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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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#78417 - 07/31/06 06:41 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Rhova Offline
Chicken

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 124
Loc: Canada
Get her some kitten food, handle her every day, pick her up and tell her you love her, and play with her! Teaching her to chase string, paper etc. will help teach her hunting skills, and if she brings you a dead or dying critter (and she will), praise her! I know its gross, but praise her for it. Rabies shots, vet checkup, occasional worming, and lots o'love with a steady supply of kitten food will make her a good cat smile

Honestly, most animals are pretty similar to keep - if they look unwell, they probably are. If they look unhappy, they probably are. If you supply shelter, food, water and TLC, they will thrive, esp with lots of TLC! The first 3 keep them alive, love and caring keeps them whole and wanting to be with you.
_________________________
Elaine

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#78418 - 07/31/06 09:02 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jeep Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 477
Loc: California
Cats are wonderful, but when you live on a ranch, you also risk the chance of some other wild animal getting them, and if they are also a pet, it's pretty tough losing them. I've lost two really good hunters, one I had for about 13 years. I have two left and the other 4 have become indoor kitties, because I'm afraid to lose them. There are traps, and I mentioned the brand name a long time ago here on another post. They are the best when you have other animals to be concerned about. It's kind of like the "Roach Motel" idea. The mice go in, and they can't get out. I put one in a tack/feed room, and managed to get every mouse that came in. Try to find the name out if you can. They really do work well. I think I saw them at Miner's (ACE) Hardware.
If you are have squirrels, there is poison you can put down the holes.
Now...I do have a cat that is the best hunter!! Boy, if I could rent out Okie, I could make a bundle. I have accidently left her in the day yard of the coop, where there have been little teeny, tiny baby quail, and in the morning found her at the gate, with a look like , "Mom, you know I wouldn't even go there"! I have also inadvertently left her locked up with the pigeons, and she has never touched one...not even a baby.

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#78419 - 07/31/06 10:33 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Well, luckily we don't live on a ranch. Just a 2.5 acre area just past the turnpike. It's just outside of city limits, so we are allowed to keep any sort of farm animal. We are trying to keep it that way! We haven't really lost very many birds to predators other than snakes. It's the snakes that drive me insane! We have dogs surrounding our house on all sides thanks to the neighbors! And we believe that is the reason we don't really have to deal with raccoons and opossums. There are plenty of places for the kitten to hide if need be, but I doubt anything will try to get her other than a snake. I also think it's been too hot for the black rat snakes to move, so I think the danger is clear for that one this year. They should have already been out by now.

My worst fear is my neighbor's not so friendly cat. If I find that thing chasing my birds one more time...the cat is dead. I told me neighbor about it, and she said if I catch it doing it again, shoot it. She has a great tolerance for my birds, and enjoys the eggs I give her! Anyway, Susie, her name is Tinkerbell. Her nickname..which we'll most likely call her by is Tink Tink.

I put her out in the pen, she was scared, but not as scared as the chicks were of her. The geese don't like her much, but tolerate her, and she was keeping them from their coop, so I put her inside of the rabbit hutch under lock and key for the night. I don't want to chance it.

I'll try and find the mice version of that motel. It would definately work in the house! Too many for the trap in the shed though. You can hear them breathing in there! I swear! Thanks for all of your help guys!

I'm gonna take her to the vet tomorrow and get shots and worming done. Probably gonna start her on heartworm too, but cats are less prone to getting them. She's on Purina Kitten formula and hopefully will grow into a nice large cat...that won't have kittens!
Thank you all! I will keep you posted on how the mousing is going. If you have any more ideas for inside the house mouse-killing, please, let me know!

Mikaela

p.s. We finally caught a mouse in a glue trap, and we went to go kill it, and within the five minutes it took us in getting a drowning bucket ready, the mouse escaped. At least the glue trap works for spiders!

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#78420 - 07/31/06 10:52 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Karen Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/20/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
You can teach your kitten to hunt. Bring it moth's to start with. If the moth fly's away before the kitten can get it pull off one wing (sorry if I'm offending anyone), this will build interest & confidence. Grasshoppers are good "prey" too.

