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Dealing with Mice!...a rant!

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  • Dealing with Mice!...a rant!

    Living above a barn has it's appeal...and a few disadvantages as well. One of the downsides seems to be the constant fight to keep mice out of our home. Obviously the barn cats do a good job with population control, but they only patrol the outside area. Once a mouse finds his way into either the laundry room or the tack room, they eventually find a passage way upstairs....and the fight begins.

    We do not use any kind of poison. With other small animals around, we were worried that if a dog or cat got ahold of a sick mouse, ate it, then we would then have a sick cat or dog on our hands! Other traps include old fashioned spring traps, new fashioned spring traps that cage the mouse, and sticky pads. We started with the spring traps. These are very dangerous to set as a good one will snap your fingers as you try to bait it no less than 3 times, sending your brain into warp panic and your eyes flooded with tears! Once set, you still have the task of placing it in the desired spot without tripping it too. These seems to work ....at first. Our first kill was disgusting - but quick and easy.... I threw the entire thing away..trying not to look at it.

    The second trapping was a bit more adventurous. Promptly at 3:26AM I heard a loud SNAP. I immediately opened my eyes as my head flew up from the pillow. The following bangs and screams (from the mouse - not me) sent me flying down the hall and into the pantry. I found a screaming mouse jumping from one shelf to another and running in circles, dragging the trap behind him since his tail was the only part captured. I used what was readily handy....plastic Walmart bags (Many of them!) using them as a barrier and swooped the mouse up. I took a small screw driver with me and outside I went. Thankfully I was wearing a night gown, but it was very cold. No matter - all the way down the driveway I went, into the darkness of night to let my captor go. I dropped him out of the bunch of scrunched up bags and off he ran....with trap still in tow I went flying after him and stepped on the trap...more screaming (..this time by both of us) and with one flick of the screw driver - the mouse was free. Okay - 2 down..but I was pretty sure there was at least 1 more.

    Rebaiting the old trap and going back to the store to buy a few more, I could only find a newer version of the spring trap. This newer one had a larger bright yellow platform to place the bait on. No matter - I bought it anyway. It was easier to set and bait without getting injured and that made me happy. What I had not realized - was that mouse #3 had been patiently waiting on the sidelines and taking notes! He was going to be more of a challenge...

    Morning number 1, two traps still there, untripped..with the bait missing! "Wow - how did he do that?" I wondered. I reset them, this time really pressing the cheese onto the trap platform.

    Morning number 2, two traps still there, untripped..with the bait MISSING! "I can't believe this! Maybe there is something wrong with the traps!"I went to the store and found a new kind of spring trap that actually locks the mouse inside! I baited them and placed them into the pantry.

    Morning number 3, Two enclosed traps, untripped and untouched..

    Morning number 4, two enclosed traps, untripped and untouched... Obviously - the mouse did not approve! Back to the store to buy 1 more package of the old fashioned traps. I reset them, THIS TIME I super glued the bait onto the trap!"That will get the little shit!" Grinch smile creeping over my face!

    Morning number 5, two traps still there, UNTRIPPED AND EMPTY! "Can you believe this? "How could he have gotten the bait off of the platform when it was glued onto it??? That is it! We are going to use the big guns now!" I told Don to buy the sticky traps we had seen - but not wanted to resort to. He brought them home and Emily set them for me.

    Morning number 6, 2 sticky traps ...one with a sticky mouse stuck to it...screaming! I did not discover it until I was about to leave for work, so Don was going to try to get him unstuck and let him go in the woods.(he cannot stand any animal to suffer) 2 hours later I get a call from home. It was Don...with a screaming mouse in the background, poor Don was so stressed and unable to free the mouse. He himself was now stuck to the trap and trying to come up with more ideas. I could not come up with anything other than offering to sacrifice one of my spatulas so he could again try to get him off ....Don was not happy!

    Mouse memorial service tonight - 8PM..in the back yard!

