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Poultry and Livestock: Mice in chicken pen, Help !

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Forum: Poultry and LivestockReplies: 19, Views: 39
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PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2006
9:44 PM

Post #2123671

Yuk ! I was seeing some mice droppings in my chickens' feeders...but now they're getting so bold and brazen I'm seeing them!!!! If I go out in the evenings when it's just starting to get dark, I can see them
scurry inside the pen. I think they're getting out of control.

I know that the feed that gets onto the ground attracts them. I've tried to keep any from getting out of the feeders, but my chickens are messy eaters. They jump up on it and do the scratch dance until they kick it out, then they don't eat it all. I'm afraid that if I feed them less, they might start picking at each other.

I think they (mice) may be bothering them up around the nesting area. One of my hens laid an egg out on the floor of the pen today, and two of my hens didn't lay at all for the last couple days. Something is wrong in chicken land.

I'm afraid to put out the rat poison for fear that chickens might eat it. What does everyone else do for mouse control ? I'm afraid that if it isn't resolved, snakes will come out soon, (warm weather) and I'm really afraid for them to be around.

Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2006
10:29 PM

Post #2123778

Oh, PeggieK, you may already have snakes if the chickens are avoiding the nest and you're not getting the eggs. Are there any barn cats you can take in?
cbrandenburg
Freedom, PA
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2006
10:47 PM

Post #2123814

My chickens eat mice, anything they can catch that goes into the coop. DH even catches mice and gives them to the girls, they go after the mouse, or mole what ever is there and they play with it for a while, then the eat them up. I've seen this myself. I thought chickens liked mice.

Would it hurt them to eat them?

Cathy
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2006
11:21 PM

Post #2123898

I've heard of this happening a lot, and never heard that eating mice hurt them a bit.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2006
2:27 AM

Post #2124270

I think the mice in our pen only come out once the chickens are all up on the roosts. I've seen one of my chickens get a mouse once. But really I never see them during the day when the chickens are active, just when it's about to get dark. If you go out there with a flashlight, it's a regular 3 ring circus.
There aren't any cats around, as our next door neighbor has 5 dogs.
Cats just don't seem to hang around.
Eee Gads, I hope there aren't any snakes out there. I thought it was too early for snakes. But since we've had such a mild winter...I guess it's possible.
Oh gosh, now I'm going to worry about the snakes too. Sure puts a damper on the fun of having chickens.
All the more reason to have chicken-tractors and free range feeders.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2006
12:39 PM

Post #2124920

I love the tractors. I half wish we hadn't started building this coop and intead made another tractor. Maybe we could turn that into a play house... hmmm.

Peggie, I really don't know enough of this to help you properly. If Horseshoe doesn't see this, dmail him. And others will know more. So sorry!
TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2006
6:24 PM

Post #2125757

Peggy, it will help reduce the amount of feed on the floor to raise the feeders up with blocks under them until they are the height of the backs of your chickens.

Some chickens will eat mice, some won't. My dog kills them. Silly thing stands frozen like a cat, waiting for them to come out to her food dish, then gets em!

I thought i made my poultry house tight enough to keep mice out, but forgot about the fact that they just come right in the open door LOL

Can you put up the feeders at night? That's what i did with my guineas. Keep everything in a tight container... And look for places you could put traps where the chicks can't get. I like both the sticky traps and the flip traps. Then go to freecycle or the ads and find some free kittens... maybe they could even live in the hen house LOL, like that one in Japan...

tf
leaflady
Hughesville, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 21, 2006
3:23 AM

Post #2126970

You should remove feed left after a couple hours. Then leave an open deep container of some type with the lid off and some feed in it. Use fine mesh wire to make a ramp for the mice to climb but only extend it a little way into the container. This will act as a multiple live catch trap. Or you can spend a lot of $$ on a HavaHart live catch trap that usually works very well. One mouse will attract others.

I think the sticky bars are inhumane. There is no way to remove the mice once they are stuck and others usually will not go onto one once they see another mouse stuck to it. I do use the snap type traps a lot.

We have few mice in our bird house as the poultry will gladly make snacks of them. We also have some good mousers who stay outside when the weather is nice.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2006
10:17 PM

Post #2128670

I really don't know how to keep all the feed off the ground in the pen. I have feeders up high, but my smallest bantams jump up on it and scratch until they get it on the ground. They even scoop it out onto the ground using their beaks. And then the stinkers won't eat it. Agrrrr.

Since our neighbor has so many dogs, a cat is almost an impossible wish.

I did go to Atwoods and buy a multiple-catch trap. Caught 3 this morning.
I hope this will help.

I think my chickens would catch and kill them if they would come out during the daytime. But the rascals wait til all the chickens are gone to roost after it gets dark, and then slither around when there's little chance for the chickens to be able to see them.