We also put dry cat food out in the daytime and take it back in at night. If you leave cat or dog food out all night you will attract raccoons & skunks.

Karen
_________________________
Karen

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#78421 - 07/31/06 11:12 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jeep Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 477
Loc: California
I'll tell you, that cat (most cats) will end up being afraid of the birds. Just sit out there and watch awhile. Course if there are babies around, you may have to intervene, but most hens can scare a cat real easy, especially if they have babies! The neighbors' cat needs one peck and I'll bet it will give a wide berth to the chickens after that. Once Okie knew about the chicks, I never had to teach her about any babies, even the baby quail. She has instinctively known what is Mom's and what isn't. Great Cat!! I think most of the major hardware stores would have that trap. I will be going by my local hardware store soon, so I will try and remember to check on the traps.
Be sure your cat is checked for feline leukemia.

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#78422 - 08/01/06 09:54 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Just got her vaccinated for the feline leukemia, distemper, and wormed. I just have to wait a month to get her booster shot. Since there are other cats around, I thought it would be for the best. I have noticed that the kitten is VERY afraid of the younger birds, yet not even scared by the older birds. The older birds just look at her, and my little pullet, Fancy, was the most curious. She went and looked at her, then walked away. The kitten won't be left alone with the birds full-time until I'm sure she can fend for herself if she gets into the shed without supervision.

Do the cats generally stay within the barn area? Or should you keep them enclosed in one area until they become adjusted? I found something out. Tinkerbell likes beef and gravy soft food. I don't dare give her chicken or any of my other animals chicken flavored food. Anyway, she started making these "Yum-yum-yum-yummy" sounds every time I fed her some of the gravy. It was too cute! I'll have to tape it some time to prove it!

Since I just vaccinated her, should I leave her cooped up for a few days to let her readjust and keep her away from the birds? She is in close proximity to the birds, but not in the pen with them. She is in a rabbit hutch outside of the pen. The separate compartment hutches are approx. 4'X 4'X 3'. It's rather large and I usually keep my birds in there, but is it alright to keep her in there? Will she still become accustomed to the birds without being in direct contact with them?

Thanks!
Mikaela

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#78423 - 08/01/06 10:50 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
jrsygntbrdr1:

Let me understand this. You have snakes large enough to eat an adult chicken? Or even a small chicken? I know snakes exist, but around here they don't get that big. They'd have a hard time taking on a fat mouse, let alone a chicken. Gross!!

We have a live mouse trap that is used in food production facilities. Like a metal shoebox with a hole in the side. Since mice like to move along the outside edge of a room, you place the trap against a wall. When the mouse hits the trap, he feels his way for the first opening, which is the hole in the side of the trap that is triggered. When he steps on the wheel thingy, it sweeps him inside the trap.

Unlike the snap traps, this one can work over and over again, all night long. We've left ours out for two days and found as many as 9 mice in it. Oddly, they are all dead. We think that many mice in a small area fight and kill each other. No other idea why they would die in so short a time. You open the lid, dump the mice out, rewind and set it out again and it sweeps them up. Works great. Of course, you only need to know this if your cat turns out to be a vegetarian laugh

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#78424 - 08/02/06 01:10 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Pekin Nut Offline
Chicken

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 142
Loc: South Africa
The other option is to get a Fox Terrier or a Schiperke these dogs make good rat and mice controllers.A friend who breeds parrots has also had good results from cats.

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#78425 - 08/02/06 04:31 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Mikaela,

Keep your kitten safe for the time being. She's too young, and has no mom to teach her what to avoid and where to stay. My cats wander off my property but never to the side of the house where the road is. They head out into the neighbor's pasture to hunt in his abandoned barns. You are teaching Tink that the barn area is home base for her. Feed and water her there and let her get acquainted with the area and she will return there after she journies out a bit later on. She will wander some. Please make plans for spaying before she could get pregnant. A female cat will seek out a male so even if you don't think there are any around, your cat will disappear and come home in a couple of weeks, fat.