  • #2

    That was a soap opera. You have my sympathy. I was at my neighbor's house shortly before last Christmas when her hubby walks into the room and announces there is a mouse looking at him from the ground level cabinet. I'm sure she didn't appreciate him announcing it with me there. Anyway, she said they had been having problems and didn't understand it since they have a couple of barn cats that patrol between the house and barn. She asked if I had any problems. Nope. I have 3 house cats. If a mouse is bold enough to come in, the cats sit and stare at the cabinet door (usually where the trash can is). I take the trash out and leave the door open for a day or two. The mouse either leaves or gets eaten. I usually don't know which but the problem resolves itself without action on my part.
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


    • #3
      I feel your pain!

      My morning mouse story...

      I prep the morning feed for my 4 beasties the night before. Each has their own 8qt bucket and I cover them with the bucket buddy velcro thingies (ordered from smartpak).

      This morning I strolled up to the barn in my robe (ahhh, the pleasure of living in BFE and keeping my horses at home) and went in the feed room. My trusty barn kitty Angus was by my side. I un-velcroed the cover on the first bucket and as I was lifting it off a mouse launched out of the bucket and attached himself to the shawl part of my robe. EEEEK to infinity!

      I am not a screamer and am generally not afraid of mice, but I freaked the f out!!! I was screeching and screaming and flinging feed and buckets. Meanwhile the cat stared up at me watching as the poor mouse detached himself from my robe and scurried away.

      Lord, I think I lost 10 years off my life!
      Animals are not disposable!!!


      • #4
        Have you tried using peanut butter as bait?


        • Original Poster

          I have used:
          Peanut Butter
          Grilled Cheese
          Lunch meat
          Sugar cookies!

          IOW - whatever was handy...and trust me - every one of them was mouse approved!


          • #6
            My barncat seems to be keeping the barn rodent population in check.
            And in nicer weather no problem inside the house.

            But once it gets chilly the fieldmice decide they will leave the barren fields for my house where they know a nice trash can will be waiting with all sorts of goodies. Kind of like Old Country Buffet for Varmints.
            Many evenings I open the door under the sink and surprise a "diner" - usually we both EEK! and mouse vanishes back down whatever crevice he emerged from.
            Sometimes they make the fatal error of "escaping" into the house, where housecat takes up the chase and then it's 50/50 as to whether the mouse finds another bolthole or the cat has Sushi.
            Last Winter housecat decimated an entire family - she spent one evening bringing me mouse after mouse - each one smaller than the next: Papa, Mama, Big Bro, Little Sis - they all were brought for my inspection and carried gingerly (by their tails - those little buggers bite!) to the front door where they entered the Cold Cruel World.

            equusvilla: I cannot use those sticky traps - they don't kill and leave me with the choice of A)dispatching the stuck mouse myself or B)putting trap & mouse into the trash. I am a coward and generally choose option B
            *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


            • #7
              The smart cousins of your smart mice live in my house. Or more correctly, liveD.

              Traps set....traps empty of bait and mice the next morning. For days and days and weeks...

              Know what bait started catching the little buggers? Feta cheese. It smears like peanut butter and must taste so good that they get less careful. I caught more mice than I care to admit to anyone. Yuck! Then bleached every surface in my kitchen!!!

              "Feta cheese. It's what's for mouse dinner."
              "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"


              • Original Poster

                Last Year's Mouse Story..

                So it was obvious we had another mouse...you know the signs:
                Little holes in things like pasta bags and cereal boxes.
                Small brown turds (can I say turds on this forum??)
                ...and they just smell..and they don't have to be dead to stink!

                Well - one evening I was taking a bath. I turned off the water and immediately heard a scratching noise. Our Corgi dog was sitting - starring with her head cocked to one side. This noise was coming from directly across the room, which is where our kitchen is. I jump out of the tub, didn't bother to dry myself instead opting to just use my robe as a makeshift towel. I quietly tip toe ...closer and closer I move towards the sound.

                Ewwwweee gross - it is coming from our untensil drawer!

