Mice may be cute little characters in cartoons, but in the real world they can cause an amazing amount of damage, so mouse control in your barn is a must!
Sometimes people are inclined to think that a few little mice aren't going to cause a lot of damage in a barn.
This is not true.
In fact, just two mice can munch their way through 4 pounds of grain in 6 months and deposit approximately 18,000 droppings. The biggest loss caused by mice isn't so much what they eat, but the damage resulting from what is contaminated and wasted.
Another key point to consider, also, is the structural damage mice can cause in your barn and outbuildings. For example, did you know that mice are extremely destructive to insulation batting and rigid foam?
They also gnaw electrical wires and represent a significant safety risk due to fire alone!
But wait! There's more!
Mice burrow and can cause structural damage to a building by undermining its foundation. If left unchecked, this could eventually result in at least a partial collapse of a structure.
Let's not forget the health hazards associated with mice. Mice and the parasites they carry can cause serious, even life threatening diseases. Some of the diseases and health risks to animals and humans known to be transmitted by mice include:
- Bacterial food poisoning
So, as you can see, those cute little mice don't need to take up residence in your barn!
One thing you can do for mouse control in your barn is to follow a simple program of sanitation.
Precautions to Avoid Disease Transmission From Mice
- When cleaning areas that have been contaminated by mouse droppings and urine, use liquid disinfectants and/or bleach.
- Sweeping areas with mouse droppings or where evidence of mice has been observed is strongly discouraged as it swirls the contaminated dust around. If you must sweep, wear a mask.
- Never handle mice with your bare hands, including dead mice. Parasites that were living on the mouse will be looking for a new host and you don't want it to be you. So, always wear gloves when handling mice or even when cleaning where mouse infestation has occurred.
- Be sure to follow a good schedule of de-worming your livestock and pets that may be in or around the barn.
- Store all feed and grain in bins or containers that are mouse proof.
Three Steps to Mouse Control in Your Barn
There are three basic steps necessary for mouse control in your barn:
- Reducing Access
- Population Control
The first step, sanitation, is covered in the section above that shows excellent ways to lessen the risk of diseases and health problems such as worms that are spread by mice.
Keeping your barn clean and being sure not to leave feed and grain scattered on the floor or ground is a major preventative tactic that should be employed. For instance, keeping whole corn in an open rack or bin is a dinner invitation to mice. You may as well hang a neon sign above it saying “Diner Open 24 Hours.”
There is almost always going to be a certain amount of feed and grain spillage when feeding animals. This is unavoidable. But be sure to rake or scoop up as much spilled grain as possible to leave less lying around that will attract mice to your barn. Be sure to dispose of it in a covered, mouse proof container.
It's much easier to make your house rodent proof than your barn. So, mouse control in your barn and outbuildings is certainly more challenging than keeping them out of your living quarters.
However, there are a few things you can do that will lessen rodent access in your barn. These include trying to limit their access to nesting areas, escape routes and sources of food.
Mice will chew on virtually anything, so leather tack should be stored in rodent proof bins or a covered storage container that can't be chewed through.
This applies to horse blankets, pads, boots….anything and everything that mice are prone to chew on and destroy.
This is the biggie!
The absolute best way to handle mouse control in the barn is to eliminate them and keep it that way.
Rodenticides are poisons that kill mice and rats, plain and simple. There are two categories of rodenticides:
- Other Compounds
Anticoagulants include products that contain Warfarin, Rozol, brodifacoum, bromodialone and diphacinone. These are all highly effective and usually available in various forms such as blocks, pellets or liquids mixed with water.
Other compounds including strychnine and zinc phosphate aren't recommended for long term use as they can make rodents “bait shy.” Another risk of these single dose compounds is the risk of secondary poisoning to scavengers.
There is a new organic product available for mouse control in your barn called AGRID3. It's the first and only organic rodenticide that is registered with the EPA and will eliminate anticoagulant resistant rats and mice.
Mechanical Mouse Control
In addition to rodenticides, you may elect to use mechanical mouse control, as well. This category includes mouse traps and glue traps.
Spring loaded mouse traps are baited and then sprung when the mouse takes the bait, hopefully killing it. Glue traps or glue boards attract a mouse with bait and then the mouse is stuck fast by the glue in the surface when it tries to take the bait.
Bait stations are advisable because they are tamper resistant and prevent pets or livestock from eating the mouse poison. You simply place the bait inside and close the lid; the mice can enter through a very small hole in the side of the bait station.
Some bait stations have a small clip that fastens through a hasp on the lid of the bait station, making it even more inaccessible to anything except mice.
They also allow you to place bait in areas that would normally be off limits such as the hallway of barns or even stalls.
Placement of Bait and Bait Stations
For best results, bait and bait stations should be placed in optimal locations. Here are some suggestions for where to place bait and bait stations for mouse control in your barn:
- Somewhere along the route between where the mice are living and their food supply
- Near walls and burrows
- Where walls and floors meet
- Under the building and around outside perimeters
You can save yourself a substantial amount of financial damage from wasted and contaminated feed, ruined tack and other farm supplies; as well as eliminating mice that transmit potentially deadly diseases to humans and animals by practicing mouse control in your barn!