I think everything will work out fine. She won't stay in the barn 24/7 if there's a way out for her, and you want that anyway since you probably don't want her pooping in there. But if you continue to feed her in there, she will call it home and she'll be around enough to bring the rodent population way down in a hurry.

Don't worry about chicken flavored foods.

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#78426 - 08/02/06 09:11 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
You all have had very different outcomes than I did. Lacey is our barn cat and occasionally will bring in baby rabbits that she has killed. She has had four litters of kittens and we recently had her spayed. We feed her dry cat food and she loves it. I know she can hunt, it is the fact that most predatory animals don't kill for the fun of it. They hunt when they are hungry or if they need to feed babies. Lacey doesn't hunt if she isn't hungry. We feed her everyday and I can catch a mouse and let it go right in front of her and she will play with it for a while and either drops it in her waterer or lets it go. I would never do this, but I guarantee that if I stopped feeding her she would be hunting and killing every mouse on our place. She is my pet so I feed her and I would be sick if I lost her. She also has never even looked at my chickens or chicks. I only live about 35 minutes from Mikaela so I know about the snakes she is talking about. They will rarely eat a whole chicken. Mostly eggs and maybe small chicks if it can. I lifted up an old board we had in the back of the barn and I will bet 35 mice were underneath it with babies and all. I knew Lacey wouldn't mess with them so I brought in my rat terrier and she caught up three or four of them and swallowed them down. If you have mice like we did then it will take more than one cat to clean them out. My dad is sick so I have had to get rid of his chikens on the farm. I went down and placed mouse poison all over the ground of the pens and I mean four or five boxes full. I went down the next morning and it was all gone. I have found several dead mice now and am hoping for many more. Lacey now lives up at the house and is retired from being a mouser. She makes a much better house cat anyway.

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#78427 - 08/02/06 09:35 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Rhova Offline
Chicken

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 124
Loc: Canada
I agree that if a cat isn't hungry, it won't hunt, but they still need to be fed. Cat food gives them other dietary nutrition, and keeps them in good hunting form. A kitten needs food to grow and be strong enough to mouse. As I said before, I made sure the kittens had enough for the day, and the bowl was licked clean by morning or I cut food a little bit, and an adult cat only had dry food down during the day, not at night. My cats kept my barns mouse and rat free.

And you don't need to worry about chicken flavoured food, they won't make that association. Hope all goes well, sounds like you're doing just fine smile
_________________________
Elaine

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#78428 - 08/02/06 10:07 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Seedy Seeds Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 08/29/05
Posts: 240
Loc: Massachusetts
Place traps against & along the wall .Mice run along walls.
Tie kite well string through the bait hook ,fuzz the ends and work in hamburg ,let it dry . This will stop bait stealers. Plug holes with stealwool and plaster when they make them . wink good luck . :p .

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#78429 - 08/02/06 10:19 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Anonymous
Unregistered


The first step I would suggst is to make the place as non-rodent 'friendly' as possible. Unless you eliminate what's drawing the rodents in (food, water & shelter) you'll always have a rodent problem...

Make sure all your feed is safely stored in rodent-proof (gnaw-proof metal trashcans are great!) containers, and try to eliminate all hiding spots. Clean up any spilled feed right away-- don't leave any on the ground (especially at night) as this is what draws rodents in. Don't leave eggs or broken eggshells laying around, either (rodents and other varmints LOVE eggs).

Snakes are drawn to the smell of rodents, and are excellent rodent-killers. I never kill snakes, as they do a fantastic job eating mice (plus I like snakes and know most of them are completely harmless species).

As far as poisons go, there are some on the market that have little chance of secondary poisoning (unintentional poisoning of other species that might eat the dead rat/mouse).

Traps like a TinCat work very well, and will not harm your birds. Livetraps baited with bacon and peanut butter also work for rats (they make all kinds of sizes).

The biggest problem with cats is keeping them around. I know most of the farmers around here can't keep enough barn cats to control the rodents, because coyotes LOVE eating cats. They'll catch, kill and eat *every* cat they find...and they're bold enough to come right into town, grab a quick kitty-snack and bolt for the hills.