                I quickly fling open the drawer. I still hear the scurring sound of mouse nails on wood, but I see nothing - why? because the plastic thingy that sits inside the drawer and holds your utensils in place is over the mouses circular race track. I jerk the plastic holder out of the drawer, utensils go flying...before I think about what I might use to actually catch the mouse.. and there the little stinker is..running around and around in circles inside the drawer! My eyes are following it as I just stand there (like an idiot) trying to decide what to do. Then with one lightening fast motion, the mouse leaps out of the drawer and actually runs down the face of my dishwasher.

                My trusty Corgi - Chrissy was standing right there and scooped the mouse up into her mouth. Yeah Chrissy!!!!! ..but sorry, you may not get any kisses for a really long time!

                I was so elated, I ran over to the door, flung it wide open and called her name.
                "Chriiiiiiissy, Come!"
                Excited, her eyes opened widely, she turned her head to the left, literly spit the mouse out and then she ran outside ...wiggleing her little Corgi tail might I add! and the mouse scampered underneath the refrigerator...

                I just stood there....soaking wet..with my mouth wide open...


                • #9
                  Mice and rats both learn and adapt extremely quickly. It's the main reason they're such a pest...next to impossible to trick for long.
                  Poison baits work because they don't kill the mouse immediately...there's no learning curve time. The mouse dies hours or even days later. But poison bait does have risks with pets around.
                  Do you have an indoor/apartment cat? They do an excellent job at keeping mouse sightings down inside the home. Ferrets also work well but they smell if not descented and then bathed on a regular basis. (they smell a bit like cat urine, but they're funny as hell to have around)
                  Or you can call an exterminator...I think they now have pet-friendly mouse killing techniques. Expensive option though.
                  I got a giggle out of your post though...not that *that* is any help to you. But I can sympathize...while I certainly wouldn't want mice running around my house I'm also incapable of being cold hearted for ones suffering caught in traps that don't instantly kill them. I'm the moron who would trap one and then rehab it.
                  There are Rat Zappers too...they kill mice and small to medium sized rats instantly and as long as you clean them out fast the other mice don't learn to avoid them too quickly.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • Original Poster

                    We actually do have 2 indoor cats..but they have to live in only part of our home since I am allergic.


                    • #11
                      Hell you guys are ahead of the game here. I have a freaking idiot cat that brings the filthy little rodents (live mind you) into the house and sets them free. Then she has a wonderful time playing with them for days. (note to self: nail cat door shut . . .soon)

                      Last weekend I was standing at the top of the stairs with the dogs (useless beasts) and the cat (even more useless beast) watching one of the little suckers boink from stair to stair all the way down to the living room. Last seen scurrying under the sofa. (still haven't caught the sucker!) Not one of them even chased it!!! They are unatural creatures my pets.

                      So what does kitty do. She goes out and catches another one for upstairs fun.

                      She finally killed the thing about 3 nights ago. How did we know. . . cause the dogs were standing on our heads (2:00 a.m.) terrified of the little dead mousy on the master bathroom floor. I have a 70 pound irish setter and a 75 pound gordon setter. What's wrong with this picture I ask you???????? The mice she brings in are micro mice, they are sooo small. But dang she gets tons of fun out of them. My life is wierd.
                      Last edited by Brookes; Dec. 19, 2008, 03:29 PM. Reason: i type too fast?
                      Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!


                      • #12
                        I discovered a tiny, oh so cute field mouse in my pantry one night...only to end up catching too many to confess to, not long after. Got them with the sticky boards which I guess is a really horrible way to die.

                        In the beginning I found my son was taking them to the end of the driveway and releasing them (probably without half their skin!). I had to tell him that now we just had mice with dirty sticky feet running through the house!
                        "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


                        • #13
                          Our exterminator told me the best way to release a mouse from a sticky trap (I don't use them they are to cruel) is vegetable oil.


                          • #14
                            Perhaps bucket traps would work for you.

                            Take 5 gallon bucket--the tall, narrow kind. Place a 2x4 ramp up to the top of the bucket. Put bait inside bucket.

                            Mice jump down to get bait, can't jump out.

                            If you want to kill them, add water. () If you want to let them go, take the bucket outside.

