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#78407 - 07/30/06 09:41 PM Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I need some help! We are having a rodent infestation and the mice and rats are too smart for the hidden traps. We caught a few young ones, but no adults which are the breeders! They are all inside of our sheds, coops, doghouses, pens, and house! I walk into the shed or coops and I can just feel them walking over me. I also hear the rustling and think a snake is watching me. We have had problems with snakes in the past and don't want to relive it!

We won't use rat or mice bait as my birds will find the dead mice and eat them. This would poison my birds..and well, I don't want that! I have been wondering about a cat. We have NEVER owned a cat, and were curious that if we got one young enough that was raised with young birds, if it would be peaceful with our birds? It will not be kept inside but inside of the chicken coop at night. This should keep it safe from the snakes who are inside the shed because of our lovely mice crop. The mice are also eating some of the feathers on my birds. I have some birds that like to sleep on the coop floor, and the mice have left bite marks on the wing and tail feathers.

I don't want to lose another bird to the snakes either and I'm sure that once the mice population is taken care of, the snake will leave or turn to the eggs. Killing snakes I can do, but there are too many mice for just me!

Would a kitten or two help to take care of the mice population once they have grown? Or should I just get a grown cat, or is there another way to deal with this? I read on here about using a rat-zapper, but don't want to take extreme measures. I would also not want to use the glue traps as a rabbit could get caught in there and I'd feel absolutely horrible! Or a wild quail which also like to stay in the shed. Has anyone had any luck with cats in the shed?

Thanks for any help! My nerves thank you too!

Mikaela

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#78408 - 07/31/06 05:42 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Absolutely get cats! That's my recommendation. I will never live in the country without cats. I am surrounded here by hundreds of acres of pasture, some woods, old barns, total mouse land and I have never seen even ONE in my garage, house, shed.

Also, the sticky traps can be placed inside a box, with openings cut for the rodents, but not large enough for a rabbit and a bird would have no interest. Or you can put sticky traps up high, so rabbits wouldn't be an issue.

These rodents are a hazard to your birds, for sure. I'd be getting aggressive with that ASAP. A kitten who is several weeks old can hunt, believe me. I have no problems with my cats and my chickens. None at all. I do, however, protect my tiny chicks from them, so I have a way to keep chicks enclosed from cats. Beyond that, once they feather out, my cats are not interested at all. Getting a kitten or two and exposing them to the chickens right away should work well. The chickens will teach it a lesson if need be.

Good luck!

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#78409 - 07/31/06 05:50 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Twin Oaks Farm Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 229
Loc: Louisiana
Definitely get a couple of cats. Same sex, unless you want a lot more. Mine doesn't try anything with even the juveniles, but Susie is right about protecting the chicks. Just like you have to protect them from everything else.

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#78410 - 07/31/06 06:42 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Rhova Offline
Chicken

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 124
Loc: Canada
Get a kitten, 10-12 weeks old, and get a female. Please spay her before she hits 6 months or she'll be having babies while she's still a baby! Females are better hunters, and will stick to the job better than males will. Males will roam unless you snip them too, and spray. If you can get a kitten from another farm, or a local racetrack, that will be your best bet for a mouser and ratter, house-raised or humane society kittens don't do as well as those born in a place the job is a daily affair - they learn it from mum from a very early age.

My best ratter at the race track killed at least a dozen rats a night by the time she was 5 months old. I had a horse barn on the turnout farm infested with mice, and picked up a pair of kittens that had been dumped, within a couple weeks no mice eating the feed bags!

To keep them working, as kittens feed high quality food but only enough that they eat it all from one day to the next. I put down food in the morning so they turn up and I know they are ok, and if the food dish goes empty through the day I'll fill it. If it isn't empty and licked clean by the next morning, I'll cut the food back by a little bit until it is. They get all the food and nutrients they need to grow and be healthy this way, but will still be hungry enough to go hunting. Adults, I put down food through the day, but none at night, if it isn't gone by end of evening chores I pick it up, and put it back down again in the morning for them. Good luck in finding a good kitten! A good mouser/ratter is worth their weight in gold.
_________________________
Elaine

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#78411 - 07/31/06 06:55 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I totally agree with the suggestion to get a female and definitely, definitely have her spayed! The expense with that will come back to you in spades with the rodent control. I also agree with keeping her fed. A lot of people think you don't want to feed a barn cat, but the best mouser is one who has enough food and water to have the energy to WANT to go hunting. You don't want them fat and lazy, but you want them to eat well. My cats don't eat their kill very often anyway. Mostly they bring dead ones to me for my approval - eeek, but better than the alternative. My property is basically rodent-free and my cats have to leave for the bordering property's abandoned barn and falling-down ancient chicken house to hunt. The girls are worth their weight in gold to me.