Here's a couple of links that might be useful:

http://www.pctonline.com/articles/article.asp?Id=111&SubCatID=12&CatID=3
http://www.fao.org/docrep/T1838E/T1838E1l.htm
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/213000.htm

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#78430 - 08/02/06 02:51 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
uno, yes. I had recently received 2 standard Minorca pullets a few years back, and was counting on them for breeders. They were about 5 months old. I went into the pen a few weeks later, and found the pullets strangled on the ground. The larger one was killed, had saliva halfway down her body, then had been spit out because her shoulders and frame were too large to swallow. The other pullet was being eaten as I walked up there. It was too late for her, and I killed the snake when I saw it. The main eaters of my chickens are black rat snakes. For some reason, we grow them big. Where one snake is, there are others. Sure enough, we went and moved stuff around in the barn and we found 2 six-footers, 1 seven-footer and 2 eight-footers. They not only eat my eggs, they kill my birds. Anything that kills my birds is a goner, so we constantly try to keep them away.

We have found one very useful way to keep snakes out. Strawberry netting fixed loosely around the coops helps to catch these would be killers and egg-eaters before they get a chance to get inside. It's just that now the rodents are my main concern. They can spread disease rapidly...especially distemper and/or rabies. If they bite or scratch my birds legs, combs, or any exposed area, I could have a rabies at large. The birds could also eat a disease infested rodent and get sick and die. I just can't afford that loss right now.

Molly, we have a huge old chest freezer that we keep out feed in. We use a screen to cover the opening for defrosting to keep mice out. We rarely find mice in there. That's why we believe we're seeing them more and more often in the coops and on the grounds. The feeders we use are hovering 4 inches above the ground and allow all the birds proper feeding. Apparently the mice are able to jump in though and eat as much as their heart desires! We use constant waterers raised above the ground again, and hopefully the cat will help!

Mikaela

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#78431 - 08/02/06 09:41 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oh no! I just thought of something! Will she be alright out in storms? She is sheltered, but since she had never been outside of a house until I got her, will the storm be a little "too" new to her? Should I put her someplace...like the garage or something for the storms? I don't want her being frightened of every storm that comes through. Will she be alright in a covered rabbit hutch? Or should I put a pet-carrier in there for her to hide in, or should I just take her into another area for her first outside storm?

Mikaela

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#78432 - 08/03/06 06:13 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Twin Oaks Farm Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 229
Loc: Louisiana
I'd put a carrier or some sort of container out there for her, and I'd depend on her instincts to enable her to cope with her environment. She'll be a lot tougher than you imagine. Otherwise, keep her inside and forget your work-cat idea. It'll be too hard on you.

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#78433 - 08/03/06 06:44 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I agree, give her a crate and shove an old towel in it or something. She'll be just fine. One of my cats begs to come inside during storms. The other three end up taking shelter under our storage building (even though they have other, better, shelter options. They figure it all out.

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#78434 - 08/03/06 11:29 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Karen Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/20/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Good idea about getting a rat terrier.

My mother used to have a fox terrier. He was the most annoying dog I ever saw, lol. He barked at everything, a lot! Rain, birds, clouds but he was expert at catching & killing lizards & mice. He was very bold & fearless for a small dog.

Terriers were originally bred to get rid of vermin like mice & rat that were around stables. I wonder if they would kill snakes too? I've had cats catch and kill snakes but your snakes sound too big for a cat.

What ever you do it will take a while to see results because you have so many. Good luck.

Karen
_________________________
Karen

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#78435 - 08/04/06 01:16 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Actually, since we have allowed the kitten out while we're outside. She's been scent marking and pooing at places. I've seen quite a change in the mice. They're not nearly as outrageous as they were. They hide alot more, and I've seen noticeably less. It's really odd. I thought it would take quite awhile before I even saw a rodent run from her, but she is already stalking her fake mouse toys.

