Rodent issues?


 

Do you have mice in your coop? Those pesky little visitors stop by looking for spilled feed, a dry place to hang out (or even worse, to make a nest – and produce more pesky little visitors).

Many rat and mouse baits are toxic to cats, dogs, and chickens – and all of these animals will happily make a quick snack of a rodent who’s had a bit too much toxin. So what to do?

A few ideas:

  1. Put your feeder at the height of the chickens’ backs. This will prevent them from swishing food onto the ground.
  2. Switch to a pelleted feed to minimize spillage.
  3. Purchase a weight-activated feeder. These feeders will open for chickens — but not for mice, rats, or sparrows!
  4. Try keeping your feeder in the coop all the time – and make sure to close the birds – and their feeder — in at night. Rats and mice are nocturnal (out most often at night), and this will limit their access to prime-time feeding.
  5. Mix hot pepper into your feed. Birds cannot taste capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers “hot,” but mammals sure can! Just be sure you don’t breathe in the pepper dust or touch your eyes while handling the feed.
  6. Build a better (nontoxic) mousetrap. Check out this idea from Backyard Chickens: Drill a hole in the bottom of a soda can. Place can on a dowel rod so that it spins. Drill holes in the top of a 5-gal. bucket so that the dowel rod (with the soda can on it) fits in the holes and spans the diameter of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the soda can. Place a ramp up to the bucket. The mice will smell the peanut butter, run up the ramp, try to get the peanut butter on the spinning soda can, and fall into the bucket. Dispose of rodents as you see fit!
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