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#78412 - 07/31/06 01:09 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
If my dad says it's alright, I will hopefully be getting one. I want it to be white so that I can distinguish it from the background in the shed and make sure I can see it if it's in a tree. I'm thinking a female also as they don't tend to roam as much, and I would DEFINATELY spay or neuter it. I don't want to take the chance on more kittens than our neighborhood needs!

I have a plan of attack, would you guys comment on it for me? I would prefer that the kitten sleeps in the coop at night to keep the rodent population down in there, then, as it gets older, it can roam freely, but here's the plan for the youngster. I have a pen with young birds approx. 7 weeks old, fully feathered. I'm wanting to put the kitten in there during the day, and during the evening hours, put it inside of a pet carrier in the full-grown chicken coop. I would repeat this for awhile until I'm sure the kitten could take care of itself for food and shelter. Does this plan sound alright? We have PLENTY of rodents in al the pens, and the geese will keep the kitten away from their house, so I'm not worried about that. This would give the kitten a safe place to get away from the cockerels and pullets, while being protected from the "outside world" by a chain-link fence that goes up 7 feet and has a covering. Thanks! I'll try to get dad's approval for this. I just see no way around it...we have them in the house for gosh sake! I had one push over a box last night and scared the begeesh out of me!

Mikaela

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#78413 - 07/31/06 01:14 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
Hey Mikaela,

We had really bad mice as well in my dads barn and we got a kitten when it was about 8 weeks old and placed it in the barn. She did great and really never left the barn all that much except at night. I don't know how others will feel about this but our cat hardly ever killed mice because we fed her dry cat food. She may have killed one while playing with it accidentely but not enough to keep the mice population down.

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#78414 - 07/31/06 02:30 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
What makes you think it's because you fed her dry cat food, Oakie? Mine have eaten nothing but dry cat food since day 1 and they have as much as they want each day, and they bring back dead or half dead mice daily. What you need is a kitten who was trained my its mother cat to go for mice. When I let mine have a litter or two way back when, they were bringing live prey in to their kittens constantly. Those are the best mousers. Food, or food choices, have nothing to do with it.

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#78415 - 07/31/06 04:34 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Well, I got a kitten! I went to this woman's house, and she told me the mother had never taught the kittens how to catch mice. Well, for some reason, she had a hamster, in it's cage, in the room with the cats. I walked in, one kitten came to me, then ran to the hamster cage, and attempted to pounce on the hamster. I said, "I want that one!" She just turned 8 weeks old, about the same age as my newly hatched chicks! I put her in the pen, and she's a little freaked out. My little Minorca chick was the most curious and walked right up to her, looked at her, then went and got some water. The kitten is now asleep in the pen with my 7 week old chicks. I thought about getting 2 kittens, but I don't want to take the chance of them acting like they are going to attack the little chicks I have. Newly hatched babies are going to be completely out of the cat's reach, so I'm not worried about that. The chicks are about to move into the bigger pen as not all of them are able to move around comfortably. I don't get it, the place is big enough for 4 full-sized geese, but not 17 chicks. Who knew?!

I'm just not sure how to feed her. I have NEVER had a cat before and am so scared I'm gonna do something wrong! Does having the scent of a cat around deter mice? I bet not huh? If that were the case, we would have no mice anywhere because of my neighbor's cat.

Is there anything special I need to do to make this work?

Mikaela

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#78416 - 07/31/06 06:31 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Just get her some dry kitten food and in a few weeks, get her a rabies shot and have her spayed.

It is said that cat poop will deter rodents. Same principle as what people do in their gardens to help keep deer out. Does it work? Some swear by it and some say it's bull, but eventually she'll mark her territory and it sure can't hurt.

Have fun with your new baby and give her a good name! My barn cat is "Barnie" - original, huh? LOL!

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