We already have too many dogs at our house. We have 2 labradors and 1 poodle. Definately no more dogs are allowed here! Pogo, the poodle, barks at absolutely everything and is very fond of mice toys. I picked up a fake one at the store, and he attacked it with a vengeance!

We put some of the traps along the walls and under hay and places like that...still haven't caught anything. The traps aren't even touched by the mice. Too much food elsewhere I suspect.

Mikaela

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#78436 - 08/04/06 02:11 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Twin Oaks Farm Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 229
Loc: Louisiana
What are you using to bait the traps? It may sound odd, but we've had success in the past with a small (marble-sized) piece of caramel with some peanut butter smeared on it. They can't dislodge it very easily (but some have done it!) without springing the trap. This works for mouse and rat traps. Always make sure your animals can't get hurt by the traps. You know what they say about cats and curiosity . . .

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#78437 - 08/04/06 03:01 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
We've used peanut butter, bacon, french fries, sometimes a little bit of cheese with ketcup on it...but usually the last one doesn't work. We've had the greatest success with bacon. I forgot one! Stink bait! We've used stink bait on the traps before and it worked great. These rats/mice are just too smart for us and the traps! I didn't even think about the kitten getting caught! I doubt she will though, these traps are placed in very, very small spaces where I've seen rodent droppings. I can't reach up to the roof, so I can't even imagine how many are up there!

Mikaela

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#78438 - 08/04/06 11:32 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Karen Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/20/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
jrsygntbrdr1,

I don't know if your father would go for it, but 2 female kittens would work very well for a number of reasons.

2 would double the amount of mice caught, they would give each other courage, comfort & hunt together too.

A cardboard box works very well for a little house. Corrugated cardboard is warm. Get one that has a top & bottom that fit together, like a orange box. Cut a hole in it & put a towel or blanket piece and Tink can crawl in & be cozy.

Karen
_________________________
Karen

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#78439 - 08/05/06 07:33 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
NW Chix Offline
Chicken

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 93
Loc: Washington
I've had success with scented mousetraps that you don't have to bait. They do catch mice with much less hassle. While the live traps can catch more mice at a time, I'd rather they be dead before I get there (although I have had to put a few out of their misery.) The trap is in our barn area just outside the coop near the wall. I put an old rubbermaid type dishpan over it. The mice can get under it, but I don't have to worry about a loose chicken getting hurt.

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#78440 - 08/07/06 06:31 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Silly Goose Offline
Chicken

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 127
Loc: Wisconsin
Two Words: Rat Bait! Just make sure your animals don't get into it! wink

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#78441 - 08/07/06 06:32 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Silly Goose Offline
Chicken

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 127
Loc: Wisconsin
You could also use a have-a-heart trap. They work great, just put an egg or some peanut butter. Rats love it!

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#78442 - 08/07/06 12:40 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
sillygoose, I'm not going to use rat bait because my birds like to eat the mice they catch. If the mice are eating the bait, then it could eventually poison my birds who would catch and eat, or just find and eat the dead mouse/rat. It would sort of defeat the purpose! LOL! We've tried those "Have a Heart" traps where the door opens one way, but not the other so the mouse can't get it. In order for it to work, the mouse has to be dumber than the trap. Apparently, our mice are not only big, but geniuses!

We found out something today! We know where our eggs have been going! No snakes, but I just figured the birds were either eating their own eggs, or accidentally stepping on them. Nope! A huge rat had been getting into the coop, and biting into the eggs. Then, the hens would accidentally step on the empty eggs and give me the evidence that they had broken their own eggs! At least now I know who has been breaking the eggs!

Mikaela

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#78443 - 08/07/06 03:29 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
John in WA Offline
Chick

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Washington
take some fencing material and section off a part if the coop and lay some posion pellets along the wall. Just a little so that it is all gone by morning. continue this until some is left in the morning.

I had a huge problem last fall/winter. Posion was the only way to stop it. they were to fast/smart for traps. (both live and snap kind).

Most rats will take the poison back to the den. I found very few out in the open that were dead and my birds left them alone.

