Friday, February 3, 2012

I need a RoboCat

I spent yesterday cleaning out the goat / chicken barn.  I spent last weekend cleaning the kidding pen, the smaller pen used for the recovering rooster (who is now outside) and the milking parlor / feed room.  The chicken coop was a bit poopy, but I just threw some wasted hay on top (and in my mind called it "the deep bedding method") and put clean shavings in the nest boxes.  Not that it matters because the chickens obviously prefer the kidding pen now to lay their eggs.  Go figure.

Anyways, there was just one more section of the barn to clean out.  There is a seldom-opened section that has empty cages, unused chick feeders, heat lamps and minerals and oyster shell in rodent-proof containers (old popcorn tins from past holidays).  I swung open the doors and was greeted by mice hurling themselves out of a huge pile of pine shavings.  I had an unopened bag of pine bedding in there and the rodent bastards had made a sprawling community and nearby suburb out of it.  Since there was no use in trying to save the shavings as it contained two nests of pinkies, several mummified mouse corpses as well as mouse poop galore, I just swept it out into the chicken yard and let the chickens scratch through it.  Oh, and everything else in there had mouse pee on it.  Mouse turds are bad enough, but mouse piss is just horrid.

I did manage to bash about a half-dozen rodent brains in and they went to the chickens along with the nest of pinkies.  My chickens LOVE to eat mice and there is quite the poultry ruckus when I toss one to them.  And why is it that the first chicken to get it's beak on a particularly choice chunk of food is never the one that gets to eat it?  They'll quickly grab the mouse, then run around the yard with it, sometimes even slowing down a bit for the rest of the chickens to catch up.  Then there's squawking and flapping and more chasing and the mouse (or other tidbit) ends up being taken from one chicken, then another, then another.  Just EAT the damned thing already!

So after about two hours of cleaning (and a mild asthma attack.....why don't I wear a dust mask??) and a garbage can full of rodent-gnawed items I was finally finished.

Now I just have to keep up with the cleaning and try to reduce the rodent population.  I really, really wish we could have a barn cat.  Of course, Paul shoots me an evil look and threatens divorce if I bring up the idea of having a barn cat, but I really do think a feline in the barn would take care of the rodent problem.  But then again, I think it would be almost impossible for me to have a barn cat.  I'd be continually worried about it being outside at night (even though I could lock it in the barn in the evening) and being cold (even though I'd supply nice fluffy kitty beds & maybe even a heating pad during the winter), but most of all I'd be worried how things would work out with Susan and Evil Kitty.  They are both indoor / outdoor cats (and indoor, and outdoor, and indoor, and outdoor.....) and as they occasionally venture as far as the barn, they would eventually meet the barn cat and I would be worried about a potential cat fight.  And the fact that I know that Evil Kitty and Susan would tell the Barn Cat that THEY got to sleep indoors and that HE didn't get to, that I must love THEM better and why is it that they get to go inside while he suffers out in the stinky barn?  Well, something like that.

So the next best thing is a mechanical mouse eradicator (or shall I say "reducer", as I'm convinced it is an impossibility to be totally rodent-free in a barn).  Paul has made a bucket trap that worked well for a while, but then all of a sudden the trap would be empty for weeks.  And not because there were no mice.  I suppose after a while word got out that it wasn't wise for a rodent to indulge in peanut butter as it surely meant a watery death.

Then there's the old stand-by snap trap.  Or the sticky traps.  I won't use poison because there is just too big of a chance that one of the other animals will get into it or eat a mouse that expired because of the poison.  Or maybe I'll get something like this:

In the meantime, I'll be trying to build a better mousetrap.......and hope that nobody beats a path to my door.


  1. Hmmmm, I don't have any idea where that new cat in the barn came from must have just wandered in from somewhere, LOL. A large garbage can with a hand full of grain placed so mice can get to the top of it should help reduce some population, like your bucket idea but no water, they just can't climb out. Found that idea after someone left lid off almost empty can and had 15 live mice in it. I like the sticky traps for the house, put a lot of them out to begin with ... reduces population in a hurry.

  2. Oh, I HATE mice/rats/rodents. I am afraid I may have one of the buggers in my goat barn and am going to put poison out. The only time I would use bait is in the winter, when the chipmunk population (rodents I don't mind as much) are hibernating. You don't dare let it go on without doing something as they multiply like, well, mice. I once watched my chickens chase down a mouse. It was chilling. And why DO they do that "Look what I've got!" thing?

  3. It amazes me that chickens will eat nearly anything, yet they lay the most delightful eggs! :)

  4. We tried the sticky traps once and a rooster got his foot in it and walked around like he was tap dancing. It is no easy feat to get a sticky trap off a rooster foot. That was the end of the sticky traps for us!

  5. I Love Chicken FOOTBALL! The mouse as the ball! I'll play as the Ref and throw the BALL (MOUSE) back into the playing field if he gets out of the fence! Also, the dogs are the linemen, hoping that the BALL gets out! But then they eat the BALL!
    But not to worry, There are more BALLS in the bucket! And everybody is happy (except the BALL!)

  6. Tom's reply is still making me chuckle :-) ....I'm fighting a rat (more likely ratS by now). Smart little buggers!!

  7. We are big fans of the snap traps. Of course, once the weather warms up, we usually have a red racer living at the barn (under MY milking shed!) and the mice completely DISAPPEAR! Good snakey! ;-)

  8. Tombstone, you know I think I also had a mouse trapped in a half-empty feed bucket before. Think I'll set one of those up again.

    Susan, it IS kind'a freaky watching them chase down a mouse....kind'a worries me if I ever fall down in the chicken yard.

    The Family, I've had to unstick a sticky trap from the cat on more than one occasion.....NOT fun!

    Tom, may as well make mouse catching fun for everyone! Well, except for the mouse, that is.

    dr. momi, we've only had a few packrats under one of the sheds, luckily.

    Candy C., I wish we could get snakes that ate only the mice and not the chicken eggs; if we could, I'd even make them a little house in the barn!

  9. Reminds me of a mouse in the attic of our old house. No trap so I put a bit of peanut butter on a bit of cheese and tucked it inside a glass beer bottle and laid it on the floor. Late that night we heard the bottle rolling round the attic floor! Hubby asked if that was the resident ghost. Now getting it out of the bottle was fun.

  10. You need several barn cats....and I could let you have some of mine! I think we have 9. I don't think about them; I don't worry about them. DH does buy a lot of cat food and takes care of them. I do know this, I haven't seen a mouse in any of our outbuildings that are open in a very long time. The feed room used to reek of more. I don't recommend 9, but at least 2 or 3 would be good (spayed and neutered or you could end up with 9)

  11. Yep, you need a robocat!! I remember one time when I was little I had this cat, full grown she was still TINY, but she will go down as the best mouser in history - she would regularly bring up rats from the silo that were as big as she was LOL! Sometimes just the heads, ugh! She would even nurse kittens who weren't here... I don't think they make cats like that anymore, they are all obese, lazy, video gamers now.... hahahaha! I would totally love to see your chickens run around with mice though :)

    Hope you find something that works without too much trouble.