Maybe not for the faint of heart, and might not work as well in an unheated area where the water will freeze, but wouldn't be harmful to other pets, either.
Cats. Best thing there are for those dang critters.
They are good employees who do earn their keep.
Ours became incredibly affectionate. When we lost our barn just recently to the housing mess (a whole 'nother story). We found homes for 2 of the cats and kept one. He is our garage kitty and still a fine employee!
Hey, guys. Lay off the husband who helps in the barn.
I'm with you. I am appreciative of my husband, despite his slip ups. Usually, if I found a mouse in the grain bin it'd be HIS job to retrieve them. However, he had to GO IN TO WORK today (GASP) and I was stuck at home alone to deal with the critters (4-legged and 2!) so the mouse duty was all up to me!
Anyways, traps are set...hopefully we'll have some prisoners by tomorrow AM.