If you suspect you have mice in your stables, there are several telltale signs to look for:
- Droppings: One of the most common signs of a mouse infestation is their droppings. Mouse droppings are small, dark, and rod-shaped, up to o,5 cm (1/4 inch long).
- Nibble marks: Mice have a habit of nibbling on various items. Look for gnaw marks on feed bags, hay bales, wood, plastic, and other materials.
- Nests: Mice like to create nests using soft and warm materials. If you find small nests made out of hay, straw, paper, or other materials in hidden corners or within feed bags, you might have mice.
- Sounds: Mice are often active at night. Listen for scratching, squeaking, or scurrying noises, especially during quiet times.
- Footprints and tail marks: In areas where dust or dirt accumulates, you might be able to spot tiny footprints or tail drag marks.
- Smell: A musky odour can sometimes be detected in areas where mice are particularly active.
- Stolen food: If you notice that small amounts of grain or feed are disappearing or are found spilled on the ground, it could be a sign of mice activity.
- Visual sightings: The most obvious sign is actually seeing a mouse. They might scurry away when you suddenly turn on the lights or move hay bales.
- Holes and entry points: Check for small holes or gaps in the walls, floors, or around doors. Mice can squeeze through surprisingly small openings, so even gaps as small as a dime can be potential entry points.
- Tracks: If you suspect mice but haven’t seen direct signs, you can sprinkle a light layer of flour or talcum powder in areas where you suspect activity. Check back later for tracks.
- Urine stains: Under UV light, rodent urine can glow. This can be a useful tool for detecting their presence in dark corners or less-accessed areas.
To control and prevent mice from settling in your stables, regularly clean the stables and remove leftover food and hay.
Close any gaps or holes that can serve as entry points using steel wool, metal sheeting, or appropriate sealants.
Set up mouse traps around the stable. There are various types including snap traps, electronic traps, and live catch traps.
Always be cautious about using pesticides around animals as they can be toxic (which is the point, but you only want to get rid of the pests).
Store feed in metal or thick plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
Regular monitoring will help you address any infestations early on.
Some stables keep barn cats as a natural way to control rodent populations.
If the infestation is severe or persistent, consider hiring a professional pest control service to address the problem.
What to do if you find mice in your feed storage area?
Finding mice in your feed storage area is concerning because they can contaminate the feed, damage property, and spread disease.
If you find evidence of mice, follow these steps to address the issue and prevent future infestations:
- Clean and sanitise the area:
- Remove all feed and inspect it for contamination. Discard any feed that has been soiled by rodents.
- Vacuum or sweep up droppings, being sure to wear gloves and a mask to avoid direct contact or inhalation.
- Clean and disinfect the storage area. This can be done using a solution of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). Ensure the area is well-ventilated when using bleach.
- Store feed properly:
- Transfer feed to rodent-proof containers. Metal or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are best.
- Elevate feed containers off the ground, if possible.
- Regularly inspect bags or containers for signs of gnawing or tampering.
- Eliminate entry points:
- Inspect the storage area for any gaps, holes, or cracks. Mice can fit through remarkably small openings, so seal even small gaps.
- Use materials that mice can’t chew through, like steel wool, metal flashing, or hardware cloth, to seal openings.
- Ensure that windows, doors, and vents are secure and don’t have gaps.
- Set traps:
- Place mouse traps in and around the feed storage area. Common options include snap traps, live catch traps, and glue traps.
- Bait traps with peanut butter, chocolate, or other enticing treats.
- Check traps daily and dispose of captured mice promptly.
- Be cautious about using pesticides, especially in areas where pets or livestock might access them.
- Maintain good hygiene:
- Clean up any spilled feed immediately.
- Regularly sweep and clean the storage area to remove potential food sources and nesting materials.
- Remember to clean up other food items as well, don’t leave any people food out either as mice will find it!
- Natural deterrents:
- Consider getting a barn cat. They can be effective in controlling rodent populations.
- Some people believe that peppermint oil can act as a deterrent. Place cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil around the storage area, although this method’s efficacy is debated.
- Monitor regularly:
- Regularly inspect the feed storage area for signs of mice or damage.
- Consider setting up a trail camera to monitor nocturnal activity if you suspect rodents but haven’t spotted them.
- Consider professional help:
- If you’re struggling to control the mouse population or the infestation is severe, hire a professional pest control service.
Remember that prevention is key.
Once you’ve addressed the current infestation, ongoing vigilance and proper storage practices will be essential in preventing future issues.
What to do with feed mice have gotten into your feed storage area.
If mice have gotten into your feed, it’s essential to address the situation promptly to prevent the spread of disease, contamination, and further waste.
Here’s what to do:
- Discard contaminated feed:
- Any feed that mice have accessed should be considered contaminated. Mice can spread diseases such as salmonellosis, hantavirus, and leptospirosis, among others, through their urine, faeces, and saliva.
- When discarding feed, use gloves to avoid direct contact and place it in a sealed bag before throwing it away. This minimises the risk of spreading any potential disease or attracting other pests.
- Clean and disinfect:
- Empty the storage container or area completely.
- Vacuum or sweep up any droppings and remnants of the feed.
- Clean the storage area or container with a disinfectant. A bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) can be effective. Ensure good ventilation if using strong disinfectants.
- Allow the area or container to dry completely before restocking with feed.
- Store feed properly:
- Ensure you use rodent-proof containers for storing feed in the future. Metal or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are ideal.
- Elevate feed containers off the ground if possible.
- If using bags, consider placing them inside rodent-proof bins or containers.
- Prevent future infestations:
- Check the storage area for points of entry and seal any gaps or holes. Mice can fit through very small openings, so be thorough.
- Use traps to catch any remaining mice in or near the storage area.
- Consider deterrents like a barn cat or natural repellents, although their efficacy can vary.
- Maintain cleanliness by cleaning up any feed spills immediately and routinely checking storage areas for signs of mice.
- Seek professional help if needed:
- If the infestation persists or if you’re unsure about handling it yourself, consider hiring a professional pest control service to address the issue.
Remember that mice contamination isn’t just about the feed itself but also the potential diseases they can introduce.
Prioritise health and safety by addressing contaminated feed swiftly and taking measures to prevent future infestations.