Rodents like mice and rats can pose a huge threat to a farming operation. They damage property, contaminate feed and create major health risks by spreading bacteria and viruses. All this can leave a farm with structural problems, increased feed costs, and open to biosecurity threats.

Did you know rats and mice destroy $30 billion in food products annually? If that isn’t enough, they are also to blame for the bubonic plague in the Dark Ages. The fleas that carried the bacteria were transferred on the backs of rats. Yuck.

If those stats don’t convince you mice and rats are problems, I doubt anything will.

Now, a rodent infestation on your farm will likely not cause such widespread pandemonium as the plague, but, like the statistics suggests, you may start seeing dollar signs fly out of your pocket if you don’t control a rodent problem.

Let’s chat about the risk rats and mice create and what you can do to control those risks.

Biosecurity Risk from Rodents

From a veterinarian’s perspective, the major risk of a mouse or rat infestation is disease transfer. In the United States, common rodents such as the house mouse, Norway rat and the roof rat can carry and transmit over 35 diseases to both humans and animals. Diseases like salmonella, campylobacter, and even leptospirosis. Hardly the things you need running rampant in your hog barn or chicken houses.

Rodents can spread these diseases from a few different ways. Like with the plague, they may carry the parasites that infect your animals. More often, however, they will transmit diseases through their feces and urine.

They burrow their way into feed bins in search of food and inevitably, leave droppings. The feed is then contaminated and, if fed, opens your animals up to infection. Keeping rodents away will help keep disease away and will save feed and treatment costs.

Now that you know the risks, you may be asking the question: What are my options for control?

Controlling Rodents

The first measure to take when it comes to rodent infestation is controlling the environment. Neogen®, a manufacturer of rodenticide, recommends dealing with a rodent infestation by first taking preventative measures.

They recommend eliminating debris, cleaning up spilled feed, and clearing and mowing around the entrance to the facility with problems. By controlling the environment, not only will you discourage additional rodents, your other control measures will be more effective.

Once you have controlled the environment you have a couple options for control:

Encouraging natural predators like birds or even adopting a cat can be a good idea; an owl can eat upwards of 3,000 mice a year. However, this solution is unlikely to stop an active infestation and introducing new animals can bring their own share of biosecurity problems to your farm.

Traps are the oldest tools in the book. You can try the old-fashioned pedal traps, use a glue trap, or even the “walk the plank” style trap. All can be effective, but are better served for a small mouse problem in your home rather than a major infestation in or around your barn.

What we recommend you consider is using a tested and proven rodenticide system.

Using a Rodenticide

Neogen® has developed a multi-product rotation to help control and eliminate mice and rats in your barn. Its rotation uses three active ingredients to stop mice and rats in their tracks and to break the cycle of rodent anticoagulant resistance.

It’s a complete rodent control system.

  • The first product in the system is Havoc XT®. It contains the strongest anticoagulant rodenticide on the market—Brodifacoum. It comes in both pellets and blocks and is to be used around your facility for the first four months on the 12-month rotation.
  • The second product is CyKill®. Its active ingredient is Bromethalin a neurotoxin rodenticide. This is the ingredient that provides the “one-two punch” in the Neogen® system. It is to be used for four months following the Havoc XT® treatment.
  • The third product in the system is Di-Kill®. Its active ingredient is the anticoagulant Difenacoum, the latest in rodent control. It has been shown to knock down rodents in 4-6 days. It is to be used for the last two months of the rotation.

In addition to these three products, Neogen® recommends Havoc® Rodenticide Bait in feed storage areas, like elevators or granaries. It contains feed ingredients like oats, alongside the active rodenticide agent to first attract and then stop mice and rats quickly.

Purchasing a Rodenticide

At best, a rat or mouse problem on your farm is a nuisance. At worst, it poses a biosecurity threat to your operation and can result in lost profitability. In order to get control on your infestation or stop the problem before it starts we recommend you check out these Neogen® products on our website or speak to a QC Supply® representative to start a customized plan.

Like they say, the only good rat is a dead one! Let us know in the comments your results with the Neogen® rodenticide system.