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#78444 - 11/26/06 07:38 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Took me awhile to refind this one! I wanted to give an update on my cat. She is now 5 months old, and small for her age. She is getting fat and has killed multiple squirrels and sparrows. I've also found bones from small mammals...and have seen her pouncing in the chicken pen at night. I'm so happy! Now if we could only let her in the house to kill the ones in there! Thanks goodness for Labradors in the house for that one!

Only problem is that she sees it as her mission in life to "JUMP" at the chickens. She never touches them, but likes to jump at them and watch them fly above her head. The only bird that doesn't jump is my old Production Red hen that likes to "fight" Tinkerbell. Should I be worried about Tinkerbell jumping at the birds. It's mostly the Minorcas and the youngsters she likes to jumps at...but she never touches them. She also likes to see the Brahma cockerel jump. It's sort of funny if you watch for awhile.

Even though she has had plenty of chances to kill chicks because they have been outside of the pen, she has never even chased the babies. Only the big birds that can fly. She's a very odd cat...she also likes to take dustbaths just like the chickens and I have YET to see her groom herself!

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#78445 - 11/27/06 05:39 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Maybe she thinks she is a chicken. I have one cat who definitely thinks she's a dog. LOL!

She's a risk to chicks, but I'm betting the rest of what you describe isn't a problem. I think at her age, she's just fascinated and playing. It's hard to say for sure though, via cyberspace. My cats LOVE to watch the chicks. They'll sit there fascinated like they're watching their own special version of Cat TV. But once my birds get to be about 8 weeks old, the cats have access to them, and all I have ever seen is them watching. Once the birds are older, they're bored with it. But I'm sure age is a factor with your kitty. She's still very young and at a very playful stage. I'd keep an eye on her, for sure, but I'm betting it's all okay.

I'm glad to hear an update and it's nice to know she's doing her job out there!

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#78446 - 11/27/06 06:27 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Rack Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 384
Loc: Virginia
My grandmother had a black snake that hung out in front of the chicken coop.
She would put a saucer of milk down for it daily it stayed around and ate the mice not messing with the eggs or chicks...
I have a large black snake we named George. He's about 6 feet long. We have lots of mice, hawks, owls...
I don't want to poison because I know it will get back to our dogs...
sticky traps never worked for me.

I'm scared if I get a cat my husky will kill it.

I did however get a trap and put poison in it that would keep the mice inside, but my dog broke into it and ate some of the poison.

Still trying to figure out what to do.

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#78447 - 11/27/06 09:11 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I've never had a dog harrass a cat if the cat came to our family as a kitten. I think most animals understand "babies" to some degree. My Great Dane is best buddies with our cats. They all snuggle with him - even the ones we can barely manage to touch! Yet this same dog will chase down a stray cat or fight a stray dog who comes into the yard. Anyway, just my experience, for what that's worth.

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#78448 - 11/29/06 10:34 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Get a rat zapper. A little costly but well worth it. You have to reset it each time you get one. Just dump the rat out and flip the switch. cake.

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#78449 - 11/29/06 02:15 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Our poodle absolutely HATES the cat. I have no clue why, as he is inside and she is outside! mottledchick...what is a rat zapper? Is it a trap of some sort?

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#78450 - 11/29/06 03:19 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's a small box-shape thing that when a rat walks in, it steps on a plate and I guessed gets electrocuted. I can't remember the exact science behind it but that's the general idea. Then you turn it off, dump the rat out, and turn it back on.

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#78451 - 11/29/06 08:32 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Hennie Mavis Offline
Chicken

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 127
Loc: New Hampshire
Boy, how did I miss the chance to sing cat praises? We have an indoor & an outdoor cat, never the twain shall meet (both males, itching to fight each other). But we are VERY rodent-free, thank you very much to the both of them. Wallace, the outdoor cat, kills an unbelievable number of rodents espec. this time of year. In fact, our driveway & doorstep start to reek from so many dead that I must go 'round every so often with a spade to flip the carcasses into a distant shrub. Yet I have never seen him get one in the coop or henyard -- they never make it in, I suspect, as I have never seen a single turd or evidence of any kind. He is awesome!