I keep all my feed in a tightly closed plastic trash can with a tight lid, so the only feed that's left out is what the chickens scatter on the pen floor.
It gets all mixed with the straw bedding on pen floor etc. and there's no way I can figure out to eleminate that, or sort it out of the straw. I guess I could feed less to avoid that waste, but I'm afraid if I don't feed them enough they will pick each other. I've seen them pluck each other's feathers and actually eat them. Yeooow. I don't think they do that if they're well fed.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2006
2:07 AM

Post #2134716

Yea ! An update on the trap. I caught 4 more mice in it today. It seems to be working. Maybe there's hope after all. That's a total of 7 so far.
Probably not even a dent in their population, but at least it;s a start.
leaflady
Hughesville, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2006
2:18 PM

Post #2135741

Peggie, you are right about it being impossible to keep all the feed in the feeders. Even with feeders that have only small holes for the chickens to reach thru to the feed banties will manage to scratch some feed out onto the floor. Yes, mice are very intellegent. They are nocturnal by nature anyway to coming out after dark is nothing unusual. A small light focused on the area around the feeder may help some chickens to see & have mice for snacks during the early morning hours. Don't know if that would affect egg production or not.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2006
2:31 PM

Post #2135783

Oh, dear, I can just see the chickens going after the mice. Times I'd love to have a videocamera rolling out there in the coop... :)

I like the trap called "The Better Mouse Trap" (I think). It kills the mice, but instantly, and is a lot nicer than a cat. I've used it for years, and they last forever and work wonderfully. I am not one to catch and release mice, cute as they are. They're such disease carriers, and they multiply so darn quick.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2006
4:59 PM

Post #2136112

That's me, I can't stand to even touch the trap without gloves. They stink too. I can smell the mice...eeewwwww.
I'm not for catch and release either...they'd only find their way back, and probably bring their mother-in-law, cousins and friends. lol

Speaking of them being disease carriers...

My daughter works for a veterinarian, and they tell people not to let their house cats eat mice since they are so nasty with diseases. I wonder if it's good to let (not that we can stop em') chickens eat mice,,,since we eat their eggs ? I never gave it any thought, until now.
SherryLike
SE Arky
United States
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2006
1:56 AM

Post #2139398

I am just knocked over re the mice. I live in a rural town, next to a field and I have never seen a mouse. We do have cats but they are not good hunters, fed too well, we think. What zone are you in Peg?? The only reasons I can figure that I don't have mice might be that it is warmer here, providing more food options, and possibly the foxes, red shouldered hawks/other hawks, owls and coyotes might take care of them for us. And, maybe other animals that I'm not aware of, ya think??
TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2006
2:55 AM

Post #2139579

hmm, you could also have ferral cats and not know it...???
leaflady
Hughesville, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2006
3:34 AM

Post #2139625

I can't imagine what it would be like to live in the country and NOT have mice. And killing off the mice is why most rural people have cats. We have some good hunters and somethat are worthless. 2 were good hunters when they were young but now at age 12-14 both of them are retired and just wait for me to put out food for them.

I like the quick kill traps too. Especially in the house. But if I find mice alive I can't make myself call the cats or kill them myself. Especially wood/deer mice. They are so cute with those large eyes and ears and shiny white tummys. Some of them get so fat sometimes that they are nearly round little balls of fur. Now those I just catch in a can or something and release. We have 2 cats who have learned how to get into the cabin where we store the feed in metal garbage cans with lids which sometimes are not on tightly. I don't see many mice in there anymore. During the winter I would even leave a pile of food out for them so I could close the lids tight and not make them starve.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 26, 2006
6:03 PM

Post #2140536


You have a much kinder heart than I do. lol

I worry that where there's mice, there will be snakes. And that really messes with my mind. I'm sure I would freak out if I reached into my hens' nest to get the eggs and found a snake.

I've always lived in town, so this new country life is a little new to me. When we were having the septic system installed while building our house, they uncovered a big ole yellow & black snake. That was almost enough to make me change my mind about moving out here...but a new house won me over. lol But I still get worried that one will catch me by surprise one of these days.

SherryLike
SE Arky
United States
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2006
10:47 PM

Post #2140994

My wildlife experts say that we have a large and healthy owl population that takes care of the mice, the hawks give the owls a hand too. No feral cats here. I secure my Bantams in their Chickie Condo every night and I have a light too, I do NOT want a fox near my banties or my Golden. Do mosquitoes bother the chickens, we most definitely have mosquitoes, whew!!
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2006
10:50 PM

Post #2141001

Mosquitoes prefer chickens. That's why they use "sentinel flocks" to see if West Nile is getting to be a problem in a given area. I am treating my property with a Bt product that attacks mosquito larvae; hope it works.
SherryLike
SE Arky
United States
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2006
1:51 AM

Post #2141412

The best mosquito control here is to keep one's own property free of stagnant water. I use mosquito crumbles in my plants, and any area that might stand in water, like the cement pond back wash, saucers under flower pots, bird bath, etc. We live near Bayou Bartholomew which is low and does not run in the summer and thus harbors mosquitoes. Last summer, I put a fan on the chickens at night, to keep them cool & it blows away mosquitoes - they loved it. The lady who bred our chickens says that she's had no West Nile. With our cats so interested in our Bantams (totally uninterested in the big chickens) we are some what concerned that they might be susceptible to Cat Scratch Avian Flu...

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