                            I have pet mice, and this is how I get my escapees back (happens every now and then...) The other thing you can do is place cotton balls soaked with peppermint essential oil around the house, especially where they're coming in. Mice hate the smell of peppermint.


                            • #15
                              Put of a bucket with a ramp up. They run up fall in and can not get out. If you would like to kill them add a 3-4"+ of water if not just take the bucket outside once you have them.
                              www.gypsystoychest.com Adult Toys and Home partys


                              • #16

                                I love mice. The poor things. I too have a stupid mouse saga going on right now. I keep my grain in a large chest freezer, that has no power going to it. One day I forgot to shut the lid, and somehow a mouse (obviously 2 mice or opposing genders!) got into it and I did not know it. I figure they got in because there was a bag of alfalfa cubes leaned up against the freezer. They must have climbed the cubes and dropped over into the freezer. (This thing is 4 feet deep.) They tunneled to the bottom of the grain. I feed VERY little grain - just a couple cups a day - so this grain bin just stays pretty much undisturbed.

                                I started noticing hulls on top of the grain and got very suspicious. So I started scooping the grain out. After about 2 scoops, mice were running EVERYWHERE. I swear to god there is more than 100 mice in my grain bin!!!!!

                                Well, obviously I cannot feed that grain! So I went and bought new, and put it into rubbermaid tubs with lids. It's the dead of winter here and we have 14" of snow on the ground. I cannot just free them in the woods, they'll die! So I put a water dish in there, and I clean it and refill it every day.

                                My husband told me to just drop a smoke bomb in there and shut the lid, come back in a few hours and scoop out all the grain and the dead bodies, and chuck it all on the compost pile.

                                Oh SURE. A mouse holocaust. Like THAT won't haunt me for the rest of my life.

                                So now I'm running a mouse farm until spring when I can turn them loose in the woods.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post

                                  So now I'm running a mouse farm until spring when I can turn them loose in the woods.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Brookes View Post
                                    Hell you guys are ahead of the game here. I have a freaking idiot cat that brings the filthy little rodents (live mind you) into the house and sets them free. Then she has a wonderful time playing with them for days. (note to self: nail cat door shut . . .soon)

                                    Last weekend I was standing at the top of the stairs with the dogs (useless beasts) and the cat (even more useless beast) watching one of the little suckers boink from stair to stair all the way down to the living room. Last seen scurrying under the sofa. (still haven't caught the sucker!) Not one of them even chased it!!! They are unatural creatures my pets.

                                    So what does kitty do. She goes out and catches another one for upstairs fun.

                                    She finally killed the thing about 3 nights ago. How did we know. . . cause the dogs were standing on our heads (2:00 a.m.) terrified of the little dead mousy on the master bathroom floor. I have a 70 pound irish setter and a 75 pound gordon setter. What's wrong with this picture I ask you???????? The mice she brings in are micro mice, they are sooo small. But dang she gets tons of fun out of them. My life is wierd.

                                    Our Irish Setter used to sniff out baby bunny nests, and then carry the teenie baby bunnies home one at a time! We were constantly having to bottle feed and then release these bunnies!


                                    • #19
                                      My working student who lives in our barn apartment has been in a battle with mice this winter also. She has this trap that lets the mouse enter the box to get the bait an then it electrocutes them. She refuses to empty it and I have to do it for her! I have not been present for the execution of an unlucky mouse but she says they sometimes "scream." To say the least it is an unpleasant thing to have to deal with. I'm about to borrow her trap and put it in my kitchen...I have them in my house also.

                                      One of my worse mouse experiences was opening the feed bin and having a crazed terrified mouse leap out at me and nearly hit me in the face. I fell over backward in fright and startlement. Killing the mouse was quite an adventure that my Stepfather took on as it jumped and leaped at everyone. I kind of felt sorry for it...it was a fighter.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                                        So now I'm running a mouse farm until spring when I can turn them loose in the woods.
                                        You do realize that they will all be back next winter with their offspring to live on the bounty of your farm?