Because of Wallace's thorough outdoor patrol, Foster, the indoor cat, rarely gets a chance to exercise his mousing authority -- but when duty calls, he delivers! Neither cat eats their prey, which I'm glad, as I save on feline wormer. And best of all, Wallace communes nicely with the hens. He really does seem to enjoy their company when they are free-ranging. I have never seen him touch a single bird, though I have seen him stalk my pigeon-sized Japanese Fantail... ha ha, can't blame a guy for trying? She's way too smart, and flies off loudly, well before any chance of harm. Wally does defend himself (paw-swipe) if the rooster charges him suddenly, but mostly, he prefers to run away-- my big Reds do go after him on occasion, just for fun. And, although he is outdoors all day long, we do shut him in the garage nightly, as whomever mentioned cats as prize coyote food ain't kidding. We like to protect our mouser investment! So by day, he roams free, but at dusk, he comes when we call him into the garage -- for all-you-can-eat dry kibble and his blanket-box bed.

We love our cats! For a little food, some yearly shots, & some light maintenance ie. "let the cat out, get the cat in", you get in return year-round pest control, garden companionship, affectionate leg-rubs, and a great-looking lawn ornament (the cat himself, not his dead prey). The only downside: constant muddy-paw-print detailing of your vehicle hood & roof. Oh well, nobody's purr-fect!

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#78452 - 12/02/06 09:17 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Here's the website: http://www.ratzapper.com
We have the ultra one.

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#78453 - 12/18/06 02:15 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Lisa Robinson Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 161
Loc: Australia
please do not ever starve your cats it is inhumane to do so,since having a nice female cat i have never had any problem with mice or rats at the very least give a constant supply of dry cat biscuits and water and your cat will be a great mouse hunter, perhaps if you feed alot of meat to your cat she will not eat her kill.
cats hunt by pure instinct, never by being tought, it could only be coincidence if anyone tells you they caught their cat to hunt.
please remember if you dont feed your cat she will definatlet turn to wild birds (eg quails) and any chicks she can get her claws into, perhaps even starve to death.
just take her to the coop,feed her well and give plenty of praise when you are presented with dead mice and rats, this will take care of your problem.

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#78454 - 12/18/06 07:04 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oh of course!! Tinkerbell gets the luxury of the "prowling" cat world! She gets 2 meals a day. One in the morning with wet dog-food and Kit'n Kaboodle, and at night a steaming hot bowl of Kit'n Kaboodle to last through the night! She hunts because she wants to I suppose! She loves to eat her mice..and I have no problems letting her. For some reason though...she likes to bury them in the chicken pen? Have no clue about that one...

I haven't been presented with anything except a half-eaten squirrel. That's a lovely thing to step on in the morning! lol. She will have NO problem with getting food! It's pitiful...we even let her inside the garage when it's "too cold." Which is about 50 degrees...poooooor thing! lol She is so spoiled for an outdoor cat!

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#78455 - 12/19/06 06:54 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Dutch Treat Offline
Feather

Registered: 09/28/06
Posts: 31
Loc: North Carolina
Bucket Trap

The bucket trap is an economical and effective means of eradicating mice. It entails a container (5 gal bucket) holding some amount of water or other liquid (such as antifreeze in the winter) using a ramp of some sort to get the rodent to the top of the container. Drill two holes at the top edge of the bucket on opposit sides. You will need a dowl rod or a heavy piece of wire and a can with both ends cut out. Put the dowl rod through one hole, then through the can and finnaly throught the other hole in the bucket. Put a spot of peanut butter on the top of the can as bait. The mice jump to the can to eat the peanut butter and fall into the the water and, being unable to get out, drown. The variations are many with some being single catch and some multi-catch. Some can also be used for live catch if you use a deep container that the mice can't jump out of.


