Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

ALMOST BEEKEEPING - RELATED TOPICS => FARMING & COUNTRY LIFE => Topic started by: jvalentour on January 15, 2019, 11:13:32 am

Title: Mice
Post by: jvalentour on January 15, 2019, 11:13:32 am
I'm having a real problem with mice this year.

They are eating wire insulation off the ZTR and other vehicles.  I have found nests in my tractor and SXS.  They are everywhere, basement, barn, sheds, and equipment!

I had limited luck with the 5 gallon bucket, mothballs, predator urine, concrete dust, plaster of paris dust, and regular mouse traps.  Anybody have anything that works routinely short of poison?
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: Skeggley on January 15, 2019, 12:32:59 pm
Cats, sterilised of course.
I currently have rats, once they are destroyed then the mice will move back in. Not sure which is worse. Possibly the poison.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: CoolBees on January 15, 2019, 12:55:41 pm
We use feral cats. We are in the country, so coyotes, owls, etc take their toll on the cats, and the cats take care of the mice, moles, rats, rabbits, ground squirrels etc.

These things run in cycles. About 4 yrs ago (here) the mice population went crazy. Our cats couldn't keep up. I watched one mother cat bring 17 mice to her litter 1 day, and I wasn't around all day. Home depot sold out of every type of mouse trap. We couldn't keep them out of the house. Haven't seen many since then.

This yr Great Horned Owls moved in, and now we are down to 1 mother cat. That's the way it goes.

Neutered cats wouldn't do us much good where we live.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: jvalentour on January 15, 2019, 03:33:30 pm
Neutered cats wouldn't do us much good where we live.

Run out of cats would you? :grin:
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: CoolBees on January 15, 2019, 03:43:36 pm
Neutered cats wouldn't do us much good where we live.

Run out of cats would you? :grin:

Yup. Life's tough in the country.  :grin:
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: The15thMember on January 15, 2019, 08:08:05 pm
My father learned when he was little that cats are the only real solution to mice.  They had mice in their house and tried traps, poison, nothing worked until his mother decided to try getting a cat.  After that, no more mice.  I have an indoor cat who is a really good mouser and when we moved into our previous house there were mice in there since the house had been vacant for a while.  After a couple nights of my kitty bringing mice, sometime alive and sometimes dead into my room (and once into my bed!  Thankfully that one was dead.) he realized that if he brought them to me, I'd take them and get rid of them and he wouldn't be able to have fun with them anymore, so he started just playing with them elsewhere in the house.  He'd scare or injure the poor mouse until it was only able to run a few feet at a time and then he'd just run at it, smack it with a paw and the mouse would squeak, then he'd watch as it ran further away, and he'd just run up and smack it again!  I always woke up because I would hear the squeaks of the mouse at semi-regular intervals.  Then of course we'd have to get the mouse from him, and since he wasn't into bringing them to me anymore, he'd pick it up and take it under a table or chair to try to keep it from us.  After a couple of months though, that house was mouse free.             
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: Michael Bush on January 16, 2019, 01:50:13 pm
I have barn cats.  Foolish people in my household paid to neuter one of them which promptly got run over by a car.  If you want a well behaved indoor pet, it's a great idea to neuter them.  If you want to get rid of mice, barn cats are better.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: jvalentour on January 16, 2019, 04:31:40 pm
I was looking into a cat from the Humane Society.  Females come neutered.  Does it make a difference (neuter) as the cat will be locked in a metal barn?
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: sawdstmakr on January 19, 2019, 08:41:56 am
I was looking into a cat from the Humane Society.  Females come neutered.  Does it make a difference (neuter) as the cat will be locked in a metal barn?
Neuter won?t make a difference.
Why lock the cat in the barn? I would for about a week to get the cat to stay in the barn as its home but I would not want to have to maintain a litter box.
Jim
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: jvalentour on January 19, 2019, 07:32:55 pm
The Humane Society recommends that you cage a cat in a barn for two weeks so it becomes accustomed to it's surroundings and knows where and who is the food source.  They are concerned the cat will run off if not caged.  I've never owned a cat so I have to take their word for it.  Other Youtube sites seem to concur. 
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: sawdstmakr on January 19, 2019, 08:53:03 pm
JV,
I agree with doing it for a short time. If you just turn them loose they just leave.
Jim
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: CoolBees on January 20, 2019, 04:03:47 am
I've had cats all my life, and I understand them pretty well. It is important to understand that cats DO NOT like, or fall in love with, people. Cats fall in love with LOCATION. So when moved, they immediately try to return to their old place. I recently had one return from 17 miles away (don't ask).

Much like moving bees, cats have to re-orient to a new location. For younger cats, 1 to 2 weeks is ok. For older (2 yrs+) cats, the time frame can be as much as 6 months.

They have to be kept enclosed until they have accepted the new location.

When a cat comes to you and shows affection, it usually means 1 of 2 things. 1) they are hungry - check their food supply. Or 2) they've caught something and they like to show off for approval. 3) (Indoor cats will also show affection when they want to go outside for a bathroom break).

The old saying, "Cats don't have owners, they have servants" is very true.

Don't be suprised when a cat brings a dead "something" to your doorstep and meows - this is when you pet and praise them, it is what they want ... approval. They will remove the item, soon enough after being given appropriate praise.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: jvalentour on January 20, 2019, 10:26:06 am
Thanks Coolbees.  I have been advised to plan on five weeks to orient the cat.  I didn't say as much in fear of offending cat lovers. 
I expect to get an older cat from the HS.  I want to be successful so I plan to what is best for the cat to survive. 
At what point can you tell if a cat has accepted the barn as it's home when it is caged the entire time?
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: CoolBees on January 20, 2019, 12:48:32 pm
No worries JV. You raise good questions.

If possible - First the cats is caged until they seem completely relaxed - a few days. Then opened to a single room until again relaxed - couple weeks. Then opened to the whole house/barn for a while. Etc.

At each stage they will start by cautiously exploring. Eventually thay will act like lords-of-the-manner, with great arrogance - very relaxed and in control of their space. Then you open further exploration to them.

At all times, they need to feel safe with their original space, so they can return to it. Later, when they are free to roam, they will pick new "throne rooms" - their primary hang-out space/area.

Females are much more territorial than males, and will kick they offspring out after 6 months or so. Their territory could be 1 side of the house, while another female has the other side.

Males are less territorial, but wander more, and often leave entirely within a few months.

I prefer females as they stick around, and don't spray to mark territory, and are quieter. Loud spraying males around my place ... well ... anyways, I don't care for them.

All my cats are outdoors only and half wild - but they like me, and LOVE my wife.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: Michael Bush on January 22, 2019, 09:11:54 am
Neutered cats will eat mice.  My problem is that the population of cats tends to stay pretty level.  I think the foxes, coyotes, great horned owls, cars etc. keep the population at a fairly consistent level.
Title: Re: Mice
Post by: Acebird on January 22, 2019, 03:05:06 pm
Anybody have anything that works routinely short of poison?
Chain saw.  Cut down the trees and brush so birds of pray will wipe them out.
Cats are not reliable.