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#78456 - 12/30/06 10:42 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Blue Lace Offline
Bantam

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 45
Loc: California
Mikaela,

I'm sure you know this being a poultry science specialist, but if your cat buries it's prey in the chicken yard... chickens scratch and dig. If they find one of them and it is well on its way to being liquified (yeck) and they eat it (they could y'know) they could die. I forget what kind of poisoning its called, but they can die from it. Too, if your cat poops in the chicken yard and they get into that... you know how curious chickens are and they'll taste anything... toxemia? Is that what that one is?

Hope you don't get these kinds of problems.

By the way, what in the world kind of snakes do you have out there? Eight feet long? Yikes!

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#78457 - 12/31/06 10:57 AM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Black Rat Snakes. Horrible things too! I'm no specialist, but I hope to be one day! I've decided that genetics is probably not for me, but I do like the idea of being a Poultry Immunologist! smile I'm not too worried about them finding a partially liquified mouse as they find them the day after she has killed them. There's not many places to hide them where the chickens can't see, and with all the dirt being scratched up daily, the mouse is unearthed really fast. I guess it's sort of like Easter Egg hunting...but chicken style?

She's also stopped putting the mice in the dirt, but carries a still kicking, partially killed mouse to the poor little toeless chicken called Frodo. She protects him while he kills and eats the mouse. It's very odd how she really cares for this weird little bird!

As for the poo, they don't bother it at all. They just kick it aside and don't pay attention at all. I don't think they'll catch Botulism or anything like that, but thanks for the advice!

Learned something...if using the barrel of a BB gun doesn't work for killing a snake, use the stock of the gun to whack it to death!!

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#78458 - 12/31/06 05:54 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jeep Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 477
Loc: California
Rack...
I'm telling ya, those little tinlike "motels" are the way to go!! No bait, just set them down along the walls, in between feed barrels, whatever. The mice go in, but can't get out, so they die. Or depending on how many go in as someone said, maybe they kill each other. Maybe it'll take something more drastic if there's a huge population of mice, but once it diminishes, this trap will definitely do the trick.
Course I haven't seen much of any kind of rodents lately since coyotes broke into the day yard of my coop and got ALL my quail (10), 2 guineas (one of which I raised in the house) and my one and only peachick I hatched out this summer. Fortunately the coyotes didn't get into the individual pens. That would've been total devastation. As it is, I am sick at losing what I did. Baby monitors out at the coop now at night!! Plus a loaded gun next to my bed. I will not let it happen again if I can help it!

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#78459 - 04/25/07 01:04 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
You guys didn't tell me she'd dig up the yard in search of moles and shrews! On the plus side, she has radically dropped the deer mice population! She also killed her 3rd pack rat! I'm so proud of her! Love her to pieces. Thanks for all your help guys, I really needed it!

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#78460 - 05/03/07 07:38 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Anonymous
Unregistered


cats,cats,cats. I had zero problem with mice after i put a cat out there. The only drawback is that cats can get tapeworm from mice and rats so use precaution. We take good care of our cat and he still got tapeworm. He is in the house recovering right now and last night i saw a baby mouse in the layer coop so they move in fast. This weekend he is going back outside so mice beware. He catches at least 2 per week no doubt.

Look for signs of lethargy and loss of appetite. loss of appetite was a big sign for our big boy, he skips dry food but wet food is NEVER missed even if he catches 100 mice a day. good luck and use nature whenever possible.

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#78461 - 05/05/07 02:11 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oh I know! It's amazing how much feed we have already saved from the mice! But for some reason, she just keeps bringing more and more cats around. We have NEVER seen so many cats around our house and now they are swarming. Oh well, we feed Tink inside the house, so no worries. She does fight pretty well though...good thing she is fixed!

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#78462 - 05/14/07 05:13 PM Re: Need help with mice and rats!
Sweetpea Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 36
Loc: Utah
My mom used to work in the Santa Monica Mountains of California. There was a pool at the office complex where she worked and LOTS of rattlesnakes. The complex always kept cats around the premises to EAT the rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, the Coyotes loved to eat the cats, so they had to restock the cats frequently. Very important job they did as it kept the rattlers out of the pool and office buildings...most of the time.
Has anyone else found cats useful at eating their snakes?

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